Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Dear Henry - 11 Months

Happy <chokes> 11 month birthday!

I'm sorry I choked on that.  I just can't believe how fast this is going.  You're almost 1!  Ay yi yi - I will freak out a little bit more about this later, but first:

This face pretty much sums up how you feel about sleeping.
I’m going to be honest, there were parts of the last month that were excruciating for all of us.  For you because, I think, you were cutting some teeth and possibly growing and maybe also a little sick?  I say those things with a question mark because the symptoms of those things are all exactly the same.  The only proof I have that at least some of those symptoms were NOT due to you being sick, is that you popped out two more adorable teeth (on the top this time!).  The result of all this is that your sleep habits changed on us again – in a way that we have not experienced since you were three months old.  I mean, you started waking for middle of the night feedings again, and then you wouldn’t want to settle back down.  You were screaming and crying and banging on your crib.  One night your dad gave up and brought you out to the living room, plunked you down and said “fine, you want to be up?  We’re up. Now PLAY.”  And you sat there looking so small and confused and tired because you didn’t really want to be up.  It’s just that none of us could figure out how to make you NOT be up anymore. 

Tough guys don't need sleep!
 When you were a newborn, this sleep deprivation stuff was easier because A) we just naturally assumed we would not be getting any sleep ever and B) I wasn’t working so my only job in the entire world was to cater to your every need and C) your needs consisted of three things – clean diaper, full belly, sleep.  Things are more complicated now, and we don’t always weather these sleep interruptions gracefully.  I found myself trying to get back to sleep at 3 a.m. after a particularly frustrating sleep disruption a few nights ago.  My mind dramatically played out this image of how we are a happy, picture perfect family by day, and a snarling nest of poisonous snakes by night.  I told you it was dramatic!  That is what your sleep deprivation causes – weird, dramatic metaphors about snakes.

You guys, holy smokes, have you see how the water gets in the tub?!  MIND.  BLOWN.
 Sleep issues aside, you’ve had a lot of other things going on.  You’ve discovered the joy of being an entertainer.  You like to make sure that all eyes on you and then you do something amazing like drop a ball in a hole, or bang a toy against another toy, and then look up and await our joyous reactions. 

Mom tried to get some yard work done.  This happened, instead.
 You are like, the master expert of peek-a-boo.  You figured it out pretty quickly and now you’ll do it double time just to hear us shriek “PEEEK!!” at you as often as possible.  This is part of how you entertain us.  You also have a hearty appreciation for “patty cake” – although we still mostly play it with your feet because you’re not crazy about us monopolizing use of your hands.  It’s much better if your hands are free to grab someone’s nostril or yank someone’s shirt down. 

This is the look of a boy who is uncomfortably close to standing up by himself.
 You are fearless, which is something I know you won’t hold on to forever, so it’s both incredibly sweet (as a reminder that you’re still my little baby) and also terrifying.   You crawl over things, under things, around things, and you have tried to launch yourself off of everything we have sat you on top of (beds, couches, counters, etc.) and one of your favorite things to do is to launch yourself off the bed while we grab one of your feet and hold you upside down.  You love to be upside down!  Sometimes you’ll crawl up into my lap and then throw yourself backwards, indicating that you would like for me to flip you.  As the flip ends with you drapped across my legs, you lay wiggling and giggling at the ecstasy of it all.

Enjoying the contraband Butterfinger bar you swiped from the candy bucket.
 You are such a stinker.  The biggest little stinker I’ve ever known.  You know when you’re doing something you’re not supposed to do, and you’ve learned how to speed up when crawling away from us (as when we pursued you after you sneakily stole a candy bar out of the Halloween candy bucket).  In the last month we’ve had a report of a hairball in your poo (that was a surprise!), and your daddy says you ate a hairball just this morning that resulted in a wardrobe change when it came back up.  One of your favorite things to do since you became mobile is to play in the dog’s water dishes, and I don’t police you very strongly when you do that because, come on – it’s just water.  And whatever dog germs you’re going to get there, are probably also all over our house (and certainly in the hairballs you apparently insist on eating) and so for months now it’s been no big deal.  Only now it is a big deal because you’ve learned how to splash.  So the other day I let you play quietly (yes, this should have been my first red flag) near the water dishes and when I finally wandered over to check on you – you were soaked from head to toe and there was a one inch pool of water over most of the surrounding floor.  You were a cross between bewildered (how did this wet get all over me?) and proud (look mom, I made splashes!).  And we laughed – because after all, it was only water.  We changed your clothes and cleaned the floor and I spent the rest of the evening bodyguarding the water dishes.

P.S.  Yes, we do need to clean our house.  We’ve begun using your hairball consumption as a house cleanliness gauge and we seem to repeatedly fail. 

Anyway – like your mom and dad - you love laughter.  You love watching it in videos and seeing it in person.  We’ve discovered that if we fake laugh in front of you, it will eventually get you laughing too and then, of course, we’re all laughing for real.  You like to mimic people, you study faces and you can see the little gears shifting around in your head while you try to figure out new noises or expressions. Sometimes you reach out and grab my face like you’re trying to figure it out.  Especially your teeth – you can’t quite figure outyou’re your mouth works now that you have teeth in there.  You are constantly running your lips over them, and your eating has regressed because you haven’t quite figured out that your teeth replaced your gums and you can use them for chewing (although, you have figured out how satisfying it is to use them to take a giant chomp out of a puff).  Your little brain is going 1000 miles a minute most days, which also probably accounts for a little bit of the sleep disruption. 

First haircut!
Your Aunt Margy came to visit you again this past month.  You flirted with her shamelessly and I believe she was utterly charmed.  The possibility exists that she now likes you more than she likes us.  It's okay though, we wouldn't have it any other way.  She also gave you your first haircut. It wasn't exactly a planned thing, so we didn't have all the necessary supplies, but she made the best of it with a kitchen scissors.  The results may not have been perfect, but you're welcome for not letting that baby mullet thing you were working on go too far.  

Cousins in costume.
 You had your first Halloween this last month.  I feel like we need to talk about Halloween, because I suspect at some point you are going to feel like you’re being cheated out of something.  And you kind of are.  Halloween is not my thing.  I have a very hard time getting excited about it and while I was excited to dress you up in a cute costume this year, I wasn’t excited enough to try that costume on you in advance.  If I had, I might have realized that it didn’t fit you just right, and the buttons were all falling off (also, the tail).  On the day we took you out to Grandpa Jerry and Grandma Julie’s for the early Halloween gathering, I had thought to draw a nose and whiskers on you to complete the unbearably adorable “tiger” costume.  You weren’t having it.  And frankly, I didn’t care enough to force the issue.  And that moment right there was when I realized that this is how Halloween will be for you.  Just enough to get by.  Your costumes will likely be second hand (and DEFINITELY not homemade), and the celebration will likely be pretty minimal.  This really is just not my thing, but I promise to make up for it at Christmas.

Scarlett helped you pose for your pictures.
 In any case, you were a tiger.  And we paraded you around at Grandpa and Grandma’s on both sides, and you charmed everyone with all your entertaining, showing off your tricks, and that impish little toothy smile.  You got some candy, that your parents stole, and some baby food that we’re going to let you have.  As Halloweens go, it was a solid first go round, I think.

We've been working on using a sippy cup.  You are such a big boy!
 These months get so much more dynamic as you get older.  You are so much more interactive and one of these days I will probably relay actual conversations that I have with you.  These days you are still only saying mama, dada, and Bob (by the way, your dad would like to know who this Bob guy is.  He would also like you to please stop calling him Bob), but based on the speed with which you’re developing in every other way, conversations will not be far off now.  I know we’re going to have some interesting ones, and I can’t wait to know for sure what’s going on in that little head of yours.

Daddy's boy.
 So, if my calculations are correct (and you’ll recall that math is not my best thing), the next letter you get will be on your first birthday.  You will be one.  ONE.  The countdown to you being one is…one.  You’ll have to forgive me if I’m a little dramatic about this, but we all know that being one is just a gateway to walking, running, jumping, going to school, driving a car and eventually moving out and – generally – not being my little squishy baby anymore.  Can I forbid this?  Is there a veto card in my pile of mom cards?  I’m freaking out!  And yet – despite all that stuff I just said - SO excited!  Because it is a pleasure and a privilege to watch you grow.  You’re becoming this little person with this unbelievably charming personality.  You have opinions on things and sometimes I watch you snuggle (really! On purpose!) the dog and my heart explodes and sends my whole body into meltdown because you are gentle, and sweet in unexpected and beautiful ways. 

My heart.
It’s not perfect – nothing about our lives, our sleepless nights or our hairball infested home is perfect, but man – it is exactly what I dreamed of (well, maybe not the hairballs).  It is exactly just right for us.  It is filled with laughter and noise and chaos and mess and family and good food and good friends.  These are all the things I’m most excited to share with you, the values I’m most eager to impart. It is so much harder than I thought it would be, watching my baby turn into a little boy, but it's also so much more awesome than I ever could have imagined.  I cannot wait for the adventures you have in store for us.

Love and kisses all over,


1 comment:

  1. Oh my goodness, this has to be the best one yet!! my favorite part is BOB- (by the way, your dad would like to know who this Bob guy is. He would also like you to please stop calling him Bob)- priceless! I truly enjoy reading these every month! keep em' comin' :)