16 & 17 Months

I’m a bit conflicted when it comes to writing these monthly (or bi-monthly, as is the current trend) posts about you, my sweet boy.  I love being able to look back on what you were doing at a certain point in your life, and these posts aid my ever struggling memory.  But sitting down to write them means I have to come face-to-face with a fact that saddens me a bit: you are speedily moving away from being my little baby.  The redeeming part of this fact is that it is so very fun to watch you grow into the little boy you are becoming.

We’ve been spending a lot of time outside, and being out and about, and it’s been great for both of us.  You love being outside so much that on most mornings, if we haven’t left by 10am, you get pretty antsy and a bit whiny.  You still enjoy storytime at the library, and you’re becoming more and more brave as you grow.  You’ll now get off my lap and play with the balls or the bubbles, every once in a while you’ll even dance to one of the songs.  We frequent the playgrounds and parks around us, thankfully there’s one two blocks from us so we can go there for a quick outing if need be.  You still adore being pulled along in your wagon and would probably prefer that it be our main form of transportation.  That being said, you don’t mind being in the car.  This was apparent when we arrived home after driving 9 hours from your grandparent’s house and 45 minutes later you were begging to get back in the car.

You’ve always been very observant of your surroundings, but now you’ve started taking specific notice of things.  You enjoy looking up at the trees when the wind blows, and if a loud vehicle drives by the house or a group of birds starts chirping, you’ll stop what you’re doing and look out the window.  Your memory is improving as well.  After one of the (many) times you fell and bumped your head, throughout the rest of the day, you would occasionally point to the spot on your head that you hurt.  It’s fun to see you develop friendships with other kids as well as with adults outside of our family.  The first time I saw this happen was when you nearly jumped out of my arms to get to your friend Ailey who has 30 feet away from you.  You love staring at a photo of her as well.  Don’t get any ideas, if I have anything to do with it, you’re not dating till you’re 18.  There are definitely adults that you prefer.  One day we walked into storytime, you saw JR’s momma and marched right up to her and plopped yourself into her lap.  I think you have a keen sense of when someone really loves you.

We have both been blessed with many wonderful friends.  Our lives wouldn’t be nearly as rich if we didn’t have these friends.  Here are a few of your buddies:

Your gross motor skills are improving.  Though there was a week when you were falling constantly; I think you had gotten the hang of walking, and were trying to improve your speed.  You haven’t mastered stairs, but you’re trying.  Fine motor skills are improving as well.  You recently started feeding yourself with utensils.  The mess is out of control after most mealtimes, but it’s so fun to watch your determination and satisfaction after you get that spoon full of food all the way to your mouth and the food actually gets in your mouth.

Any kind of blocks are a favorite toy of yours; you could play with leggos for hours.  Balls are still loads of fun for you too.  Books remain one of your favorites.  There are times when you’ll fall asleep with books, or carry them around the house with you, and you’ll never turn down a chance to snuggle up with me or dada to read a few of your favorites.  When we’re in the car, you love to dance and clap to the music on the radio; the faster the beat the better!  You love animals, especially dogs.  To get to know a dog, you get right to their eye level, look into their eyes, and babble in your deep, serious voice.  It’s so funny.

You also like to use that deep serious voice when you’re talking to your friends.  Many times you’ll raise your voice so it sounds like you’re yelling, but really, you’re just getting excited.  We’ve had to explain to many of your friends that you’re yelling because you’re excited, not because you’re upset with them.  I think we’ve had some unintentional hurt feelings a few times.  I think soon enough you’ll learn about volume and that it’s best not to speak loudly to your friend when he’s right in front of you.  But…you are a Murphy, so if the loudness continues, I won’t be too surprised.  You come from a long line of loved ones who turn up the volume when they get excited.

Your Grammy Jan introduced you to sand boxes when we were at their house for a visit before Easter.  It didn’t take long for you to become fascinated by the sand.

While we were visiting your Murphy Grandparents in Indiana, we went to a Botanical Garden and saw a butterfly display.  We all thought it was amazing and so beautiful.  You didn’t share the same sentiment.

Since you have family who lives out of town, you are very used to using Skype to talk to people we wish we could see in person more often.  Recently you were chatting with Auntie Hannah and she captured you in the midst of one of your “I’m yelling because I’m so excited I just can’t contain myself” moods:

The sleeping situation just gets better and better as you grow.  I might have said this before, but it’s worth saying again: I’m so very very thankful that you’re sleeping well now.  That first year was rough (though I know that compared to some, we didn’t have that difficult of a time, and for that I’m thankful), but we all got through it.  Going through that rough patch has helped to increase my gratitude for good sleep, I seriously thank the Lord each morning that we all got through the night without getting up.  One of the new sign language signs you’ve learned is sleep, and you use it daily.  I can ask you if you’re ready to go to sleep, you’ll sign sleep, and walk over to the stairs, looking to me or your Dada to help you up to your room.  There have been times when we’re out a bit past the start of your naptime, and when we get home, you make it clear that you want to bypass lunch and head upstairs right away to go to bed.  At night, a bath is the beginning of your bedtime routine, and when we say “It’s time to take a bath Jack,” you sign bath, and head for the stairs.  After books, milk, a song, and some cuddle time, we can lay you down wide awake, you’ll roll over on your side and contentedly suck your thumb into dream land.  It’s a thing of beauty.  Did I say we’re grateful?

It seems that orange is a preferred color of yours.  Your favorite sleeping companion is an orange blankie with a tiger attached to it.  It was a gift from your Grammy Jo before your were born, and now, when it’s time to sleep, it’s the first thing you reach for once we get to your room.  I’m not sure if the preference for the color orange led to a preference for the orange tiger blankie, or vice versa, but it’s fun to see these traits of yours emerging.

One such trait that we see periodically is an acute attention to detail.  There are times when you are very specific about the placement of a particular item, or the order you want to do things in.  It’s more than you just being a picky toddler.  We caught this in action one day when you were vacuuming (yes, believe it or not, you love to vacuum. I’m hoping and praying that this love for housework continues for the rest of your life).  In the  midst of vacuuming, you glanced over at the tv stand and noticed that the doors weren’t touching each other.  Since you like for them to be touching, you paused from your vacuuming so you could adjust the doors to your liking.  Then you carried on with the task at hand.  It was pretty funny.

You were able to participate in the family Easter egg hunt this year.  It didn’t take long for you to catch on.  Thankfully, you didn’t realize that the rock-shaped items inside the plastic eggs weren’t in fact rocks, but candy.  You didn’t once try to put them in your mouth.

You’re communication skills are growing.  Verbally, you say a handful of words consistently (bubbles, dog, uh-oh, banana, dada, bath, bowl, up, momma [when you feel like it], to name a few)  and we hear you “trying out” new words daily.  Most of the words you  do say are probably unintelligible to people who don’t spend much time with you.  We’ve seen your frustration grow as you have the desire to communicate more, but your verbal skills haven’t caught up yet.  And it’s for this reason that we’re stoked about sign language.  I can’t count how many times your frustration over something has been cut short because I’ve asked you to “say” please, help, more, all done, sleep, or wait.  Usually, you’re able to stop fussing, use a sign, and calm down completely, or at least a bit.

The new signs you’ve picked up over the last two months are: bath, sleep, help, home, Leah (for auntie Leah), grandma, grandpa, dada, momma, fish, play, flower, dog, read, excuse me, light, and I love you.  The I love you one is pretty stinkin’ cute.  What we didn’t expect is you deciding to make up your own signs.  You’ve made up a sign for hot that you use each time I tell you that your food is hot.  You also have a sign for chapstick; surely that’s not a result of your mother’s chapstick addiction, right?  Sometimes it seems you are using a sign and I have no clue what you’re trying to tell me.  I think I need to pay more attention to the Signing Times dvd’s you watch, you might be picking up new signs that I don’t know.

I have a hard time knowing whether you look like me or your dada; when I look at you, I just see Jack.  But, I do see characteristics of both me and your dada in you all the time.  Thankfully, you’ve gotten your dada’s ability to relax and not take life too seriously.

You also inherited his love of all things electronic:

Jack, with every passing month I think, “this is the funnest stage of his life yet,” and maybe I’ll say that at each stage, but right now truly seems to be the funnest yet.  You are such a joy to be around.  Your personality is unfolding more and more each day; we love seeing the silly faces and actions you make up, and the things that make you laugh and smile.  You’re expressing your frustration with things more openly, and we’ve seen a few brief, mini-tantrums.  But we want you to know, that no matter how many tantrums you throw at us, we will never stop loving you and we could never love you any less than we already do.  There isn’t a day that goes by that I’m not overwhelmed by how blessed we are to be your parent’s.  We love you buddy.


Humor Me?

I’m slightly embarrassed to admit this, but Jack is in a cute kids photo contest.  I always laughed at those things and said I’d never enter them, they just seem a bit silly.  The only reason kids win them is because the parent’s get tons of people they know to vote, not because the general public thought they were the cutest one in the bunch.  Also, we don’t need affirmation from other people that Jack is really stinking cute; we already know it’s true and honestly, it doesn’t really matter if people agree with us or not.

But, that being said, here we are, parent’s of a child in a cute kid contest.  I’ll reveal some of my frugality and explain that the whole reason I took Jack to get his photo taken for this contest is because we were told we’d receive a free digital copy of a photo they took during the photo shoot.  I’m a sucker for free professional photos of Jack because it’s not something we’d ever actually pay for (again, the frugality comes through).  Well, the internets lied; there was a misprint and we didn’t get a free photo.  But, we were still entered into the contest, and I thought I might as well give winning a shot since Jack could win some pretty cool stuff.  Unfortunately this isn’t one of those contests where you win money for college, I’d be on my knees begging you to vote if that were the case; mostly it’s things like tickets for local kids activities like Romp ‘n Roll, Kindermusik, and the Science Musuem, which would be pretty fun.

So, if you’d like to humor me, take a moment and vote for Jack.

14 & 15 Months

There are a few first-time events in a child’s life that most parent’s wish they could delay, or bypass completely.  We experienced one such first this January: the stomach virus.  One night you woke up unexpectedly (because, hallelujah, you’re sleeping through the night 99.9% of the time!) and we couldn’t get you to settle and go back to sleep.  You were upset staying in your crib and not interested in being rocked, so you ended up in our bed.  You weren’t fussy, just antsy.  Finally, after about 3 hours of being wide awake, you sat up in our bed and made it clear to us why you couldn’t sleep by getting rid of your dinner and maybe a snack or two.  The rest of the night consisted of not much sleeping for any of us.

I’ve always had a pretty strong repulsion to vom, especially when it belongs to another person.  But, one thing I learned through this experience is, my own child’s bodily fluids aren’t repulsive; actually, they don’t bother me one bit.  (And let me be clear, I experienced your vom on my person more than a few times.)  Must have something to do with the fact that we shared the same living space, food, etc, for almost 10 months.  I think that the physical connection we had for so long will have lifelong ramifications, I’m beginning to see.

Anyway, you recovered after a few days, and passed the same illness onto me, and a muted form of the same illness onto your dada.  It was rough, but could’ve been much worse.  As soon as that passed, we moved onto a different kind of illness: upper respiratory junk.  It lasted in you for three weeks so we broke down and took you to the doctor, thinking it might be more than viral.  The doctor suspected a bacterial infection was introduced while your immune system was compromised from the viral infection, so antibiotics did the trick.  By now, the end of  February, you’re much better, and I’m on the upswing after a good 2.5 weeks of it (because yes, I got this illness too. Comes with the territory, but, you are totally worth it.).

On to more exciting things.  Like sleep.  As I mentioned earlier, you are sleeping like a champ.  All night, every night.  And for 2-3 hours during your once a day nap.  I’m beginning to recover from a year of sleep deprivation and it feels good.  It was a long process to get to this point, but we feel we made the best choices we could make (most of the time) and again, you’re totally worth it.

You’re walking is coming along nicely.  You’re losing the Frankenstein waddle, (which is a bit sad because it was so cute) and sometimes you try to run.  I can’t remember the last time I saw you crawl.  You enjoy carrying things around when you walk:

Books. You still love them. So much.  You really enjoy sitting in the chair in your room and looking at books all by yourself.  I can be in another room for several minutes at a time and you don’t seem to notice that I’m gone.  It really is pretty cute to peak in on you and see you reading one book, put it down, pick up another and begin to study it intently.  Your Grammy Jo got you a chair just your size and you recently learned how to crawl up into it on your own.  If you pick up a book and you’re anywhere near the chair, you immediately head for the chair to sit there while you read.

Another thing you’ve enjoyed playing with these past two months is train tables.  You spend half the time watching the other kids and half the time actually playing with the trains.  You love to watch other kids and you enjoy getting them to interact with you, sometimes.  Recently at an after church dinner, the big kids were running around the fellowship hall and you had a blast standing in the middle of it all and screaming at them as they ran by.  I could see the desire to run with them in your bright eyes and a little body that radiated a huge amount of energy; I have a feeling it won’t be long until it happens.

Your sense of humor continues to develop.  One day during a meal, you put your bib on your head haphazardly and left it there until I saw you.  I cracked up, so you did it over and over again.  Some meals you’ll surprise us with a repeat performance.  You also enjoy placing your hands on your neck behind your head and doing a little dance.  We think you got the hands on the neck thing from us, but it seems you’ve added the little dance number on your own.

When it was clear you needed to go down to one nap, we needed some activities in the morning that would fill up more time, so we started going to various story times or music times, out to parks and playgrounds more, and running several errands at a time.  Usually at story time you’ll plant yourself firmly in my lap and only get up during the activity or craft.  Similar to when you were a small baby, you like to thoroughly take in your surroundings before you warm up.  You definitely have a shy and reserved side to you (this you got from your Dada), I think it’s very sweet.  But you also are super outgoing; if we’re at a restaurant, there are times when you try your very hardest to get strangers to notice you and talk with you (this you got from me, though I don’t try to talk to strangers in restaurants. usually).

Time in the nursery is getting much better.  Sometimes there are tears for a few minutes at the beginning and you can usually make it through the entire service without any more rough spots.  I’m so proud of you for this, it’s been a hard thing for you, but you’ve become much more brave.

You LOVE swinging and playing at playgrounds.  It’s so much fun to take you to the park now when you can really get excited about it.  You like to ride in your wagon to the park two blocks from our house and be pushed in the swing and slide down the slide, even the big kid one.  We have a swing in our back yard as well and if we even step in the back yard, you think it’s obviously time to swing and promptly throw a fit if we’re not able to at that exact moment.  Distraction usually helps.

You had your first visit to the zoo in February with me and your Grammy Jo.  You sorta enjoyed looking at the animals (as you do at Maymont) but mostly you just stare at them; it seems you’re trying to figure out exactly what is going on with these moving things that don’t look like people.  Your favorites so far are birds of any kind (your Grammy Jan will be proud!); you seem especially taken by them.

You still love anything electronic.  You’ll turn any toy into a pretend phone but definitely prefer to use our phones over your  play ones, 2 of which are the real deal.  Even if yours are charged and “working,” you still want the ones you see momma and dada using.  Smart boy, you are.

You’re eating well, not as much, but I hear that’s normal.  You love cinnamon and usually will eat anything I put it on.  You also love oatmeal, so I’ve been making you baked oatmeal for breakfast and for dinner.  The dinner version has all sorts of vegetables in it that you normally turn your nose up at.  Sneaky, I know, but it works.

I’m still breastfeeding you twice a day: once before naptime and once before bedtime.  I didn’t envision us breastfeeding for this long, but weening has been a long process.  Mostly because I’m lazy.  Yup, that’s right, lazy.  You go to sleep so quickly after nursing and it’s a super easy way to get you relaxed.  I’m enjoying this glorious sleep pattern of yours so much that I don’t feel like  changing things up quite yet.  I just need to bite the bullet and do it already.  Hopefully by the end of next month you’ll be totally weened.  We’d like to have another child sometime and I’d love for there to be a period of time between when a baby is being sustained in some way by my body.  Don’t get me wrong, breastfeeding has been super easy for us, and a great bonding experience, as I’ve said all along, but I’m ready to be done.  I’m sure you’ll understand.

While you’re not saying many more intelligible words (though it’s clear that there are times you’re trying very hard to say something specific) your sign language has taken off.  If we were more consistent at teaching you, I think you would pick up even more than you already have.  You’ve added book, eat, wash hands, please, thank you, pray, and help to your repertoire of more, all done, and milk.  This is huge.  I think it has really cut down on your frustration level when you want to express a desire or need.  We’ve been watching some Signing Times videos from the library, and I think these have really helped.  Though I have the theme song in my head most days: “It’s signing time with Alex and Leah…”

A super cute thing you’ve started doing is blowing kisses to someone when they leave.  It just about melts my heart every time.

I’ll tell you one thing that doesn’t melt my heart: whining.  And you’ve learned how.  I try very hard not to reward it by giving you what you want, but sometimes it hurts my ears so much that I’ll give in just so you’ll stop.  The whining is not something that happens very often, so I’m hoping it stays that way.  But there is that saying about the terrible two’s…

We dog-sat for a week in February and you loved it.  You especially loved feeding Cooper from your high chair and would cackle every time you threw food to him.  (Unfortunately I think we made life a bit harder for Cooper’s owners when they got home and suddenly had a dog who begs for table scraps way more than normal.  Sorry guy’s!)  We loved Cooper too, but sorry, we’re not getting a dog anytime soon; but we did get you a Beta fish!  So far you’re kinda interested in him, but not terribly.  I imagine the interest will grow.

Just about the sweetest thing you’re doing lately is snuggling.  A lot.  Many times a day you’ll walk up to me and bury your head into my legs.  Sometimes that’s all you’ll need, and you’ll go back to playing, sometimes you need me to pick you up and give you a big hug and kiss and you’ll be on your way, sometimes you need me to sit and read or play with you for a bit.  You like a snuggle after you wake up, especially if it’s with your Dada in the mornings.  I treasure these moments so very much because I imagine there will be a time when snuggling isn’t cool at all.  I sure hope that’s not true, but I’ll soak up every one I can get just in case it is.

Need Your Help!

I have a wonderful friend who is a finalist in the Kraft Maid Define Your Style contest.  If she wins, she’ll get a $50,000 new kitchen!

Here’s where you come in: go vote for her!  Her board is called, “This is what it’s all about.” The voting ends on January 10th, that’s three days from now people!  You get to vote once each day.

I can promise you, my friend Leigh totally deserves this kitchen!

Jack’s kitchen is for sale!

Well, not his actual kitchen, but one like it!  My Dad had such a great time making Jack’s kitchen (and my Mom had a great time picking out the hardware, colors, and accessories!), he said he wouldn’t mind making more.  I wouldn’t be able to tell you how much it would cost (you’re never supposed to know what someone paid for your gift, right?) but I’m sure my Dad would talk to you about it if you’re interested.  Just let me know!

I love the natural finish of Jack’s kitchen, but I’m sure you could have yours painted any color.  One thing that’s different about the kitchen now, is my Dad decided to round all the edges of the two doors.  Sharp corners and babies don’t go well together!

The oven and those burners actually do light up (with Christmas LED lights) and can be turned on and off!

Doesn’t it look so cute with all of Jack’s food and dishes set up?  I can promise you it doesn’t stay like this for long!  Jack has such a blast playing with his kitchen, and I know he’s going to love it for a long time!


13 Months

Last Christmas you were not quite a month old and you slept through most of it (and so did we), so this year it’s been so much fun seeing you enjoy parts of the season.  Of course, you don’t get the whole gift giving thing, but you have really enjoyed the gifts you’ve gotten!  Your Daddy picked out a toy from us: a ride-on tractor with buttons that make noise and an arm that works like a digger (I guess that’s what it’s supposed to do, I’m not totally up on my machinery, but I guess i should learn quickly!).  You loved it right away and could barely wait for your Daddy to get it out of the packaging.

You also got an awesome play kitchen, made by your Grandpa Steve, with finishing touches put on by your Grammy Jo (more pictures to come, this thing deserves its own post).  You have a blast opening and closing the doors and playing with all the food and utensils.  It’s funny to see you standing in front of it, barely able to see over the counter, and think about how, much too soon, you’ll be able to “wash your hands” at the sink and reach things on the top shelf.

Your great-grandmother Nanny got you a cute little bear that sings its ABC’s. The faces you were making at it were pretty stinkin’ cute.

Your mobility is steadily increasing.  You stood up on your own this month, and a few days later, you took your first steps!  It was a pretty exciting moment.  I have to admit I was proud that you took your first steps toward me (I mean, you haven’t said momma directly to me yet, I’ve got to take what I can get!).  You’ll take only a few steps at a time, and usually it’s when we’re not trying to encourage you to walk.

This month you’ve surprised us by the way you’re trying out different words and phrases.  To the ear unaccustomed to your babbling, your words would just sound like more babbling, but to those of us who know you best, it’s clear that you’re speaking actual words.  Your first word was Dada, which you said for the first time at 8 months.  You’ve now added a couple of phrases and words to your repertoire: “Hi there,” “I did it,” “I got it,” “kitty,” “banana,” and once recently we heard a, “night-night.”

These are the words we’ve been able to decipher; it makes me wonder how many other words you might be trying to say that we just aren’t able to understand.  You’ve caught on to a couple of sign language signs that you’re able to use fairly consistently: milk, and more.   I think you might be using the sign for “all done” as well, but it’s hard to know for sure yet.   You picked up the sign for milk in no time, not surprisingly.

You’ve also started communicating with “signs” of your own.  You’ve had this way of blinking your eyes very deliberately at people for a while now, but this month you started using it as a way to get our attention.  For example, sometimes at dinner, you’ll stop eating, look at one of us, blink your eyes once or twice with emphasis, we blink back at you, and then you return to eating.  We think you just want to know we’re still paying attention to you.  It’s pretty cute.

You love the song and motions to the Itsty Bitsy Spider.  You’ll do some hand motions as someone sings the song to you.  And then you laugh a the end and clap your hands.  It’s so exciting to see you do things like this, it’s like I can see the neurons firing in your brain.

When I vacuum, you get so excited.  You try to yell louder than the vacuum, and if it’s anywhere in sight, you make a beeline for it, and then try to do a little cleaning yourself.  I really hope this obsession continues because a chore list is definitely in your future, and if you still love vacuuming as much then, things will go well for us all.

You’re becoming better at showing us your displeasure when you don’t get what you want.  We’re trying really hard not to teach you that fussing is what you do to get your way, but that’s a hard lesson to teach!  Thankfully, unless you’re tired, you rarely fuss for very long when you’re denied something you want.

This last month I’ve been noticing how life just seems a bit easier.  I’m feeling more productive, stuff doesn’t stress me out as much, I feel more clear-headed.  This could just be a random gift from God, but part of me thinks it might be a result of your sleep patterns becoming much better (also a gift from God)!  It seems you’re trying to drop a nap, but there are days when you still definitely need two.  Your naps are getting longer, which is so awesome.  I can do more than eat a meal, take a shower, and check my email during your nap, it’s amazing!  You’re sleeping better at night too.  You’ve been sleeping through the night about 75% of the time this month.  That’s even with  a road trip to visit your grandparents in Indiana; usually being away from home totally wrecks your sleeping, but not this time!

Speaking of, you had a blast at your grandparent’s house.  We were sad it took us a year to take you there for a visit, but we’re so glad we could go this month!  They have a kitty, and following her around, calling out “ii-ee” (you pronounce the first syllable a couple of octaves higher than the second) was your favorite game.  Your Grammy Jan had tons of toys for you to play with, some of them were from when your Daddy was a little boy!  And as always, you love sitting on your Grandpa Paul’s lap while he reads to you.  Being there makes me wish we own a piano!  You would sit at their piano for so long and be completely content.

We took you “sledding” in their front yard.  You were only slightly impressed.

When we got back to Richmond after visiting your grandparents, you were able to be with almost all of your family for Christmas.  You only have one first cousin so far, and you are a big fan of his.  When Noah talks, you listen intently, and you stare at him.  A lot.

We took this same photo last year in the same spot.  You, Dada, Grandpa Ellis,  Paw-Paw (one of the great-grandfathers you’re named after), and cousin Noah.  It’s almost unfathomable to think of how far you’ve come in the past year.

You looked so much older in your Christmas outfit.  It hurts my heart a bit when I think about how fast you’re growing into a little boy and moving away from being our little bitty baby.

You’re becoming more endearing each day.  Sometimes I can just watch you go about your normal business, and I feel my heart about to burst open from how much I love you.

12 months

My sweet boy, I can’t believe you’re already a year old. I’ve heard people say the days are long and the years are short.  This couldn’t be more true!  It seems like you’ve been in our life for a thousand days, but the day your were born feels like last month.

With every new stage, I miss the part of your babyhood that we’re leaving behind, but I also love seeing the little boy you’re becoming.  Your personality is blossoming.  You are a ball full of energy, always moving and playing.  You’re babbling like crazy, trying to tell us very important things, soon we’ll begin to understand what you’re saying to us.

One day, I stood you up behind one of your push toys, and you took off, like you’d been doing it for months.  It’s something you love to do.  You walk along the furniture expertly.  At times you’ll let go of what you’re holding on to and stand unassisted for a few moments, but once you realize what’s happening, you lose your balance and sit down.  You constantly try to stand from a seated position.  I have a feeling that, like most of your milestones, one day you’ll just start walking like it’s no big deal.

You started feeding yourself this month.  We went through a stage where you wouldn’t let us feed you.  You tried to use a spoon to feed yourself, but not much food actually made it to your mouth.  I started giving you more solid food, rather than mashed up or pureed food, and you got the hang of feeding yourself.  Your preferences for certain foods seem to change every few days.  First you would eat mostly spinach, then it was clementines, now you’ll eat eggs and black beans all day long.  You also love those little puffs that are like crackers.  I’m not sure how to get you to eat more than one kind of food at a meal, even when I try to mix it all together, you pick out what you want.  I’m just glad you’ll eat at least one thing!

You had your first taste of sugar at your birthday party.  After the first bite, it was like no one else was in the room, just you and the cake.  We had to work to get you to try the ice cream your grammy made for you, but after a bite, you loved that too.  Considering how much ice cream I ate when I was pregnant with you, I can’t say that I’m surprised.

Something super adorable that you’ve started doing this month is giving kisses.  Your kiss is you opening your mouth, and gently leaning in toward the person’s cheek.  I almost melted one day when you gave me several kisses without being prompted.  You’re becoming less generous with your kisses lately, but that’s fine with me, as long as you let me cover your little cheeks with kisses, we’re ok.

You’re becoming more and more curious, opening and closing is still a fun activity for you, especially the kitchen cabinets.  You like pulling the tupperware and pots and pans out of the cabinets and making as much noise as you can.  You also love the refrigerator.  If you’re nearby, I have to get in and out of the fridge as fast as possible since you make a beeline for it as soon as I open it.  If I let you, you’d stand in front of it, touching all the items on the shelves, and play for hours.

We’ve reached my goal of breastfeeding for a year, and I’d like to start the weaning process.  I don’t want this to be a traumatic experience for either of us, so it will probably be a slow process.  I’m feeling conflicted about this because breastfeeding has been such an easy thing for both of us, and it’s really helped us to bond, but there are occasions when I realize I really want to be done nursing, so I know it’s time.

Sleep is still a struggle for us.  Waking up once a night with you is really starting to take it’s toll on me, a year of not getting enough sleep is keeping me from being the best mom I can for you.  After life settle’s down after the holiday’s, we’ve decided it’s time to help you along in the self-soothing process.  I’m not exactly sure what this is going to look like, but as important as sleep is for you, and for us, we know we have to do something to help you get the rest you need.

You had a busy week during Thanksgiving.  There were the normal festivities, and lots of family to see, and then we had your birthday party that weekend.  I wasn’t sure how you’d do, with so much busyness, but you seemed to thrive.  I’m  wondering if you’re going to be an extrovert.  After that weekend, you kicked your babbling up a few notches.

I absolutely love your smile.  It lights up your entire face, and sometimes your body just shakes with excitement when something really makes you happy.  I’m so glad your life is full of so much joy.

Your favorite part about Thanksgiving was getting to gnaw on the Turkey leg bone.

And of course, a holiday wouldn’t be complete without a family photo shoot.

You love your aunties, and the feeling is definitely mutual.

And your grandparents?  No doubt about it, they’re totally smitten by you.

You were practicing standing on your own…

but you weren’t a fan of the noisy leaves and didn’t want to sit down.  But, being a baby, your possible movements were limited, so you let us know you weren’t happy:

A friend of ours was so kind to take some photos of you near your 1st birthday.  You had fun hamming it up for the camera.

You’ve brought an incredible amount of joy to our lives, Jack Charles, and we are so very grateful.