Here you are, thirteen months old -- you're now squarely in your second year of life, and you're making the most of it.
As I predicted in your eleven-month letter, you are indeed not only walking, but walking well, and often, and with great gusto. When we reach out to take your hand while you toddle around, you frequently stop short, pull in your arms close to your chest (making you look like a tyrannosaurus rex) to avoid contact with us, and grunt, as if to say, "Um, I've GOT it, thanks." In the last six weeks or so since you took your first steps, you've progressed quickly to not only tee-tottering around, but stopping without falling over, changing direction, walking while carrying objects of various dimension and mass, stepping over toys on the floor, and even running a few steps when you're really charged up. With each step, your dad and I can see that your confidence is growing just as your balance and coordination improve, and as usual, our hearts swell with pride to watch you master such big-boy skills.
With your enhanced motor skills have also come language skills. These days, your most frequent utterance is, "What's this?" In your unique language, it sounds more like, "Wah-zis?" You punctuate the question with vague but urgent multi-fingered pointing, and since we can rarely tell what you're actually indicating, I'm certain we've told you the names of things you couldn't care less about ("That? That's a bottle of low-sodium soy sauce, son. SOY SAUCE. Mommy doesn't like to wake up after a dinner of fried rice with her rings too tight. Oh, wait -- you probably wanted these Cheerios ..."). Other things you're saying regularly (that make sense) include the sounds a dog, cow and duck make (woo-woo, booooo and ack-ack, respectively), the sound a car makes (confusingly for some, also woo-woo, since you can't get out all the consonants for "vroom-vroom" yet), the words, "hi," "ma-ma," "da-da," "nye-nye" for night-night, "um" for when you want a snack or meal, and the word "uh-oh," probably because you hear that one all day long, since you're constantly falling over, dropping things or pitching toys into hard-to-reach places in the family room. The things you're saying that DON'T make sense comprise a list nearly as long, and they include the utterances, "gogoly," "oh-buh-dee," "bob-chick," and "cockly." We have no idea what any of those mean, but they've become part of our strange family pidgin just the same.
Not all of your rapidly-expanding language skills are spoken, however. You have been great about signing "more" for months now, and lately you've added a few other signs, such as those for "please," and "all done." It's so gratifying to be able to communicate with you more reliably, and your dad and I are delighted you've taken so well to the signing.
(Here you are modeling a family hand-me-down. To me, you look like a tiny, disgruntled Chinese waiter. Where's your other sock, by the way?)
You enjoyed not one, or two, but THREE birthday parties in honor of your first birthday, son. The first was with your cousin and your buddy, both of whom are just four months younger than you are. (Their mommies were there, too, of course.) The video at the bottom of this post is from that impromptu party. The second was on the night of your birthday and brought your mom's extended family together not just for your big day, but for the Asian New Year, as well. It was a late night for you, but you handled it beautifully. The third was your official party, with your grandparents, aunts and uncles and a few family friends. The pictures below are from that party. Your dad and I really thought you'd relish the chance to dive into your first cupcake, all by yourself, but we were wrong. You really weren't all too interested in the frosting or cake. (Are you sure you're my child? Because that's foreign to me.)
One of the challenges that we've tackled now that you're a year old (and then some) is night weaning. I'm finally ready to admit that there's no real reason you need those milky snacks in the wee hours anymore, so about a week and a half ago, I started to pick you up when you cried at night, but not nurse you -- instead, we sit in the rocking chair in your room and just rock until you've calmed down and fallen back asleep. I won't go so far as to say it's going well -- there are some rough nights, and some rough periods most nights, as a matter of fact -- but on the whole, you've accepted the change better than I'd thought you would. I'm hoping to be able to say next month that we've made some strides in the right direction with your night-time sleep -- once you're used to not nursing anymore, then it'll be time to start lowering you into that crib when you're less and less asleep, to get you used to falling asleep without me at all. I shudder to think of how long this process might actually take, but we'll get through it, buddy. Hearing you protest (loudly) is hard on me when comfort is near at hand, but this is the right thing to do in the long run, son, and at least I can cuddle and soothe you while you cry. For the record, I'm sorry it's hard for you, but I find solace in the fact that you'll never remember any of the tears later. I, however, will remember not only your tears, but my own.
So son, here's to the fantastic voyage you've taken us on already, and to the journey ahead. And someday when you view these posts, maybe you can take a peek at this video and tell me what the HECK you were talking about.
I love you,