Eleven months

Another great month and–poof–we almost have a one-year-old son!

Looking back, this month was thematically dominated by movement: Hudson started walking at the end of his ninth month and was unstoppable in his tenth. He’s so fast now; sometimes he’s practically running back and forth in our apartment. He is pretty good at falling on his bottom or catching himself on his hands, but he still occasionally ends up with mystery bruises here and there from tripping (as he often does). He rarely cries over a spill (or if so, only for a moment), so he’s a pretty tough little guy.

He likes to carry something while he’s walking to and fro: At home it’s likely to be a tiny plastic duck (by Kid O, intended for the bath). At the playground it’s likely to be a leaf, or something less savory like a piece of trash. Now that it’s water-balloon season, he seeks remnants of the brightly colored choking hazards wherever possible. Fortunately, he’s more likely to pick up these things and toddle about while holding them high than he is to stick them in his mouth. But every now and then he decides to test our observatory skills.

It’s fun, actually, to watch him performing all manner of tests. I recall reading once that children are the best scientists–asking questions, making hypotheses, and repeatedly testing them with experiments. When he does want to chew on something, like a box we keep his diapers in or one of my shoes I’ve naively left out, I might see this scenario: he puts his mouth on it and then looks at me inquisitively; I say “no, not food” and maybe add “blech” for emphasis; he moves his mouth down to it over and over and over but each time he seems to pause just as he’s making contact to see if I’ll say “no” again. After somewhere between five or ten tries, he stops and moves on, seemingly content to decide that the answer will not change and that he doesn’t want to put whatever it was in his mouth again. “What will happen if…?” is the question I imagine he’s asking most often.

Still, there are a few tests–of will, more likely–that he is not so quick to give up on. We have  a piece of tape demarcating our bed area/bathroom from the living/dining area and he’s not supposed to cross that line. He clearly knows this and he tests that boundary almost daily. Sometimes he stops there and then turns around. Other times he looks back and then makes a run for it. And on some days, he lies on his belly at the line, reaches across it, and pats the floor on the other side. Or he’ll intentionally toss a toy to the other side. He has tried pulling up the tape while staring at me defiantly, and one day he walked over to it and started grunting. What’s consistent is that he is not giving up. Maybe one day the answer will be different and he can go play with the cords by the side of the bed? “What will happen if…?”

We finally installed child-safety locks on our cabinets. With no handles or knobs on the sideboards, he hadn’t been interested in opening its doors. But now that walking is becoming less the goal and more the process, he’s newly curious about the seams and ridges in the wood and has figured out how to open everything up. I found myself saying “no” more often than I ‘d like and so the locks on all but the one housing his books make it easier to say “yes.”

Saying “yes” as often as possible so that “no” is reserved for situations where it matters is one of my goals, particularly as Hudson’s opinions are getting stronger and he seems to be saying no himself: “na, na, na, na.” Some of his strongest opinions involve when and how he would prefer diaper-changing to go–which is to say that I think he’d prefer never, and if possible while he stands up? He wants to touch everything, he doesn’t like laying down, and on at least two occasions I believe he threw an actual fit! He was kicking his legs, bucking, howling, and remained inconsolable for minutes following. I was worried the neighbors were going to knock and make sure I wasn’t endangering him. How is this thing, which he has been doing every day, at least four times a day, suddenly the worst. thing. ever!? I got nervous and rushed over to the library to check out a parenting book about “Your One-Year-Old: Fun-Loving and Fussy.” Fortunately, he’s truely more the former…

The weather is turning warmer and we’re spending more days outside and fewer on the library-story-hour circuit (which I have loved and am grateful for). It’s not entirely the weather that’s changing our routine, however: Hudson’s naps are sliding back and making it hard for us to make it to the 11:30 readings. He now naps twice, at 9:30 and 2:30 or 3pm–usually for 1-1/2 to 2 hours at a time. We have also had to say goodbye to our Wednesday afternoon sing-alongs at the Y; Nathan, our beloved troubadour, is off for the summer and the meet-ups are now at 3pm. I think it might be time to bring home a tambourine? But it sure has been nice to get out onto the lawns at the parks again. And while I’ll surely eat my words later, it seems easier to spend an afternoon at the park the more mobile Hudson gets.

At the end of May, we took Hudson on a trip to St. Martin for a week. He was great on the plane, sleeping for at least half of each leg; we only walked him up and down the aisle once or twice. He was much more into the waves and sand on this trip than he was in St. Lucia, and it was so much fun to see him splashing and crawling around at the water’s edge. However, on our second to last day, he seemed sort of sad and overwhelmed and we found that he had his first real fever–103! Luckily it came down with Tylenol and he was better the next day. We’re still not sure what made him sick, but it was so heartbreaking! He clearly wanted to play but was also so depleted–such a conflicted little guy.

This month brought us Hudson’s first words. He clearly, discriminately said “Dada” once when Aron came home, and he said “mama” while we were on vacation in St. Martin. His sounds also now include “T” and “n,” and we’re pretty sure he says “duck” but it sounds a lot like when he says “dog.” Dogs are one of the most exciting things out in the world right now–or at least as far as I can tell. He squeals or grunts (his “hello”) whenever he sees one (often to the dog’s dismay) and will whip his head around if you say “Look Hudson, a dog!” He clearly knows what to look for and then will repeat over and over “DAH! Dah! Dah!” We actually caught him mouthing “woof” when we were taking these photos. Saying “woof” will often make him smile. He’s getting better at waving and clapping when prompted, and mimics bird calls so well sometimes that it’s uncanny!

He has a sweet and silly little sense of humor: he plays peek-a-boo (sometimes by grabbing my hand and putting it over his eyes), laughs at coughs and sneezes, and enjoys just about anything that’s obviously a game. He tries to make friends with other little ones on the playground–he like to try and share his toys or little wet bits of his food–but he is often over-zealous and scares them off. Bigger kids, moreover, don’t really want him around and tend to do things that scare him off.

He eats a boat-load of berries every day (lucky kid) and I don’t think he’d stop eating them if it weren’t for portioning. We have started letting him practice with a spoon, but while he has pretty good aim with a full spoon I think we’re a ways off from his feeding himself with anything but his fingers. We eat out with him a lot, and have started going out more often in the time before his first nap, between 7 and 9, for breakfast or play. Those quiet mornings on the city’s usually busy avenues are frequently some of my favorite walks of the week.

We–not surprisingly–continue to be over-the-moon about this baby boy. Some nights we even do ridiculous things like look at videos of him after he has finally gone to sleep because we miss him! It’s both thrilling and a little bittersweet to see him growing up so fast. In some instants we can see the little boy he is becoming, but then we’ll rest a hand on his back and feel that it spans the whole width. Cuddled up in our arms, he’s still our little baby.

[See all monthly photos and updates here.]

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