Today you are 11 months old. Let's not even discuss the fact that this means that next month you'll be a year old, because I still can't believe it.
This has been a huge month for you in terms of gross motor skills. Something clicked in your head about pulling up to standing, and now you do it constantly. You don't so much pull as you casually brace yourself to stand up. When I walk in the room you will crawl over to me as fast as you can, place your hand on my shin, and stand up. You've also figured out how to sit back down again by squatting, kneeling, or lowering yourself down the bars of your crib. You can bend over to pick up a toy and stand back up, and you're just on the verge of cruising--sometimes you shuffle along your play yard while holding on with both hands. You've been letting go while standing more and more recently, and can stand unassisted sometimes for 10-15 seconds. Sometimes you even clap your hands while standing up.
You are becoming more and more social, too. When we hold out our hands and ask you for the toy you're giving us, you will happily hand it to us. You love to imitate the sounds that we make, and you imitate sounds that other kids make too. We went to dinner with friends one night, and their toddler shrieked so loudly that everyone else in the restaurant turned to look. Then two seconds later you emitted a pitch-perfect version of the same shriek, so similar that at first I thought it was our friend's kid making the same noise again. Luckily the restaurant wasn't crowded at all. Your nanny takes you to the playground regularly, and you've gone from crying when other babies touched you to pushing back when you get pushed. You are definitely figuring out how socializing works.
You're incredibly chatty. You say "mama," and it seems more and more like you mean me when you say it, though I'm still not convinced enough to declare it your first official word. You babble nonstop, and it really sounds like you think you're talking. You understand a lot of words--I can think of at least 20, and I'm sure there are more that you understand that I'm not aware of. You will imitate us when we say "doggie" or "daddy," but you haven't yet said those words independently. You also try to wave, though you use both hands to do it and usually end up clapping instead.
You love toys. You're also really into lift-the-flap books at the moment, and can happily lift the flap over and over again, though we have to be careful when you do it so that you don't accidentally rip the flap right off. You also turn the pages of your books, making it hard for us to actually read them to you. You can focus on books for a very long time, though, and will deliberately and thoroughly look through your books one page at a time, examining each one thoroughly before moving on to the next. You will play with your toys for a long time, and then you will occupy yourself by tossing them all away, over the play yard or the side of your crib. You try to stack everything, and will nest your buckets in each other by size. It is amazing to see you starting to learn how to use toys as intended, rather than just banging them together. In music class you know how to use the drum, the jingle bells, and the xylophone. If I put a hat on your head you will then take it off and put it back on over and over again.
You're still growing--you gained about half a pound this month after a couple months of no gain at all, and now weigh just over 28 pounds. We are moving more and more away from purees, especially now that you try to grab the spoon when we feed you and do it yourself. You have a great talent for finger foods by now, and though quite a bit of food still ends up on the floor when you feed yourself, by now you actually manage to consume a fair amount of food when you eat. You love everything we eat and many things we don't even like. Favorites include pickles, tomatoes, cucumbers, chicken nuggets, noodles, and rice cakes.
You are still sleeping fantastically. Even on vacation, you sleep 12 hours at night and take a 2-3 hour nap during the day. We love your sleep schedule and although we've learned by now that nothing ever lasts, we are hoping that you stick with this particular routine for awhile, at least.
Speaking of vacation, we're in Florida right now, headed to North Carolina shortly, and you are a fantastic traveler. We were lucky enough to end up next to the only empty seat on the plane on the flight to Miami, so you flew in your car seat and slept for three hours on the plane. You are not incredibly impressed with the cold ocean water, but enjoy splashing in the pool, and even when you tipped off the pool steps and fell face first into the cold water, you didn't even cry. And you really like playing in the sand. Your laid-back personality lends itself well to traveling, and we really appreciate being able to mess with your schedule without getting punished for it later. I'm sure at some point that will change, but we're enjoying it while it lasts.
You are still the sweetest, mellowest, most fun baby I've ever met. You have seemingly boundless energy, which can be exhausting, but it's worth it to watch you explore and laugh and interact with your world more and more every day. 2011 has been the year of you, and certainly the best year of our lives as a result. We are looking forward to many more amazing years with you.
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