Caleb turns one today. The days leading up to this morning have been emotional ones for me. One minute I'm elated that we made it through the first year and that each month gets better and better. The next minute, I'm feeling wistful for the little bundle that could only sleep on my tummy who now hardly has time to sit on my lap.
Each month brings so many changes, but this past one in particular has been an explosion of milestones. Just as the month began, Caleb started walking on his knees. This gave him the stability and height he needed to throw things onto the couch (one of his favorite activities). Always look twice before you sit down in our house, you may find a tennis ball, block, book or stacking ring has appeared in your seat since you left it!
Daddy's rock climbing genes are coming out. Our little dare-devil tests everything to see if he can get a heel-hook and pull himself up to a higher vantage point. Fortunately he's only gotten about 4 inches off the ground so far, but seeing as he is already trying his best to climb out of the bath tub, I think I'm going to have my hands full!
The second week of June, tooth #7 makes it's arrival (bottom left, 2nd from center) and I can see a molar just below the surface on the right side. Despite teething and having a double ear, nose and eye infection Caleb spends his days rearranging furniture and fooling mommy into thinking he's not sick until he spikes a 101 degree fever during nap time. On the upside, that doctors visit let us know Caleb is now up to 20lbs 9oz (the 10th-20th percentile) so he is probably weighing in at around 21lbs on his first birthday. Not bad for the guy who lost instead of gained weight for 2 out of his 12 months of life!
Other new developments that week included "knocking" on the window (instead of just smacking it), standing alone (going from squatting to standing without help) and learning to crawl with a toy in his hand. His two favorite things to hold onto while he crawls are his tennis ball (which makes him crawl like "peg leg" baby and is totally hysterical to watch) and a wooden block, which makes a satisfying SMACK each time it hits the floor. Hey, at least he's easier to keep track of that way!
Receptive language keeps expanding through out the month. Caleb adds "volley ball" (his favorite!), "clap", "yay" (which also means "clap" to him),"down", and "up" this month. We're pretty sure he knows "outside", "Ergo" and "Bye Bye" but there are usually some visual cues to tell him about those things so it's a little harder to tell.
This month has also been a good one for expressive language. He found the "on" button for babbling again and has spent most of the month telling us all about it, usually saying "mammamamamama" in a very conversational tone. He does make lot of other sounds, just not as often (sa, ja, shu, ga, etc.)It's been so amazing to see that side of his personality.
My favorite moment was the "lecture" he gave daddy after running the vacuum cleaner. Caleb has this huge approach/avoidance conflict with the vacuum. It simultaneously fascinates and terrifies him. When it's off, he'll crawl to it, touch it, crawl back to us and cry. When it's on, he listens closely and then begins full body shaking that doesn't end until the vacuum turns off again. When David finished vacuuming the floor this week, Caleb crawled up to him and started saying in a loud, angry voice "nya nya nya nya" over and over. I think that's his version of "no, no, no"!
He's also started pointing, though I don't think he quite understands what it does yet. And no wonder, sometimes when he points we feed him, other times we merely name the object and still others we pass him over to be held by a different person. There's one thing he knows for sure. The index finger is a powerful tool and he will keep pointing at everything until he discovers how it works.
The two biggest accomplishments of the month though, came in the last week. As many of you know, I've been trying to encourage Caleb to pick up finger foods for the past 3 months. I'd offer them, he'd smear them. I'd feed them to him, he'd throw the rest on the floor. Then, finally, it all came together.
At first he'd pick up a puff and put it in my hand (and I'd feed it to him). Then, a few days ago, he just started eating everything finger food style. Bits of English muffin, cheese, ground beef, pasta and mashed potatoes all being stuffed into his mouth with both hands! In fact, he loves his new skill so much he will no longer take more than a few ounces off the spoon (unless it's a big person spoon, then it's a different story). Suddenly we can all eat meals as a family rather than taking turns feeding the baby while the other person eats. It really has been a dramatic (and wonderful) shift.
Last, and best of all, Caleb took his first independent steps a mere 5 days before his first birthday. It's not something I've been in a rush for him to learn, and to be honest, I never really understood why it's considered the "big deal" milestone.
However, now that I've experienced it, I can honestly say it's like nothing I've felt before. The closest comparison I have is the feeling I get when trying to get a kite into the air. After lots of false starts, suddenly it's soaring all on it's own. Seeing Caleb walk was like that for me. A few tiny steps seemed to represent to me the gradual independence he'll be gaining over the next 18 years. It's beautiful and bittersweet all at once.
It's been an incredible year. Today we celebrate that Caleb arrived safely into our arms one year ago, all he has accomplished since then, and of course, that David and I survived it all ; )