Thursday, February 25, 2010

Monkey: ONE YEAR

How do I even begin to tell you what's new with my ONE YEAR old child? I had planned to do an update every month with pictures and everything but oh, how life gets in the way sometimes.

When we left off, Peanut was 8 months old and getting ready to crawl. Now, he is just about 12 months old and taking tentative steps. I still call him Monkey, along with an assortment of other offhanded endearments.

Our little guy is as fabulous as ever – an incredible joy who brings us more happiness than we ever came close to imagining. I don't know what we would do without him. (Besides watch a lot more TV and surf a lot more internet!)

He is growing like a weed and flourishing like a flower. At his year checkup today, he was just under 30 inches tall and weighed 21 lbs 6 oz. Developmentally he's spot on – pulling up, cruising around on the furniture and sometimes taking as many as eight or 10 steps before he stops and sits down. It won't be much longer until he's a toddling maniac.

So much has happened over the last few months! It's hard to look back at pictures from six months ago and believe it's the same kid.

Food: We have been blessed with (so far) a non-picky eater. In fact, I would say he is exactly the opposite. He will and has eaten everything we've given him. If you ask him what his food preference is, it's "YES." And how funny that he's like this when, when we first started him on solids – not until after 6 months, mind you – he was all DO NOT WANT about everything we tried. I despaired that we would ever be able to sustain him with something other than my magic boobs. Formula is still strictly on the No-Fly list, however.

I don't know what happened but all of a sudden he became Hoover-baby, chomping at the spoon no matter what's on it. Apples, pears, cheerios, pasta, of course. Sweet potatoes, yes. Peas, yes. Prunes, yes. Spinach, broccoli, chicken, bagels, beef, yogurt, ham, lettuce, cheese YES YES YES!

We generally let him eat some of whatever we're eating, chopped up into bits and put on his tray, and then he usually also has a thing of baby food as well. Even though it's awful messy, he loves anything covered in spaghetti sauce, so I try to overcome my mess-phobia and let him have it even when we're not. Who knew that broccoli in spaghetti sauce would be a hit? He'll eat it plain but likes it much better sauced.

Monkey is a great eater and I'm so happy – I can only hope he keeps it up when he's older. Especially because despite the fact that I worry he's eating too much sometimes, he is in the 24% percentile for weight. Dr. Matt says he's just fine and to continue letting him eat as he wants.

Also, there have been many, many attempts at eating things that should not be eaten. I picture Monkey with a permanent little thought bubble over his head that says, "What's this? Can I put it in my mouth?" Or, more accurately, "What's this? I shall put it in my mouth!"

They say babies explore with their mouths and this is definitely true with our little guy. Everything he gets his hands on goes into his mouth. He especially loves to chew on tags. I hear there's a line of toys designed with all kinds of tags just for kids like him. Guess he'll have to get some for his birthday!

Teeth: He's got 8 fully in now – the four across the front on top. #s 9 &10 have finally broken through, which are a top molar on one side and a bottom molar on the other. They really gave him a hard time, at night especially; it kept him up, poor guy.

Walking: Monkey learned to stand in November and is now cruising around on furniture, people's legs, etc. In December my friend Erin gave us a walker that he runs around in like a madman – it has been his favorite thing ever since. He goes for walkies with Daddy down to get the mail and you can hear him squealing a mile away. He just loves it. Now that he is better at walking on his own, he tends to sit in the walker and roll himself backwards. It's hysterical to see him look back over his shoulder and kick off, flying down the hallway. I imagine in the next couple weeks when he's fully mobile upright, the walker will be abandoned and that will make me sad because I do love to see him zipping around in that thing.

He has also discovered using the dining room chair as a push toy. I can't believe he's strong enough to push it! But he is, and he's awesome at navigating that thing around the whole house. It's hardwoods all over so it is not unusual to come across an abandoned dining room chair in the hall or somewhere.

The other day, I was in the dining room working and out of the corner of my eye I saw movement across the kitchen. Looking up, I saw the stroller going by backwards. And then along comes Monkey, happily pushing it along and smiling at me as he went by. I love that my day is filled with such simple, beautiful moments like this.

Communication: My little guy babbles up a storm. He continues to be very vocal and has lately started mimicking us. We'll say something and at the end hear this little echo of the last two words we just said. And he sure talks to himself a lot…we always wonder just what it is he's saying. Won't be long now before he gets a few words that really sound like they mean something. Meanwhile, he does seem to know what we're saying much of the time. He knows who Mommy and Daddy are and claps and waves bye-bye, and especially loves to play "Where's Mommy?" The other day after dinner, I let him play with the washcloth I used to clean his face, and he started doing "Where's Monkey?" – held the cloth up in front of his own face, then yanked it down and smiled at me. He did it a couple of times until I caught on and started saying, "Wheeeere's Monkey?" and then he would giggle and hold it up again. Darling! I even got some on video.

He also knows "no" although we try not to use it except for the really dangerous stuff. Instead we aim for things like "hands off" or "hands to yourself" and thankfully, he is easily redirected.

We are trying some baby signs – right now we're working on "more" and "all done" and continuing to use the sign for milk as "yumyums."

Other stuff: It seems Monkey's favorite song has changed from Itsy Bitsy Spider to Little Bunny Foo Foo. Only problem is that I can't remember what happens at the end of Bunny Foo Foo when his three chances are up. Luckily, we tend to finish whatever it is we're doing before I get to the end. (Note to self: Find out what the hand motions are for when Little Bunny Foo Foo gets turned into a goon.)

He still loves Goodnight Moon, although we have gotten him some more books for his birthday so we can add a few more things into the rotation, seeing as I can recite Goodnight Moon in my sleep. We have quite a few more books but many of them are regular paper books which my little man destroys in seconds, so we're still on board books for a while yet. Also on the hit list: Guess How Much I Love You and Time for Bed.

He does great playing on his own too. A couple of months ago, I gave him a "safe" cabinet in the kitchen, filled with Tupperware and stuff. It also includes a large wooden spoon, which, according to Monkey, is AWESOME for banging. Mommy only agrees with this opinion for about half an hour; Daddy, not so much. It is super cute though to see him sitting on the kitchen floor with all the bowls and things spread out around him, happy as a clam banging away with his spoon.

Monkey doesn't seem to have a favorite toy as yet – he has lots of them but seems to give them all equal time. I suppose if we had to pick, the ones he seems to enjoy the most are the play keys from Aunt Heidi and the pretend cell phone I got him for our trip to Disneyland in December. We generally keep those in the car, though, so maybe he seems to like them so much because he doesn't get them all the time.

We are looking forward to his monkey-themed birthday party at Nana's this weekend. We are actually re-gifting some of the presents we got him for Christmas because he got spoiled by everyone, especially his Uncle John and Aunt Sherry. They got him so much stuff! Among other things, some cute clothes and a rocking horse that makes gallop-y noises and this adorable penguin thing that is like a giant weeble that laughs when you knock it down. He really loves the penguin and it's funny, if you bump into it and it bobbles a little, it lets out this loony laugh which is a sure fire way to get Monkey to come running (or crawling just as fast as he can!) Anyway, he pretty much liked the wrapping paper just as much as the actual gifts, so he won't even notice that many of the ones from Mommy and Daddy are the same.

Christmas this year was great but obviously a little sad. We missed Steve so much and couldn't stop thinking about excited he would have been for Monkey's first Christmas. It is getting easier day by day, but sometimes I get such an awful pang of missing him. Especially when Monkey does something exceptionally adorable that I want to tell him about. I sure hope there's some way that my mom and Steve can see what a great kid I've got.

He is such a joy – so happy, laughing and smiling all the time. Such a good kid and makes us so happy. I hope he knows – will always know – just how much we love him.

A whole year gone by already. We can't believe how much he's grown and how much we've grown too! I was so nervous about being a parent, about taking care of a baby and now I feel so accomplished and proud of my little boy.

It went so fast. I just hope the next twenty years don't go by like this or I will be an old lady all too soon!

As always, pictures here, video here.