Friday, April 06, 2007

Letter to Swee'pea: 14 months old

Dear Swee’pea:

You are 14 months old today. We are at Grandma and Grandpa’s for the Easter weekend, and Auntie C, Uncle T and Cousin Zee are here too. This is really the first time you have shown more than curiosity about these folks we call family; this weekend you are enthralled with each of them, especially Cousin Zee and Grandpa. Yes, it appears that Grandpa is working the same magic that he has worked on each of your cousins before you. He seems to have a way with babies and near-toddlers like you, and you can’t get enough of his tours, where he shows you fridge magnets and family photos, ceramic cats, goblets that sing when he flicks them with a finger, and other relics from their many travels. When you see him, you raise your arms with a plaintive, “Uhhenh?” And because he’s Grandpa, he can’t resist. As soon as he has you up in his arms, Cousin Zee, not ready to relinquish her position in the family, imitates your please lift me up baby sound, and because he’s Grandpa, he can’t resist. So most of his time in the same room as the two of you is spent with his arms full of 60 pounds of happy near-toddler and pre-schooler.

new point

So much has changed in the past month. Not just in you but in our daily life. I’ve gone back to work three days a week, which sees you in the care of a lovely woman who feeds you well and cuddles you as much as you like, and with new, older friends. You have managed the transition amazingly well, although I should take a teensy bit of the credit because I made sure to make it as gradual as possible and spent weeks introducing you to her and her house before my first day at work.

This new arrangement has enforced a new routine, which I think is good for all of us. It means we have to wake up earlier, which until a few days ago was clearly difficult for you. We’d try to say your name quietly to wake you, but you wouldn’t even stir. Then we’d have to tickle you gently, which would make you squirm in your sleep, and maybe you’d even squeeze your eyes closed and stretch your arms up in protest against the waking world pushing in on your slumber. But finally, after several minutes of reluctant tickling on our parts, you would finally open your eyes, maybe with a noise of protest, maybe not, and eventually you would smile on the world, grab your soother and put it in your mouth, and try to snuggle back into sleep. Much as we would love to snuggle in bed with you, we’d force you to sit up and then take you downstairs to breakfast.

sleeping in the crib
Your first sleep in the crib since August.

In the last few days you have woken up either just before or just after our alarm goes off, finally becoming accustomed to our new hours. Getting up so early and taking only one nap at daycare has required you to go to sleep earlier in the evening, which has brought the added benefit that your daddy and I finally have a couple of tired hours to ourselves at the end of the day, to read, to watch tv, to work on the computer on whatever pursuits we like. Sometimes we even talk to each other or have a cuddle on the couch.

Your sleep patterns also seem to be changing. Now, instead of requiring attention 4 or more times between when you fall asleep and when we go to bed, you may not need any, or maybe just an adult finger to hold as you journey quickly back to sleep. Overnight too, you seem to be growing up. Or at least you’re back to the pattern you had when you were six months old, mostly only waking twice. In fact, the other night was groundbreaking, the first groundbreaking night since that lovely night when you were eight weeks old. This more recent night, you slept from about 7:30, in your crib, until about 2 a.m. Then your dad brought you into the warmth of our bed and you didn’t even nurse, just cuddled your head against me and put your feet against my belly, and you slept until just before the alarm went off. It’s the closest you’ve come to sleeping through the night in your life.

The flip side of these developments is that I’ve begun to have sleep fantasies again, imagining how long you’ll sleep for before we have to get you, wondering if tonight will be the night you sleep all the way through until the morning light, wondering what you will look like in your crib with the light just creeping in, imagining the post I’ll write about it, the emails I’ll send… sometimes I get so excited about the possibility of sleeping through the night that I can’t fall asleep for a while. That happened the night after or the night before your groundbreaking night, I can’t remember which now, and I finally fell asleep around 11 I think. I was pretty disappointed when you woke up at 11:30, then again around 2, then 4 then 6. Nevertheless, the fantasies slip into my mind in those minutes of darkness between going to bed and falling asleep.
Ok, so enough about sleep; let’s get to the good stuff. You’re walking! You took your first courageous steps a few weeks ago, and I was surprised at how excited I was by them, how brave you were throwing your arms up and stepping your feet out. Since then you’ve grown braver and steadier, and just in the last few days it’s been unarguable that you are spending more time on your feet than your hands and knees. Your gait looks kind of lumbering and stiff to me, swinging from side to side, but as unsteady as it may look, you can keep your balance for quite a while, and have learned to control your landings when you reach your destination, coming smoothly down on one knee. Now that you are walking so confidently, I’ve also enjoyed the odd stepping out with you holding my hand, not for balance, not really, but for some bit of security. Holding your hand while you walk me somewhere makes me think that you are all grown up already; you know where you want to go and you’re just taking me along for the ride.

Also in the last few days, you have insisted on grabbing the spoon at some mealtimes, and you surprised and impressed us by dipping it in the yogurt container and then getting it back into your mouth successfully.

Using a spoon 2
I can use a spoon all by myself!

Your aim may be a bit off, and occasionally you put the wrong end in your mouth, but you quickly correct yourself. I guess this is just the start of your ever expanding independence, and we just have to stand back and admire your abilities with amazement at how much you can do for yourself in such a relatively short time. I mean, it’s been just under two years since you weren’t even two cells. That is some mind-bending stuff.

You are OBSESSED with lights. It’s one of the three signs you use regularly, right up there with eat and bath. You admire each and every light you come across, reaching your hand up in its direction and opening and closing your palm with a gleeful grin on your face.

Sign for light

Recently, we have shown you how the light switches work, and you point your pudgy index finger out firmly, and gently push the switch down, then look at the switched-off light with pride at your handiwork. Once or twice you have turned the light on but it’s harder for you to push up, and usually you let us do that once you have sufficiently admired your work. Your desire for this game is endless, and goes far beyond any of our adult attention spans. When we decide to stop, you throw your head back and arch your spine in a backwards C and scream with all your thwarted frustration. So it seems that your redheaded temper may finally be making itself known (not that I know anything about that). So far, though, you are fairly easily distracted from the mini-tantrum, and will become absorbed in putting the lids on and off various plastic containers, or changing the channels on the tv with the remote, or pretending the remote is a phone and putting it up to your ear. All very adorable of course, even the arched back and screeches, because it is an important skill in life to know what you want and how to ask for it.

You have discovered the joy of sitting in chairs like adults, and make your rounds from chair to chair.


Once you get lifted into one, you grin maniacally, then get down and indicate the next chair you would like to sit on, then grin maniacally, and repeat the process until we get sick of it and you arch your back and scream as above.


The last month has been a lot of fun. I have experienced many intense emotions in the last 14 months with you: joy, love, awe, happiness, anxiety, fear, exhaustion, anger, all with an intensity I could never have dreamed possible before your birth. But this month has seen pure, unadulterated fun. Maybe it’s the new sleep, maybe it’s having fewer days to spend with you so those I have are precious and focused, maybe it’s your new skills and level of communications; I don’t know. Whatever it is, I want more.

mona lisa



bubandpie said...

Oh my goodness, that last shot is a winner. Those eyes!

Okay. What was I going to say again? Right. The lights. It's amazing how many baby boys are just obsessed with lights - Bub always has been too, though it took an unfortunate form just before his second birthday - right after we turned the clocks back, he developed a paranoid fear of chandeliers (hanging over the table at both grandparents' houses). I was glad when he recovered from that one, but he's still very demanding about exactly the light levels he prefers.

flutter said...

He is just gorgeous, the hair the eyes, the smile the smooshy red little cheeks.

What a fabulous post I picked to read your blog for the first time.

slouching mom said...

I'm with bubandpie. That last photo made me gasp. Wow.

That's a lovely letter, and Swee'pea is so going to appreciate it later.


Beck said...

What a beautiful, beautiful boy. And what a beautiful letter - you a have a real gift for capturing this moment in time.

NotSoSage said...

My goodness. That last shot. He a kid. Not a baby. Those moments always freak me out.


Mimi said...

Cin, he's getting more and more winsome with every pic you post! And what a wonderful letter, again. Funny: I just finished a post about how it's getting more fun. Maybe it is about going back to work, eh?

Miss Baby's obsessed with ceiling fans. Has been since she coudl see that far.

I can hardly wait for the post where Swee'pea sleeps through the whole night ... fingers crossed.

Mad Hatter said...

I love that his sleeping is becoming more regular. I loved more reading about your sleep fantasies. I will start to fantasize for you as well.

And what, no bib? He uses the spoon by himself and doesn't use a bib? I am flabbergasted by that one.

cinnamon gurl said...

Mad, you busted us on the bib front. Partly we forget, partly he won't tolerate them on the few occasions we've remembered. So we just wait till after breakfast to change him out of pj's and bathe him every night after dinner. So he only goes for about 5 hours with food all over his clothes...

Kyla said...

Wow, great shot!! KayTar is obsessed with lights too. It is all she looked at for maybe the first year of her life. She, too, loves the on and off game.

I am so impressed with Swee'pea! He's doing things that KayTar is just starting or hasn't started yet (ie. self feeding with spoon). I know they are on different schedules, but he is still VERY impressive to me. :) What a big boy!

jen said...

gorgeous. so, so lovely.

isn't sleep amazing? i am so happy to hear you are having such a terrific time.

Carmi said...

You write the loveliest tributes to him, and I can't help but think that when he's older, he'll look back at what you've created and realize how much he was - and is and always will be - loved.

Great parenting comes in many forms. This blog is one of them.

BTW, I finally got off my posterior and updated my blogroll. I added your site - way overdue, I know. Sorry about that!

Aliki2006 said...

I also love that last shot. What a gorgeous kid, what an amazing time of your life with him. Liam was incredibly fascinated with lights--he would drive us crazy asking for them to be on and then off and then on and then off...

Karen said...

Wow, he so sweet... Last time I had a perfect month of fun with one of my kids like that my middle child was 13 months old and I got pregnant. There is a sweet spot somewhere around age one that makes them just magical.

Em said...

What a beautiful letter (as always). I love his sleeping picture... my son was the same when I went back to work... he adjusted to my new routine and all of a sudden he was going to bed at a reasonable hour and I had time to watch a tv show or two (no blogging back then!)

kgirl said...

holy crap, those pictures, but especially the last, are ridiculous.

I love these letters. He's so lucky that you write them.