Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Changes abound

Eleven months. Our Andrew is 11 months old. All of a sudden, I am busy planning a first birthday party and weaning him from bottle to cup and gently starting to potty train.
You've come a long way, baby! But, I think your Mommy has come even further. It's easy to see the changes in Andrew. Here's a little run down of his latest feats, big and small:
Words, words, words! Andrew is talking up a storm and surprising us everyday with new words and keeping us laughing with what seems to be pitch perfect comedic timing. Mama, Dada and Papa are still his most commonly said words, but he also says stop, go, bye, Dixie (my parent's dog), Dee Dee (for Brody), Nea Nea (for cousin Nathan and Aunt Renee), cracker, ball and small sentences like "I love you," "I love grits," "I got it," "I drop it," and his latest and cutest phrase "ho ho ho" for Santa Claus and snowmen. His communication skills both verbal and non verbal continue to amaze me.
He is not walking yet, but is cruising around and will stand alone while playing with a toy or reaching for something. It seems he has stretch arms and will work and figure out ways to get things that are out of his reach. For example, he has an Elmo place mat at my mom's and he pushes it underneath the napkin holder, salt shaker or sugar dish and then carefully slides the mat back to him, bringing with it the object of his desire.
He is a happy baby, content to play on his own but equally happy to have me or one of his cousins down on the floor with him playing invented games. One of his newest skills is pushing toy cars, trucks, tractors and trucks along while he's crawling and about a week ago, he started making motor sounds for all his automobiles as they roll along.
Though I have certainly allowed him to play with all types of toys, his favorite things are balls and things with wheels. Some things just come naturally to little boys, I suppose. He also loves books and can "point" with his thumb at certain pictures in some of his books when asked to do so. He can respond to certain commands like, "look at me" or "give me that" but when told "NO!" he usually gives me a mischievous grin and goes on with what he's doing. He looks so much like his father and acts so much like him that he would make a good case study in the nature vs. nurture argument. His dad isn't even around and I see him doing things like Greg does or making facial expressions just like Greg makes. He loves to wrestle with Brody and I'm thankful that Brody is a tolerant and gentle playmate. He still does a great job sleeping at night and he is completely fed from the table now. He loves most every food he's tried but bread appears to be his favorite food. Like father, like son. He is an expert imitator. He tries to talk on the phone, use the remote, brush his hair and his teeth just like he sees mommy do. He doesn't want me to feed him anymore but has yet to get food on the spoon and get it to his mouth with food still on it. For about two weeks now, he has used the potty every morning. He is a pretty regular guy and after reading about potty training in one of my mom's old Dr. Spock books about his toilet training methods, I decided that I didn't need to wait any longer to get Andrew accustomed to the potty. So, every morning after he's had his bottle, I put him on the potty and every morning with only one exception he has had a bowel movement in the potty. I know that he isn't trained and probably won't be for another year or so, but he is comfortable on the potty and seems to understand exactly what to do when he sits down and he doesn't try to get up. So, I take that to be progress. Andrew wears 12 and 18 month clothes. He weighed 24 pounds on Halloween so I'm sure he's up to 25 by now. Oh and he has four teeth -- two bottom and two slowly coming down on top.
So, that's the long and short of all things Andrew. He is a sweet natured baby who loves to cuddle, kiss and hug. And I am more than happy to indulge him!
I guess it's not so easy to see the changes in me. Well, unless you count the extra weight I'm still lugging around (I don't want to talk about it). I'm a different person than I was a year ago. I'm not sure I could ever explain how being Andrew's mother has morphed me into this other person who is a better, truer, fiercer version of my former self. Every day I wonder how there was ever any joy in my life before Andrew because he simply fills every moment of the day with a happiness that is pretty amazing. I tell Greg all the time that I don't know how I would make it through this year without Andrew. The days pass quickly. There is laughter, singing, cuddling, learning, playing and wonder in every day. There are long, luxuriously tender afternoon naps together. There's a sense that I am not alone even though Greg is not here. I have our son here with me and the light he shines into my days fills up the dark spaces created by this deployment.
I suppose I could have predicted this joy. I suppose I could have predicted the love. I could have predicted the pride I would feel in my son. I guess what would have eluded me a year ago would be the enormity of it -- the magnitude -- the way my relationship with my son would leave me completely humbled and grateful and awed.