Sunday, September 28, 2008

Newsletter: Month 12

Dear JB,

Today you are ONE YEAR old!!!

We had a pretty huge party today, that is a good example of the kind of family you were born into. Lots of family, loads of friends, lots of love... You have extremely well intentioned mommies who maybe sometimes don't get the big picture until later. The main menu was chili. There was a white, chicken offering and a standard beef, tomato sauce option. I've been planning the food for weeks, but it occurred to me a few hours into the party that most little kids don't eat chili. Hmmm, well, let's be honest, the first birthday really isn't about you is it?

Your grannies have come for a visit and aside from allowing them to be at your party, the timing is fantastic because you seem on the brink of learning explosions in terms of (about to start) walking, communication, and recognition. Last week, you saw them on the computer and started clapping. You crawled over and put your face up to each of their faces on the screen, as if to hug them. Then you stood up by grasping the top of the imac and peered over the back of the monitor, looking for the rest of their bodies.

This month has a been a little different as your moms have made a big decision to put our house on the market. We are looking to move to decrease the amount of driving we all have been doing. So we are trying to pack some things up and de-clutter, and prepare to live in mental or physical limbo for a while. You are un-phased and luckily don't seem (at this tender age) to absorb the stress experienced around you. This might seem like a silly thing to comment on, but you come from a long line (both biologically and environmentally) of kin that can be affected by even the un-expressed stress of others. So we're relieved that you seem to be Mr. cool about external stressors; I guess that means we are doing a pretty good job shielding you from our anxieties.

Today at the party, you had cake for the first time. You didn't like the whipped cream on your hands and treated it like sand at the beach, trying to "shake" it off the minute you noticed the sensation of something "stuck" to your paws. It didn't occur to you to eat the whipped cream on your fingers until I introduced a small dollop to your mouth and forced you to taste it. Then you were more eager, but still never really tore into the cake we made for you to destroy. We had a clean outfit waiting, but you never got messy or dirty enough (even without a bib) and so you kept the same "Happy birthday to me" onsie on for the entire day.

You are eating 70% real food at this point: steak, ground beef, chicken, veggies, fruit, yogurt. We cut the stuff up into tiny little nibblets and you pincer-grasp or palm it in. You drink whole milk out of a sippy cup, and are down to about 2 bottles of formula a day. You like to feed yourself. If we have a spoon or fork out, you need to hold one too or else you cry, fuss, arch your back, and shake your head dramatically back and forth. So we do a modified eating do-si-do where you take a spoon or fork full and then we give you 2 to4 utensils full and then you forget about the fork and pick up the food for a little bit with the fingers of the hand that is not clutching the JB-spoon, and then we sneak a few more mouthfuls in with the mommy-spoon.

You definitely have a mind of your own and have preferences that are refreshingly innate. By that I mean, if we pay attention to your actions and likes/dislikes now, I think we'll see some that you have always had and will carry with you into adulthood. Example, you don't love shoes, but if your shoes are off, you will struggle and pull and contort yourself to get your socks off. You really don't like having socks on. You don't seem like hats or blankets that much either. People say, to us, "all kids are like that" and it's just not true. I've seen kids that keep their socks on, but you have earned the nick name, barefoot joe. The other night, I watched you tug at the feet of your sleeper, not understanding that they weren't socks but part of the outfit, and I was reminded of the infant JB- "Great Houdini", who wouldn't stay swaddled, no way, no how. You just don't seem to like being wrapped up or contained or covered. That's not to say that you don't like to cuddle or be cuddled. You are very snuggly and like to hug and kiss and put your head down on our shoulders and chests, but if you're not in the mood for that, everyone knows about it.

Another mannerism that we find adorable is how you sit with your feet crossed at the ankles. When you sleep either on your stomach or on your back you do this too. When I had that "scare" not able to feel you move for a few hours toward the end of my pregnancy, they did an ultrasound and you were sitting "like a Buddha" inside of me, ankles crossed over my cervix. It's a pretty mundane thing to mention, but it is decidedly "you". It seems to be your "zero" position, your default, resting, natural pose. I don't know why it's so cute. Something about your chubby, sock-less ankles crossed when you are playing, laughing, crying, talking on the phone, or sleeping makes me squint my eyes and recognize the old-man-soul that might be somehow already (at least partially) realized inside of you.

You are still (and I fear will forever be) obsessed with phones and anything electronic. You hold real phones, toy phones, and any other shaped object that has nothing to do with a phone up to your head and babble into it. You have a different intonation when you are "talking on the phone" and you don't like anyone to intrude. You could play "phone" probably for 10 to 15 minutes, but if an adult tries to hold it for you or keep you from say, calling 911, you really take offense to the intrusion of your constitutional right to play with a phone.

If there is a radio or remote or electronic signing pad at a store, you start "oh. Ohh. OHHhh"ing and motioning toward the device because the desire to talk on the phone never leaves you and everything else in the universe reminds you of this. You place your hand up to your face, fingers touching the bottom of your ear, and the heel of your palm near your chin, and cock your head slightly in the direction of your hand. The pantomime has to be recognized as your first "sign" and first consistently accurate form of communication: "I want that phone".

J: (signs for phone while looking at battery-less remote)
Mommy1: Here you go, that's your remote, but you can use it as a phone if you want
J: (Realizing the remote is busted and neither lights up nor beeps nor talks to him, signs for the phone again) Ohh, ohhh, OHHhhh
Mommy2: Yes that's a phone, good boy.
J: (Throwing non-phone down and signing phone while motioning for the camera)
M2: You can't have that
J: (Starting to get fired up)
M1: But honey, that's not a phone
J: (picks up the battery-less, remote-phone and starts babbling wildly like a tiny dictator phoning his top general or Dick Cheney consulting with his laywer) OHhhh oooooh, oooh-ahhhh, ahhhhh, ma-ma-ma. Ohhh-ooooh, oh-oooooh, oooh-owh, ah-ah-ah. La-la ooh-oh, ma-ma-ma

We can't get you to sign for anything except milk and phone, but your behavior on the "phone" reassures us that you are grasping larger concepts. This month, 1.5 weeks after we listed our house with a realtor, the economy started to crumble. As a disturbing form of comic relief, your mommies have thought it hysterical to voice over: SELL, SELL, SELL, SELL EVERYTHING. Whenever you go all "tiny-dictator" on the "phones".

Even though you are not walking, you are getting so mobile and maneuver yourself around quite effectively. You will stand for a few seconds at a time (up to about 30) and maybe a little longer if you are holding something like a ball or toy. Then when you realize that you are not holding on (say when you throw said toy) you get a little panicked look in your eye and bend your knees sinking down to the floor quietly. Not very adventurous a creature just yet.

You still love bathtime, and now stand naked at the side of the tub (with one of us right next to you) you bang on the side of the tub excitedly waiting. As the water runs, you try to find a way to get into the tub. Switching from right to left, you get your legs about 4/5ths of the way up the tub wall and sometimes get your toes just onto the top. You obviously can't get any of the leverage you need to get over the wall. It looks like a twitchy, pudgy gymnast warming up. But if the leg exercises go on too long without one of us putting you into the tub, you eventually look at us and shout: "AAAHHHHHHGH!!" Which seems to mean, "Don't just kneel there, HELP ME GET IN THE MOTHERLOVING TUB!"

As much as you love the tub, you have grown to resist the changing table. We don't know what this is all about as we think we are very gentle and loving towards you when you are on the table. We try to distract you, give you toys, make animal noises, etc. but the sessions nearly always end with you crying and me using a sugary sweet tone to say decidedly sarcastic things like, "I know, hard it must be to have to endure being dressed in this clean, soft, sweet smelling 100% cotton clothing item... you poor thing, the horrifying effects of all this love and affection."

For the most part, you are sleeping throught the night. You wake up and we help you find your binki, but just as it's been since early on, you really seem to understand what the night time if for. Even when we were waking up 2-4 times a night, it was just for a quick something. You never wanted to get up and play, and now is no different- that's what we call a "good baby" someone who seems to "get it". I mean throw a hissy fit every night on the changing table as we change you into the softest sleepers known to mankind, i don't care... but if you were the type of kid that decided 3am was your "playtime with mommies" and I'm not sure we would get along this well...

Twelve months has just whipped by, sweet boy. It has been the most gratifying, satisfying, I wouldn't-trade-all-those-sleepless- nights-for-anything-in-the-world year. We haven't changed because of you as much as become more who we know we were supposed to be since your arrival. Even though this is still new and even though an entire year has disappeared before our eyes, it doesn't seem like there was ever a time when you weren't here. We feel like we've been your mama and your mommy for all of our lives... for all of time.

Happy birthday, JB!
We love you with hearts overflowing.

Your mommies

1 comment:

amber said...

beautifully written, as always.

and, you have managed to make this early mommy stop grieving over this essentially care-free life she lives, and this person that she will be losing while gaining another title, and have made me excited for this next and first year.

you're like therapy in a blog!!

happy 1 year JB!