Twelve Months: That's One in Weasel Years

Dear Miriam,

One year old! We are amazed; we don't know how we all got here, but we know this has been the shortest year of our lives.

A few days before your birthday, your Dad began singing the Happy Birthday song to you, and by the second or third occurrence, it made you smile and clap your hands. When we sang it to you yesterday, you wore an ear-to-ear grin, and the same today (it's your birthday weekend, after all). You'll hear it once more tomorrow at your City College play class, and then I guess you'll wonder where it's gone.

Your party was a wonderful gathering of family and a few close friends -- yours and ours. Your grandmas knocked themselves out with brioche and aram sandwiches, your auntie and tante rounded out the table with salads, and your Aunt S. made the most gorgeous chocolate cake. Turns out you take after your Dad: you went after the frosting with gusto and picked at the cake itself. It was your first dose of real sugar, and when we pulled it away wondering if you'd ever sleep again, you combed your tray for the remaining crumbs and frosting smears.

This month has dragged, for a number of reasons, but the time with you has been stellar. You are regularly imitating words now, you have little or no recall and your struggle to consistently form words makes it plain that you don't yet have the motor skills to talk, but you give it a good shot, repeating Hi, okay, up, down, car and even birthday. Cat is still the one word you initiate and you have complete command of: you recognize cats, pictures of cats, drawings of cats and even rather abstract cartoons. You can spot a cat drawing from across the room, and announce Yudi's appearance on the landing at every meal.

You also call dogs cats, which Robert encourages while I repeat Dog, dog, dog over and over (unless, it's a small dog, in which case I feel you're entitled to your opinion).

Speaking of dogs, I've been working on signing with you. We finally purchased a DVD, because I am hopeless at remembering the signs from the book, and can't seem to use them consistently in context. The DVD starts with cat, and it's clear you don't see the point. But you perk up for dog. The sign involves patting your hip, like you're calling a dog, and the first time you watched it on the DVD, then watched me do it, you leaned over and patted my hip, very satisfied.

The DVD has demonstrated that you are a kid on the go. We rarely put you in front of the TV, and it turns out you have about 10 minutes of patience for it before you'd rather wander the room or manipulate the remote. I am simultaneously proud of you and afraid.

You have lots of patience for other things, though. You play on your own quite well, letting us know when you want some interaction by crawling up to us with an object to share or hurling yourself against your baby gate, Attica-style. You love your play tables, your tambourine, and almost anything that makes noise. Your eyes lit up excitedly when we opened a gift that contained two egg-shaped maraca-like toys.

Turns out you recognized them from your music class, which you started this week. You continue to love music, you bounce to the beat, and sometimes rock and clap. The moment the music comes on in the morning, you're dancing, and if you hear music when we're out and about you respond.

Food, on the other hand, has become less exciting. This month brought your first chaat, dim sum, papaya salad and dill pickle, all of which you enjoyed, but as your fondness for self-feeding grows, so shrinks the variety in your diet. You are all about tangerines, peas and the recently discovered cheese toast. At the end of a meal, you will often try what we're eating, but not until you've exhausted your patience for picking at the foods on your tray. I resist the impulse to prepare seventeen different things for you, in the hope you'll like and enjoy variety. I try to keep in mind your ped's advice: it's not about the meal, or the day, concentrate on the week. And over the week you seem to balance out your food groups, even though there's less variety than I'd like.

You're also experimenting with cruising. No, not boys, silly, walking. You are extremely careful and deliberate, you take no chances. You are most successful on round structures like a friend's coffee table and a go-round at the park, and for one insane moment I thought about getting you a round coffee table. You'll walk when you're ready, until then you're a terror on the stairs, both up and down, and when we remind you to turn around on the descent, you do so! My heart brimmed with pride and recognition when you turned yourself around on the edge of our bed -- right concept, but not quite the right setting.

Being able to climb stairs has opened up the park for you. Yesterday we visited with a true posse: Aunt Ellie was in town for your birthday, and we traipsed in with Gma S and Auntie D in tow. You giggled wildly on the swing, then your Dad put you on the stairs on the climbing structure. You were slow and careful the first time, but then you raced up and around and down the slide enthusiastically. You reached for the slide again and again, so that we had to be mindful of the other kids' turns. We are learning park etiquette.

Miriam, I could go on and on, you surprise us every day and we go to sleep thinking about your latest conquest, discovery or expression. You make us laugh and kvell, and when we thought about what could have happened when you took a fall at the library, even cry. You continue to change our life, wonderfully.

All my love,


At 24.1.06, Blogger Roasted Squid said...

Hey there. I just want to give you a shout out. I'm too much of a wuss to confront you directly about your miscarriage, but I do want to let you know that I've read your blog and I'm so sorry. It must have been devastating. But the up side, we really enjoyed celebrating MZ's birthday! Thanks for inviting us! Little guy had a fabulous time!!! It's been amazing to watch her grow up.


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