You are eleven months old. Only eleven? Really? I mean, of course I am stunned and amazed that we have already come nearly to your first birthday, but at the same time I am a little stunned and amazed at the things you are doing at eleven months old. You seemed to be born two months old, and in several areas that has made you a little precocious.
You are talking already. I know, I know, it drives me insane when people take the random babble of their children and insist that it is words, but it really is words. You have two full-time words, "hi" and "dada," two sometimes words, "Mia" and "cracker" (both identifiable to people who are not your parents), and even a very occasional "mama" that may be approaching intentional. You know the signs for milk, eat, more and ball and use them correctly, although your signs for "more" and "ball" are identical, so it is hard to say whether you want more peas or want to hop down and play a little catch. You do so big, peek-a-boo, wave and clap on command.
You climb stairs. You can stand unassisted for three seconds or so. You have started doing that adorable/ridiculous straight-legged stumble all over the house pushing your "choo-choo." It plays music, and you like to sit and push the button for the music over and over until it plays "If You're Happy and You Know it Clap Your Hands" and then you clap and clap and laugh and laugh. When given a brush, you brush your hair. When given a hat, you try to put it in your head. When given your shoes, you try to put them on your feet. When given your clothes, you try desperately to cram your chubby little legs into them.
You love balls, sticks, hammers, pulling every single thing out of Mia's kitchen and throwing it on the floor, Mia's princess dolls, books, blocks, stacking cups, mirrors, and any sort of musical instrument, especially the piano. You love pictures - on walls, in books, anywhere. Whenever I change your diaper, I have to first give you the new diaper so you can marvel and coo at the picture of Mickey Mouse on the front.
You love the tub, which works out well since you also love to eat and eating generally involves mashing great handfuls of dinner into your neck and hair. You love crackers, whole peas, green beans, yogurt, blue berries, apple slices, lentil soup, grated cheese, and frankly, the list goes on. You do not like grapes, tomatoes, spanish rice, or sweet potatoes.
You have seven teeth and we are expecting anywhere between one and five more at any moment. Your top two molars are definitely coming and they are making you very unhappy indeed. Your hair, in the tradition of a great swath of your male ancestors, is pure white and still stands up in a wicked little wave on top of your head. You like to stand on your tip toes to reach all the things we've put on the kitchen table to keep them out of your reach. You like to share whatever you are eating, whether it be a mushy cheerio or a piece of paper you've swiped from somewhere, you always pull it out of your mouth and offer me a taste with a proud grin.
You are a little bit shy, and when faced with new people or a new situation, or sometimes just when your father gets up in the morning, you tend to snuggle into my shoulder and peek out at the world with those blue, blue eyes. But soon enough you turn back into a flirt, calling out "hi" and waving and trying to engage the world in a round of peek-a-boo. You are very self-sufficient when Mama is not around, happy to play on your own or with whoever has been given charge of you, but when Mama is available you prefer to stay close to me. I've learned from your sister how fast this changes, so I am trying to enjoy it, even when holding you all day makes me feel like a hunchback.
Owen, we are looking ahead and starting to plan your birthday party for next month, and it is surreal to me that we have come so far already. I am sad, in a way, to have so much of your babyhood already behind me, but at the same time I am eager to see who you will become next. You are, at the best moments like when you wake up in the morning and just snuggle into my neck for a while, and at the worst moments like when you insist that I simultaneously hold you and put you down, a joy and a gift and I love you with all of my heart.