Sparky: Thirteen Months Old

This morning, the new word was “ilk” while showing me his bottle. Yikes. I’m going to start losing track of them all soon.

While nursing Liam this morning, I was thinking about what I was doing one year ago today. It was July 11 2005 when I carried my suitcase into the hospital to stay 48 hours on-site with Liam, so that the nurses could make sure we knew what to do with a baby, and to ensure that we wouldn’t break one another during full-time use. And I remembered being upset when Liam was hungry, trying to nurse in the middle of the night and crying his heart out, and we eventually figured out it was because I had too much milk for him to get a proper latch. Yes, we wouldn’t have this problem today, because the kid’s so enthusiastic he’d go through anything to get milk. But this is now; that was then, when he was a bare 4 lb 12 oz and I was producing an insane amount of milk because I’d been pumping for a month.

No, nursing is very different these days. I phased out the night pumping session about two months ago, and stopped the morning session at the end of June, as the bottles he gets now are few and far between and I still have a small freezer stash. He gets to nurse when winding down for a nap, and this past week he’s also been asking to nurse for five or ten minutes in the morning after he gets up and has played in the living room for a bit, even after he’s had half his cup of milk to drink on his own along with a snack of Cheerios. This past month he’s developed a tendency towards gymnastics when he nurses. He rolls around to get comfortable, tries to stand up, and basically squirms all over the place. This morning I finally sat him down on the chesterfield next to me, facing the back of it, and let him lean over a bit towards me to nurse that way. It seemed to work.

One of his favourite games is peekaboo (of course), and he never gets tired of it. When he decides to take a break from dinner he pulls the dish towel on his lap up and holds it over his face. Whereas before he’d pull it down again almost immediately and laugh, now he’ll wait a good long time while we wonder where he is before dropping the towel and grinning at us with that wonderful open-mouth grin he has. Not only does he hide his own face, he’ll reach forward and cover our faces, then pull the towel down and be delighted to see us. If we cover our faces with our hands, he’ll pull the hands away, then push them back to start the sequence over again. He tried to do it with Maggie, but she wasn’t interested in playing.

The obsession with putting small things into bigger things continues. The Fisher Price school bus makes an excellent Cheerio taxi, he has discovered. Food on the go. Snacks for busy babies and their toys. It’s the next big thing.

I mentioned the walking. The shelves have now become a climbing challenge. Liam will pile toys into his toy basket and step on them to get a better angle from which to reach the next shelf up. He’s also beginning to move furniture, if it’s light enough. He can move the coffee table, and the rocking chair. He also figured out how to open the glass doors beneath the television that house the electronics. We push the coffee table up against them, but now that he can move it when he sets his mind to it, who knows how long that will last? He loves opening the drawers in the kitchen and pulling my measuring cups and spoons out. The baking pans on the open bottom shelf are his toys too, as are the pot lids we keep in the stove drawer. It’s fascinating to watch him develop his own little games and ways of doing things. Not as fascinating is his recent exploration of high-volume screeching, just for the heck of it.

Bathtime is still awesome fun. He dunks his face in water at least twice a week. My in-laws had him dunking his feet in their pool last week, and he loved it. He had fun pulling handfuls of petals off the adjacent geraniums and tossing them into water to watch them float, too. ( “Thank goodness for skimmers,” said HRH.) At home he loves his sandbox, but he seems to have developed a dislike of the swing, which is unfortunate because we did get that swingset. It will still be there when he decides he likes swinging again.

His hair is long enough to start forming into little curls at the base of his neck. When he wakes up from a nap it’s in cowlicks all over his head, and I have to wet it to get it to lie flat. It’s so light and fine, with a brownish red sheen to it. A haircut is ages off, though, thank goodness. His eyes are now definitely dark green and I love them, because I was hoping he’d end up with green eyes. His naps are going well enough in that he still has them, but they’re getting shorter. Now the max is around an hour and a quarter. He’s still sleeping about ten to twelve hours at night, though. If I didn’t feel so dead at the end of his day I’d probably appreciate it even more.

I already journaled about one of the hand signs Liam makes. He has two others which are similar but separate. He waves at people and things to say hi or bye, sometimes with the associated word (sometimes even if they’re not arriving or departing!). He also has a similiar version of the point “more/give it to me” hand action, where he just opens and closes his fist in a direction, which means “that way” or “over there”. When I ask him where a specific toy is, such as “Where’s your bus?” he turns around and makes the sign at it. This morning I saw him put his palm to his mouth, hand flat, while he made eye contact with me, but I don’t know if he’s trying to blow kisses or tell me that he’s hungry. We’ll figure that one out within the next day or so.

As for food, he pretty much eats everything now. Pasta with meat sauce is very fun. He’ll eat a whole banana or pear or apple in one sitting as a snack, with a side serving of Cheerios or crackers and a good five ounces of beverage. He drinks milk, orange juice, apple juice, and water. He had steak with us again the other day at my in-laws’ house, and chewed on the bone, as well as nibbling some of my early birthday cake. (Chocolate! Yum!)

He’s got a place in a home daycare run by a woman I’ve seen care for a child over two years, and I’m excited about it. He’ll have so much fun! He’ll be starting with one day a week to ease into it (and give me that one day I need to get work done while my mother in law is out of town!), and then go to two so that I’ll have the time I’ll need to write whichever book gets contracted next. I’m looking forward to it, but I’m also a little sad, because I know that no matter how tired or annoyed I am at the end of a bad day with him, I’ll still miss him when he’s not here. It’s good to miss him, though, because it reminds me of how much I appreciate him. I don’t like being fed up at the end of a trying day, nor do I ever want to reach a point where I resent him because I haven’t been able to get my work done. I know there are millions of mothers who do the full-time at-home thing all over the world, and who’ve done it for aeons, but this is my family right here and now, our personalities, my son who loves people and likes constant interaction, and my work that I love doing. I think this flexible solution is ideal right now, with the option to keep him home if I like, or to ask if the caregiver can take him an extra day or afternoon if a deadline requires it. I don’t have to choose between my son or my job, and I’m thankful for that. I can have both, and it’s a blessing.

I love him. He’s one of the best things that’s ever happened to me. And I think he’s pretty darn lucky to have us as parents, too.

2 thoughts on “Sparky: Thirteen Months Old

  1. Lu

    Apparently when I was a climber from very little and would get out of my crib and go and play in the kitchn. Much to the chagrin of my mother, my favourite game was dumping all of the spices out onto the floor and playing with the pretty smells and colours. Once my mother decided that was enough and pulled me into bed with her. She knew that I’d escape and so decided to tie my ankle to her wrist so that when I made my move she could haul me back in. She said that half an hour later she felt these two little hands. She turned around and I had both ends in my fists. “I got the knots undone, mummy, can I go play in the kitchen now?” My father saved me from death.

  2. airea

    What wonderful pictures! He is growing so quickly. I can hardly believe it! I’m so happy you found a daycare you are comfortable with. Nothing is better than knowning he is in great hands when he is not with you. Peace of mind!

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