The Professor and I were talking the other day about whether we've had a favorite age so far. Was Roman cuter/more fun/easier when he was a newborn, or a five month old, or an eight month old? Looking back over the monthly updates, we realized that each age has had its advantages and its drawbacks. He was pretty easy as a newborn since all he did was eat and sleep but he pooped 20 times a day and held me captive by needing to nurse around the clock. His current age is so much fun in certain respects. He has an amazing laugh, he invents games to play with us, he says funny things accidentally (I'm pretty sure the other day he said "cowabunga". What a great first word don't you think?) and he can play independently. But the challenges of this age are that he has become his own little person and he wants to exert his individuality and have a say in things like what he eats, whether he should nap, and when diaper changes should happen (preferably never!). I'm reminded every day that he is not a little baby anymore. I've got a toddler. Egad!
Here are some more things we've learned about him in his eleventh month:
To my little one,
You can wave and clap. Sort of. It turns out that the wiggly hand/arm thing you were doing last month was your effort to wave "hello". But you haven't quite managed to copy the way that we wave to you. Instead, you do this jerky hand movement that kind of looks like a mix between a salute and a "wax on, wax off" thing (that's a Karate Kid reference for you younger folk). You've also learned how to clap and you've learned that clapping is not supposed to be scary (remember this?). What you haven't learned yet is WHEN to clap. Sometimes we ask you, "Roman, can you say 'mama'?" and you grin from ear to ear and begin clapping.
You know how to stand up all by yourself! You did this for the first time when you were around nine months old. Your baba joon and I were talking and you were playing by yourself. Next thing we knew, you were standing in the middle of the room so we knew that you hadn't pulled yourself up using anything around you. But after that one time, I guess you forgot how you did it. So your papa didn't believe that you had done it and thought that I must have imagined it. But a few weeks ago, you did it again. And again and again. Now you've even begun taking a few steps forward before you collapse on your bottom. And man do you fall hard on your bottom! I always wince when you fall but you're so tough you never react. And amazingly, your butt is bruise-free!
Every time you acquire a new skill (sitting up, crawling, standing) you feel the need to practice it all the time. And I mean ALL the time. Long gone are the days when I could change your diaper in a combat-free way. You used to lay down obediently and let me do my job. Now you're halfway off the changing pad the second I turn around. You want to be on your stomach. No, you want to stand up. No, you want to grab a toy across the room. The same thing goes for bath time which has now become a two person job. You even wake up in the middle of the night to practice your standing. We know this because you come crashing down on us at least a few times a night.
You always know when we mess up. And you find it hysterical. Every time we drop something, spill something or bump into something, you start laughing your head off. It's like you've been conditioned to laugh at the words "Oops!", "Oh no!" or "Ow!" We're also trying to stop cursing in front of you but it's not going that well because cursing is such an instinctual response to messing up. So every time one of us accidentally lets one slip in front of you, we look at you guiltily and there you are-- totally cracking up.
You've become very particular about what you eat. You used to be an excellent, incredibly enthusiastic eater. You would eat whatever we ate. But this past month and a half, you either reject foods outright (by throwing them on the floor or using your hands to block your mouth) or you put the food in your mouth and then spit it back out again. I'm not really sure what this is about. I try to present you with a bunch of options in case it's a texture thing or a color thing. But sometimes, no matter what I put in front of you it's going to end up on the floor. The only things you never turn down are breadsticks, cheese, Greek yogurt, and any fresh fruit. I'm not too worried about it because you're still breastfed. But it is pretty frustrating for your papa and I. We're kind of hoping this is just a phase.
We started sleep training you. We've been back and forth and back and forth over whether this was the right decision (surely something that felt so wrong couldn't be right?) but friends and family and our pediatrician encouraged us to stick with it. And it is TOUGH! It's been exactly like this scene from Mad About You. Our first attempt was a bit of a disaster and we gave up after four nights (you cried for 2.5 hours that last night). But we gave it a break for two weeks and then started again. We're now on day six and tonight you only cried for 2 minutes before you fell asleep. It seems we're making progress! I know that by the time you read this you won't remember how upset you were when you cried for mama and papa and we didn't come to you. But I'll never forget your cries. They're tattooed in my heart.
That's all for this month my little chickpea.
P.S. Here's last month's update in case you missed it.
(Photo of Roman by Giulia Duch)