You are eleven months old today and every month now flies by faster than the month before. I just went back and read the letter I wrote to you last month, and feel like this month I could just say "last month times ten" and that would cover it. Every day you do something a little new or a little different or a little better than you did the day before and it is so gradual that I barely notice until one day I look up and you are waving at me from the top of the staircase you just climbed.
Speaking of stairs, you learned to climb them this month and it has become one of your favorite activities. One day you climbed three stairs and gave up and then two days later you went from the bottom straight to the top, pausing only to investigate the heating vent on the second landing. You climbed and climbed and climbed for a couple of weeks, but lately have decided it is easier to make me carry you up, so sometimes you go on your own and sometimes you climb two stairs and then sit down and wait for me to take you the rest of the way. You refuse to learn to climb back down and scream and cry when I try to teach you. You seem to believe that going headfirst will be good enough, should the need arise.
Another favorite thing to do is clap your feet. When we are changing your diaper we sing to you, "if you're happy and you know it, clap your feet," and you bang those chubby little dinner rolls together and giggle with glee. Sometimes, if you are in your carseat and upset I sing to you and you will forget about crying and smack your feet together. You did it last night after dinner when I finally freed you from your hated highchair.
The highchair is only good for keeping you contained for a few minutes, and not much help for getting any food into you. You prefer to stand up and hang on to a chair or to my knees or explore the kitchen and stop by occasionally for a scoop of avocado. You love to pick things up and feed yourself, but will only do it with hard, crunchy food. If we give you anything soft you fling it to the floor with a look of utter disgust.
The other big hit this month has been the swimming pool. We go almost every day and plop you into the baby pool in your inner tube. The second your feet hit the bottom of the pool you take off at a run towards the biggest, rowdiest boy you can find, desperately wanting him to pay attention to you. After that, you make your way around and befriend everyone in the pool. Once that is done, you float off to the middle where it is too deep for your feet to touch, lean way back, squint your eyes, and just float with your toes occasionally peeking up out of the water.
You got your eighth tooth this month, after 6 solid months of teething. You learned to point with one finger, or with one finger on each hand, and now every new thing elicits an excited squawk and concentrated pointing. You love to pull cards out of wallets and have three wallets of your own to play with. Your favorite toy is the phone, or anything remotely shaped like a phone that can be held to your head. You like to offer me or your dad the phone, so we talk for a while until you take it away to check to see who is on the other end.
You have recently started walking with me holding just one of your hands, and that just barely. You are so eager to walk on your own that I don't think it will be long now. When you want to move from one place to another, you have started eyeing the distance and I can see you calculating the odds of making it upright and almost deciding to risk it before ultimately dropping to your knees for a quick crawl.
Last weekend we went to a party with 30 people in a fairly small space. I was a little worried how you would react to all the noise and all the strangers, and when it first started getting crowded you got a little upset and we took you off to a quiet corner to play. It only took a few minutes for you to adjust, and soon you we making the rounds, going up to everyone to see if they wanted to give you a hug or a cheerio. You are a happy, friendly, secure baby, and watching you move so easily in a strange situation with only an occasional glance to make sure I was still there made me both happy and sad. Happy that you are learning to be independant, that you trust me enough to be comfortable in new situations, sad that you don't need me as much as you did eleven months ago or last month or last week.
Mia Bean, you are the most amazing person I have ever known, and spending this time with you is the most amazing thing I have ever done.