Saturday, October 18, 2014

Casper, Month 11

11 months is a weird little spot -- so overshadowed by the looming end of your first year. But this month has been its own little bundle of highs and lows. You're fast outgrowing baby-dom and it leaves me desperate to savor it. I often feel panicked that I have not captured enough of the baby you (though a quick glance at my gigs of pictures would indicate otherwise). I am torn between forgetting what my baby was like and excitement over meeting my little boy. I try to be in the moment. And so here is this moment, 11 months.

Back in month 7 we sleep trained you. Silly dad and I thought that was it -- you were trained, you went to bed, you slept, you woke up in the morning. It was bliss and we were so proud. So sure that we had cracked the baby sleep code. Such naive newbies. Some other mother wrote in her blog that she had thought that she had beaten the sleep training game and then was shocked to discover that she only passed the boss on world 1. We arrived at a new level this month and it is like one of those bullshit underwater levels in Super Mario. The ones where you have to flap Mario’s arms at just the right speed to keep him above the stupid fish floating near the bottom but below the dumb flying fish ready to gulp you up at the surface. And just when you think you’ve found that perfect balance you run into a column of those mystery bubble that push you upwards and slam you into a jellyfish -- then you’re fish food. Many nights this month I have felt like fish food.
As with most things baby I’m not exactly sure what was going on with you. It could have been teething, it could have been the discovery of object/mommy permanence, it could have been a bit of hunger since the world is often too interesting for you to focus on nursing during the day. But I think the main problem was that you have figured out how to pull up to standing in your crib. This makes sleep protests so much more dramatic. In addition you have really upped your screaming game. Gone are the infant mews and fusses. Now we have howls worthy of horror flicks. You don’t know how to talk yet but somehow you’ve managed to communicate expletives that would make a sailor blush. Many times at the beginning of the month we gave in and brought you into our bed where everyone could sleep -- me with a baby foot in my face but it (mostly) beat trying and failing over and over and over to put you down. Whatever the core issue eventually mom and dad brought the sleep training hammer back down on you and we cried it out together and now, again, we all sleep all night (separately).

Remember last month when I said that you loved me most of all? I had no idea. You love me more. Or, rather, you hate not being with me. Unfortunately, loving your mom the most does not mean you are always happy when you are with me or that you greet me with only snuggles and compliments about how thin I look. It means that you are a royal asshole whenever I go to the bathroom alone. It means I sometimes have to hold your hands while dad changes your diaper. It means I scream the words, “I’m RIGHT HERE.” from every corner of the apartment in a futile effort to stop the whines. I’m flattered, I guess. I love you too.

You started properly crawling at the beginning of the month. You prefer a lopsided creeping motion with one foot pushing off behind you and acting as motor. Between this and your brave cruising between the furniture, you are everywhere. There is a lot of falling. This is the month that you can look back on should you ever worry about childhood bumps to the head having caused permanent damage. To make matters worse you managed to make real your dream of diving head first off of mom and dad’s bed. No obvious damage is visible at this time but I will personally look back on that moment one day when, as a surly teen, you forget to take out the garbage for the fifth time in a row. It was cold comfort that you took this moment to whimper out a sad "mama" for the first time.

In the war of Casper vs the baby proofing you are losing.... but just barely. Despite vigorous tugging and banging all but one of the cupboard locks has held (you can now access the pots and pans, if we had to lose a lock that was arguably the least necessary one). You did end up victorious in the battle of the corner covers -- none remain on the coffee table or the entertainment center. There is something poetic about turning around to see you crawling towards me with something that we bought to protect you hanging out of your mouth like a chew toy.

You’re much more vocal this month. You’ve become a bit of a mimic -- willing to play little call and response games with your screams or lip smacks. You’re saying Dada with meaning. As mentioned above, you also, seem to be saying mama… but there is no glee in it. “Dada” is for laughs, for silly screams, for prideful babbling. “Mama” is only to be used when sobbing. Beyond actual words your nonverbal communication is blossoming. You can whine with intention to let us know when you want to walk, when you want a cracker, when you don’t want to be held. You've developed an impressive back arch to say, "I do not want to be in the stroller, I do not want to be held, I do not want." You've also become quite the little smoocher - offering wet kisses to me and dad and your reflection in the mirror and all of your stuffed animals.

You’re finally really into books. You’ll sit still through multiple stories and tolerate a diaper change if you can hold a book aloft in your two little fists gazing up the pages. You like to caress the faces of all of the characters, you like to help turn the pages.  

You remain a happy little guy. When we took you in to get a flu shot the nurse pronounced you jolly which seems especially apt given your ever growing Santa-like belly. You love bananas and can easily put away a whole one grabbing slice after slice and using both hands to shove it into your mouth. You love kicking balls, walking with your walker, animal noises, Grandpa’s dried pears, drinking water from a sippy cup, hiding under the blankets in my bed, when daddy gets your hinny, when I sing “Gray squirrel, gray squirrel, shake your bushy tail,” and when I steal your paci (this is, perhaps, the height of comedy).

Onward we go to even bigger milestones.