Once again I have made the big mistake of not writing this down RIGHT on the 13th month day and lo and behold, here I am thinking of the latest and greatest developments which are all 14th month feats.
But that’s not what we’re here for, self. We’re here for month 13.
The month felt like it flew by. I wrote that statement in a note to myself a few weeks ago when I initially sat down to write this and I look back at that note and think, huh … all right. Seems fitting that a note I don’t remember writing about time flying by is a note that was written weeks ago. Enough of me blabbing about that note.
The 13th month included Labor Day weekend which was a very adventuresome weekend for my wife and I. We went out on a FIVE MILE HIKE! The kiddo lived in backpack land the whole time, with quite a few stops to check if he wanted water. For the most part, with the cool weather that day, the brisk pace of our hike, and the other hikers as eye diversions … the kiddo was content with the ride along. Shockingly, he didn’t go to sleep at all during the trip – but we did bribe him with a graham cracker or two toward the end to keep him awake. It was a ton of fun for my wife and I to be out and taking advantage of the outdoors here, and the day went just so darn well. Generally it’s hard to have days where everything goes according to plan, but this day deviated from the plan only to have EVEN BETTER outcomes. You can’t ask for more than that.
We did our hour long drive to get to the hike which we planned during his first nap. Fantastic. Went great. Then the hike, which included a stop for all of us to have lunch. And then when we finished we had another snack sitting next to a river. It was pristine and beautiful and foot-numbingly cold water (which felt nice after the hike).
The bonus came when we left. We had planned to leave during nap two and drive home then. But the kiddo sat in the backseat awake and content. With about twenty minutes left in the drive my wife hopped out and sat in the back with him to make sure he didn’t conk out. When we got home we put him down for a nap and ended up with an unexpected lounging time. We had assumed both naps would be occupied by car rides so that was quite the treat to have that bonus free time.
Other fun Labor Day weekend plans included the pool (which he has grown to love) and a delightful picnic lunch outside. The kiddo is not exactly in restaurant-friendly territory these days so with the weather being so beautiful we decided to get ourselves some burritos and head to a park.
All in all, just about as good a weekend as one could hope for. The next weekend balanced it a bit because we again drove a long ways to a hike but this time it was so hot the kiddo was uncomfortable and unhappy and probably cooking in his backpack … so we turned around quickly. A long hike drive for a little jaunt, and then back home. That involved a bit more entertaining of the kiddo on the drive home because that was a good stretch of being cooped up.
My wife’s folks got the kiddo a teepee for his 1st birthday and that has managed to up our chase game. The little chaser would start to crawl, then look back at you and speed up toward the teepee. If you followed him he would make his excited little noises and pop his head up to look out at you from the little window in the teepee. It’s been a nice enhancement to our hide-and-go-seek / crawl-and-chase-me games.
Speaking of upping the ante … the kiddo can say no now! But. Here’s the thing. 1, I’m not sure he knows what he is saying. And 2, he says it to mock us. Great, right? He loves electrical outlets (great) and I’m pretty sure it’s just because he gets so much attention by crawling up to it. But he would crawl up to it, put his hand up on it, stand up, and look around. One time he did this and looked at me expectantly. I knew then how well he had trained me. My wife and I got in the habit of saying ‘no’ or ‘no, no’ or any number of times using the word no over and over. And occasionally he’d look at you with a big pout like, ‘how dare you take a firm voice with me’ but more often he would look at you and said back, ‘nonononono’ … great. Message clearly not received. Was it cute though? You bet it was.
My wife works Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. I’ve probably said that before, but what … am I supposed to remember everything I say? I say too much to have that kind of expectation thrown at me. Anywho. That means we have a morning ritual that is nice (when sleep allows it to be normal). Part of that morning ritual involves the kiddo and I being downstairs together for a bit while mom gets ready (or while mom catches some downtime on Mondays and Fridays before running the show all day). And we always go outside. The little outdoorsman loves it. LOVES it. He got used to the routine and came to know it, so just walking toward the front door would elicit little squawks of joy. Then, once outside, he got to show off one of his new favorite ways of communicating – the POINT.
The point is an all-encompassing, all-powerful way of telling us … we’re not sure what. You want to walk over there? You want to eat that? You want to look at that from here, you’re just letting me know that there is a thing over there? Generally, if you’re up and at ‘em, walking to whatever he is pointing at makes him happy. But sometimes when he’s eating he’ll point to a hat and you just have to look at him and wonder, what would you tell me if you could speak? Get that hat off the dinner table, dad? Is that it?
But when we are outside, the tree in the front yard is often a favorite target of the point, and the go to activity is trying to rip leaves off it. When it had crab apples on it, he would also relish trying to eat those … but ol mom and pop generally denied him of that fun.
Outside the former GREATEST THING ON EARTH was a neighbor’s dog. Move over dogs, because airplanes have taken over. We live pretty close to an airport and are treating to many planes flying overhead, and they have been the hit of the month. First we’ll hear one, and that results in a quick jerk of the neck to look skyward while we scan the skies until, aha!, there it is! At first in the month a plane would cause a little giggle, a point, and a lot of smiles. As time has gone on it is less exciting, and now it’s just a smile, and an excited point. I think he enjoys the challenge of hearing them and then trying to spot them.
Dear reader, if you want to, you should really treat yourself to an intermission. This post is more than 50% done, but boy is it a long one. And I’d apologize for that, but you’ve probably already stopped reading so it’s fine.
Back at it? Refreshed? Ok. Let’s do this.
My folks came out for a visit during this month as well, which was great to see them. Unfortunately, the kiddo does not see any of his grandparents enough for them to be an instantly recognized presence. There is an inevitable, ‘uhhhh … I don’t know about you, lady’ with the grandmas and the grandpas all tend to take a more hands-off, I’ll be over here approach which the kiddo digs. He would squawk back and forth happily with my dad, then crawl to me if my mom would try to play with him. It’s unfortunate that he is yet to recognize the grandparents as a steady, good presence but it’ll happen over time. And in the meantime, for the next trip, we’ll get the grandparents to feed him which ought to warm him up post-haste.
Two fun things coincided with my parents trip, too.
First is that the kiddo learned how to make a face. This is a weird statement, but it’s true. I think from my wife, though I’m not sure how this started, he would glance down very deliberately, then furrow his brows, tighten his lips, and stare at you! It’s a very adorable mean mugging that you are receiving. It’s especially adorable because he will often do this, and then grin at the end because he’s so pleased. My wife and I generally do this face back to him when he does it. One thing I have found pretty funny about this is when the occasional stranger is treated to this face. Generally it’s reserved for my wife and I, but randomly a stranger will get the treatment which usually gives them a bit of a surprise. Normally he is very smiley and, basically, flirty with strangers. He’ll smile, wave, and then sort of bury himself into my chest if I’m holding him and a stranger says hi. It’s heart-melting. But then there’s that blue moon and some stranger will smile sweetly at him and BAM, you’ve been mean mugged. And then the stranger probably feels worse because I just laugh and laugh while my baby stares, seemingly, with anger at him or her.
It’s pretty fun.
The other fun that happened was the kiddo’s first swim lesson! Woah! I signed us up for a ‘parent and me’ swim class which is thirty minutes once a week. So far we have loved it. Well, he has been ok with. His favorite activity at the pool is watching kids play, but he doesn’t mind being floated around in the water. I can tell you that he does NOT like when you put him on his back and try to float him around. No sir. He also has taken being dumped quite well! My wife was shocked when she did a lesson (meanwhile I was off on a hike) and the instructor said, ‘blow in your baby’s face, and then dunk them.’ But he has since been dunked by both mom and dad and he comes up, a little surprised looking, but still intent on the number one goal at the pool – finding and watching other big kids play. This whole underwater thing is just a brief deviation from the ability to accomplish that goal.
Right at the end of the 13th month a new skill also reared it’s adorable head – shaking his head no! My wife had made a point to emphasize offering foods and saying, ‘yes? Or no?’ while she would shake her head to represent those. Eventually, our little wunderkind got it because he too began shaking his head no! At first it was a very involved, whole upper body shaking of the head that made him look, and I say this with love, as though he was having a seizure of some sort. But he quickly managed to calm things down and now it is truly a head shake. He also mostly gets what it means … but he occasionally delights in looking at you and just shaking his head no over and over. Or saying no to random items. It’s just a fun thing to shake your head no, you know?
Stay tuned for next month, because it’ll include … oh wait. Crap. The 15th month is when Halloween hits. I bought him his costume this month which I’m QUITE excited about, and I really hoped he would be walking because he’d look like a little zombie (as all first-time walkers do) … but alas, he’ll likely have to resign himself to being a crawling Ewok rather than a walking one. But that’s ok, it’ll still be incredibly adorable.