Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Dear Daniel, (Lucky Thirteen!) Part Two

I wrote to you yesterday about why it's taken me so long to write this letter. I wrote about first birthdays and weaning and (even more) about not-weaning. Now here's the rest of it, the official update on all the new things in your life (from my perspective, of course):

We've been doing a lot of things these past two months; I can hardly keep up. You and I drove up to Seattle to visit our friends Lauren, Sam, and Mikko (and almost baby Alrik). We went on vacation to visit your grandparents in Ohio, and went to a wedding while we were there. Papa and I have been taking you on lots of bike rides (which you love). And of course, we celebrated your first birthday! Mostly though, we have normal days: eating, playing, cuddling, napping, gardening and doing chores (you even help sometimes). I want you to know that I enjoy our everyday together just as much as—and sometimes even more than—the special ones.

You've learned quite a few new things in the past two months, too! You can wave "bye-bye" and also say it at the same time. You said your first (two-word) sentence while we were on vacation, "Bye-bye, Momma," while waving at me. I say that it's your first sentence even though you've been saying "Hi, Daniel" for a while now, because you learned "bye-bye" and "Momma" independently of each other and put them together yourself. On the other hand, "Hi, Daniel" has always sort of been one word to you. This past month, you've also started saying "Bop-bop-bop!" when you want some food to eat or if you want more food. You still sign "more" as well, but the bop-bop thing is pretty consistent...and hilarious.

You really like to imitate the sounds that other things make now, and you're pretty darn good at it, too! When you hear the kitty start purring, you make a purring sound with your mouth. You do it with other things, too, like when I blow my nose. You have this whispery/growly voice that you do that we call the "monster voice." When you're using the monster voice, you usually say something kind of like, "Raaaahh-rahr-raaahr" over and over. Papa and I ask you to use your monster voice when we're inside and your screaming or screeching (your most favorite thing to do with your voice) is too loud for comfort.

Eating an ice cream cone!
(I have a whole video of you crunching on it.)
I love listening to you crunch into a piece of food with your teeth. You didn't really start doing that until after you were eleven months old, and it's still novel to me, so I think it's cute.  You have four top teeth and four bottom teeth, all incisors. (You got that last bottom left one this month, just a week and a half ago.) I can see the bottom canines (I think) starting to work their way up. You've certainly had more saliva lately, so I'm hoping they come in soon.

You've gotten much more intentional with your play lately. You like to present items to Papa or me as if you're saying, "Ta-da! Look what I've got for you!" You like to hand me something and then have me hand it back to you, back and forth like that for a long time. You've also (only in this last month) gotten interested in putting things into other things—rather than just taking them out. It's so fun to find your box of blocks with the lid propped on it, and discover that you've loaded all sorts of toys and household items inside! You play peekaboo (which we call "Where's Daniel?") whenever there's something in your hands that's big enough to cover your face with. We got you a baby doll for your birthday and you love to hold and kiss your baby. You even have a special voice you talk to your baby with, it's quieter and more high-pitched than your normal voice.

Speaking of hugs and cuddles, you are still a very snuggly baby. You love to give hugs, by laying your head down on a shoulder and squeezing with your body. You also give kisses, though we're still working on getting you to do it with your mouth closed (about half of the time).

Here you are with Uncle Kevin, signing...
well, I don't actually know what.
Your signing and gesturing—and your communication in general—has gotten much clearer over the past two months. Besides waving bye-bye and signing "more" and "nurse," you love to clap when you're happy and give high-fives. You also do this both-hands-up-with-a-shoulder-shrug thing like you're saying "I don't know." (I still don't know what that means.)

You shake your head "no" when you don't want something, and you are never unclear about those times! You have a certain wiggle you do when you need a diaper change, and if we've missed a poop, you try to take off your diaper. You even let us know when you need a nap. For example, last weekend, you were getting sleepy and Papa was taking care of you. You found the ring sling and brought it over to him on the couch, then you climbed up on the couch and put your head down on his chest. Papa looked at me and said something like, "Do you see this?!" and I told him that I often wear you in the ring sling and rock you in the glider before naps. So he did just that and you were asleep within minutes. We talked about it for the rest of the day. It was so cool to have you communicate your needs so clearly.

Another new thing you've learned is to sign "all done" when you're finished with whatever: eating at the table, being held, drinking from your cup, etc. You only use one (left) hand to do the sign, never both hands. Here you are doing it after dinner:

Before your first birthday, you started really enjoying playing with and manipulating my hands in new ways. You like to make me clap my hands together, and also to move them around when they're not exactly how you'd like them to be. You can spend a lot of time playing with hands (but then again, this is not a new thing).

While we were on vacation, you learned how to dismount a couch/bed/chair safely (backwards) and also how to descend the stairs safely (also backwards). It's so fun for me (and Papa) to see you getting more capable and more independent with each day. Your expanding skill set seems to be helping you to be happier, too.

A funny thing you do (which is also kind of infuriating) is that you always think Papa and I are playing a game with you when we're trying to get you to stop doing something (usually something that is slightly dangerous or hurts us in some way). I'll pull your hand away from something and you start giggling because you think we're playing a game, then you do it again because it's just so darn funny. It's strangely appropriate that you choose these tense moments to decide to play, because it's often at a time when one of us is about to get very frustrated with you. Instead, we're all able to laugh and then redirect you to a safer game (which is then also more fun for everyone).

Your first time standing unsupported.
This month, you've started rolling around or spinning on your bottom to get places. Instead of crawling from point A to point B, you'll sort of roll around on the floor in a seated position until you get where you want to go. I think you like the stimulation of the spinning sensation.

Speaking of sensations, you've been having more sensory troubles as it relates to balance/vestibular input lately. You don't like to stand without holding on to something, even though you're perfectly capable of doing so. (You figured it out about a week before your first birthday.) Similarly, you can walk around just fine holding onto hands or a "walker" of some sort, but you won't let go. I've noticed you having more trouble sitting up in the high chair again, too, so Papa and I are stepping up the sensory therapies again, doing lots of ball time, brushing, and swinging you in the blanket. I'm really hoping it helps you to re-wire those neural pathways so that you can be more confident in your movements. It's so hard to see you feeling scared of something as basic as standing upright.

Alright, love, that's it for the long (two months' worth!) update. Our family is making it through the days and nights together, getting (almost) enough sleep, and having a lot of fun, even though some times are still really hard. You amaze me every day with your ability to recover, adapt, and learn new things.

You are just more incredible than I ever could've dreamed up.



  1. Awww, so sweet! Lots and lots of new stuff! For a first time standing unsupported, he looks ready to rock out!

  2. This is so sweet. It will be so fun to go back and read this after enough time has gone by that you've forgotten this time. And I thought the same thing as Momma Jorje about the rockin' out. Lol

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