GULP. I only have a month to prepare myself for you turning one, Judah William. It seems impossible - surely just yesterday I was on bedrest hoping to keep you inside for a few more weeks, and yet it was a whole year ago. A year ago last night I actually spent several hours in the hospital (for the second time since 30 weeks) with an IV and shots of Terbutaline trying to get the contractions to stop. Little did I know that in just one month I would finally lay eyes on you! I loved LOVED being pregnant with you, feeling your little body move inside me and having you with me day and night. As overjoyed as I was when you were born, there was a part of me that wished I was still pregnant and could do it all over again - watch you grow inside me, and give birth to you over again - it just went so quickly. I feel the same about these past eleven months. I've loved every single second, and I just want to go back and relive it all and watch you grow again from a teeny newborn to a walking, talking almost one-year-old. I suppose that's why I've taken so many pictures and videos. I love to relive all those moments. And yet I know that time marches on and you will keep growing and I will keep loving every moment. I am filled with such wonder watching you figure this world out.
Eleven months old:
Yes, that would be the lens cap you're chewing on.
You wouldn't stop trying to crawl off the chair until I gave it to you.
Found a replacement for the lens cap...
The scrunchy-faced grin. Favorite!
This was after I took the lens cap away.
"Seriously mom, these stupid keys?! I want the lens cap!"
You crack me up... you don't take a paci but sometimes you'll grab one and chew on it for ages.
How big you are:
We didn't have a pediatrician appointment this month, but according to our home scale you are around 24 lbs! You are wearing some 9 month stuff still (mostly sleepers) because you are short, but you are also wearing 12 and 18 month stuff. You tend to outgrow things by width rather than length :) 12/18 month pants fit you best around the waist but are way too long for you so we have to roll them up. It's pretty cute :)
You hair is still strawberry blonde, and you have the prettiest blue eyes I've ever seen. Your cheeks are chubby and rosy, you have a round little button nose, and perfect rosebud lips. You're pretty much the cutest thing I've ever laid eyes one :)
What you LOVE:
Music - You love to listen to music - it always gets a reaction from you, whether it's just a smile or full-out dancing. One of your Christmas presents was a little keyboard with it's own microphone, and you LOVE to sing along with the recorded songs into the microphone. You also got a drum with drumsticks, a tambourine, bells, a maraca, and egg shakers... they are all your favorite toys to play with. You drag the drumsticks around the house and bang them on everything :)
Bath time - Always a favorite time of day! You like to have the tap on and play with the running water.
Wheels - You love any kind of wheels... on cars, strollers, your toy cars and trains, your push walker... you love to push your toy cars around the room, stopping to examine and spin the wheels frequently. You also love to push your toy cars under the couch and then yell for momma to come rescue them :)
Walking - You just LOVE to walk, it's really kind of funny... you are so chuffed with yourself, you will just literally walk gleefully around the house in circles just because you can.
Being tickled - Recently you have become REALLY ticklish... you just screech with laughter especially when we tickle your chubby little thighs!
You love to play with Daddy and Momma (more on that below)... you will yell for our attention, or walk up to us and tug on our legs, or drag a book or a toy over to us. How can we say no to that?!
What you don't like:
Diaper or clothes changes. You roll and arch and squirm to get away, and you are getting so STRONG! Changing a poopy diaper is a two-person ordeal to keep you still.
You're not always a big fan of being in your highchair... either we have to keep you distracted so you'll eat, or the food has to be something you REALLY like! And you have to be in a good mood to eat solid foods, otherwise it's hopeless. You have gotten better this month, though (more below).
What you've been up to this month:
First Christmas and New Years - Well you had your first Christmas this month, and it was perfect! Momma was definitely way more excited about it than you were... I could hardly wait for you to wake up on Christmas morning. You were pretty excited about all your new toys once we helped you open them :) You kept bouncing from one toy to the next!
We went up to Columbia to spend New Years with the Boyds, and we all had such fun watching you and Caden play together and toddle around!
Walking - You took your first wobbly steps at 9 and 3/4's months old, and over the past month you have gradually become more steady and confident. You are a very measured little boy - you like to have things practiced and perfect. Over the past couple weeks you have really taken off walking after a month of steady, careful practice - I've hardly seen you crawl recently. You're getting fast, too! You can stand up just by pushing off the ground, you can stop, stand still, change directions, bend down to pick something up and stand up again, keep walking...you've got this walking thing figured out! You are even starting to run!
Talking - You are really learning to communicate this month. You use different tones and inflections and sounds to get across what you want. You have a specific softer singing voice and you're learning to sing with different pitches to make a "song". Your jabberings are sounding more and more like real words.
Words - mama, dada, bye-bye, uh-oh, no-no. You also say "ga-ga" for "all done"... not sure why, haha.
Baby signs - You do the "milk" sign when you want to nurse. You do the "all done" sign (while saying "ga-ga") when you're done eating, or done with something that you're bored with/tired of. We are working on the "bath time" and "light" signs, since those are two things you love.
Personality - you become more of your own little person every month. You've developed this scrunchy-faced cheeky grin recently, and you KNOW it's cute. You flash it when you know you're in trouble. You're fairly intense and studious in the way you go about things, but you are also so fun-loving and delightful to play with. Your attention span and patience always amazes me - you will keep at something until you get it... but you also love to get excited and run around in circles and dance to music.
Playing - You are a pro at entertaining yourself with your toys. You are very studious and intent with whatever you are doing. When we get down and play with you, one your favorite things to do is to play hide-and-seek - you will go and "hide" and wait for us to "find" you. You could be sitting in the middle of the floor "hiding" in plain sight, but you just think it's so funny when we "find" you. Your favorite hiding place is behind the recliner in the living room. You love to crawl behind there while momma says "where's Judah gone?" and then you pop out the other side with a big grin and a squeal like "here I am!". You also love to play chase with Daddy, who pretends to be a lion. You love for us to read books to you too - you have an almost endless attention span for reading or being read to.
You've been doing this cute thing recently where you will drag something around the house with you all day long. Some days it's one of your drumsticks, the other day it was a little baggie with crackers in it, and one of your favorite things to drag around is a small item of clothing or a paper towel. If you drop it or leave it behind by accident, you come running back to pick it up and take it with you.
You are becoming very coordinated and developing excellent fine motor control - you can put together pieces from your sorting/nesting/stacking cone. I'm especially impressed that you can thread the smallest pole into the next biggest pole - that takes a lot of patience and fine motor control. If I direct you with what to do next each step, you can put the whole cone together!
Other things you do now: You love to clap (started at 6 months)... You also love to wave "hi" and "bye-bye" (started at 7 months). About a month ago you started giving us "high-fives" when we ask for them :) Daddy also taught you the "awawawa" thing where you make the "aaaaaa" noise while repeatedly putting your hand over your mouth = "awawawawa".... it's pretty cute. You point at things! If you want something you point at it and yell, or if you want me to tell you what it is you point and say "eh? eh?". You've started trying to say animal sounds - "woof woof" and "meow" and "quack quack" are the ones we're working on right now... because we see a lot of dogs and cats and ducks :)
Eating - You have become much better about eating solid foods this past month. You really like pizza, so I make you little "pizza toasts" often for lunch or dinner - I make my own pizza sauce and spread it on some toast and sprinkle some cheese on top and put them under the broiler. You LOVE bananas. Your favorite snack are the Happy Babies organic cheese-kale-broccoli corn puffs. You have oatmeal cereal mixed with yogurt for breakfast, and often right before bed too. You also love to suck down food pouches, which I order on Amazon prime and have shipped right to our door. Our favorite food pouch brands are Peter Rabbit Organics, Ella's Kitchen, and Plum Organics. You favorite pouch combos are [sweet potato, corn, and apple] and [spinach, peas, and apple]. You also love fruit smoothie pouches - especially ones with berries.
So breakfast = cereal or oatmeal with yogurt and some fruit (mostly bananas), lunch = food pouch/or pizza toast/or whatever momma is eating, and often some corn puffs and fruit, dinner = whatever momma and daddy are eating/or a food pouch, and then a fruit smoothie pouch for dessert. Before bed you get some more cereal with yogurt, mainly in an effort to fill you up so you won't wake up as much to nurse at night. You still wake up 2 or 3 times, though. And you nurse often throughout the day too.
Sleeping - We started some sleeping training with you on Jan. 4th. You are just not good at going to sleep or staying asleep at night! I always said I would NEVER do any sort of crying-it-out sleep training, because it breaks my heart and who knows how it would affect you. But after lots of talks with friends/parents etc., and trying to rack our brains to come up with any alternatives, we knew that we would have to let you cry a little.
Before, you would nurse to sleep around 9pm, and go in your crib. Usually by 10pm you would wake up again, and Daddy would have to rock you back to sleep. Then by midnight you would wake up again, and have to be nursed back to sleep... and then again around 2am, 4-5am, and 7-8am. So usually by midnight or 2am I just brought you to bed with us. But none of us were sleeping well like that - I am very aware of you and wakeful when you are in bed with us, and will often be forced into odd and awkward positions to accommodate you so you won't wake up! So that equals poor sleep for me. And Daddy is crammed into one little strip of the bed because together we take up too much room, and if you are in the middle, your thrashing and tossing and turning wake him up. And he is always afraid of rolling over you so he doesn't sleep soundly. And you tend to wake even more often when you are in bed with us. So it was just bad sleep all round, really. And the other thing was that you had to be COMPLETELY and TOTALLY fast asleep for us to put you down in your crib otherwise you would wake up and stand up and cry for us. Some nights it would literally take hours for you to go to sleep in your crib because you would wake up the second we put you down. Enter the big bad "sleep training" ...
Goal #1 was to get you to fall asleep on your own. So we started a night time routine, most of which we had already been doing, but this one involved NOT nursing you to sleep. Bath, nursing, story, prayers, songs, lullaby CD and giraffe sound machine on (also known as giraffey), hugs and kisses. And then we lay you down in your crib still awake.
The first night I wanted Daddy to stay in the room with you so you knew you were not alone. Turns out, that made you even MORE mad than when we were hiding right outside your door, because you could see Daddy and he could see you and you were like "WHY ARE YOU NOT PICKING ME UP?!". If we hid outside your door you would settle down much faster.
We do it like this: For the first 10 minutes, we go in every 2.5 minutes to comfort you. Sometimes pick you up and snuggle, sometimes just lay you down and pat your bottom, depending on how worked up you are. The next 15 minutes, we go in every 3 minutes to comfort you. The next 20 minutes, we go in every 4 minutes to comfort you. I said my limit would be 5 minutes leaving you alone while you were crying, but we never had to go that long. On the first night you fell asleep on the very last 4-minute interval. We sat outside your door with a timer on Daddy's phone the whole time. It took about an hour total with all the in between comfortings. There might have been a few tears on Momma's part. The thing is, though, I could tell that your crying was angry crying. You were full of milk, had a clean diaper, warm PJ's and a soothing atmosphere. You were just mad that we weren't holding you. That doesn't really make it any easier to listen to you cry, but I knew that there was nothing wrong. If I ever hear that you are sad or hurting/uncomfortable in any way, I pick you up and comfort you. But mostly you are just mad :)
The second night it took half an hour for you to settle down. The same for your naps during the day. The third day & night it took about 15 minutes to settle for naps and bedtime. The fourth day it was 10 minutes. We had a little bit of a regression on nights 5 and 6 and it took longer for you to settle... I was worried that it was all over! But on day 7 you fell asleep for your naps and bedtime with hardly a peep. We are all sleeping deeper and better, and you always wake up happy as can be in the mornings :) You still wake up between 2 and 3 times at night to nurse (around 12-1am, 3-4am, 6-7am, and then up for the day at 9am). But in between times, you sleep soundly and so do we. Our next step is to wean you from some night time feedings... we've tried a couple times, but each time you would fuss and cry for an hour or two while Daddy rocked you before we gave up and I nursed you. So we're not sure how to approach that one.
Well that's some of you at eleven months, Judah William! There is no way I could remember to write down everything because there is just so much that is amazing about you... You are the greatest joy in our lives. We can't believe it's been almost a year... fastest year of our lives.
We love you so much, Judah William! It's been so amazing to see you respond more to us, and in your own little way you show us that you love us too. When you climb into my lap and snuggle into me and nuzzle your face in my neck, or when Daddy gets home and you run on your fat little legs towards him, squealing until he picks you up. As much as I like your nap times and bed time for the time it gives me to get things done or hang out with Daddy, I miss you when you're sleeping and I'm always excited when you wake up in the morning or after your naps (maybe not so much when you wake up at 2am, but I still cherish it!)... so we can snuggle and play and laugh at your antics. You are just the best. thing. ever.