E. has made some huge developmental leap in the last couple of weeks.
It’s not surprising, as we’re in a wonder week right now. But I think he’s actually made the jump before the wonder week.
It’s just a whole combination of things that make him seem like a radically different baby from the one to whom I was writing a ten month letter less than three weeks ago.
1. He’s pushed back his bedtime. At first we blamed DST, but he’s never changed back, and his naps and morning wakings are all back to normal, so I think he just suddenly needs a bit less sleep at night. He now goes into the crib at 7 pm, and will grizzle and mutter to himself and suck his thumb for anywhere from five to twenty minutes before going to sleep. As a result we’ve started eating dinner at 6 pm, and eating with him, rather than feeding him at 5:30 and then having our dinner once he went to sleep. We were going to do this when he hit the year mark, since we figured at that stage he’d be old enough to survive having the later bedtime, but since he’s done it himself, we figured might as well start. The good side of things is we’re no longer trying to put together a separate meal for him. The downside is now we’re cooking full meals with him underfoot, which is going to require some adjustments and possibly the use of our travel crib as a containment device for when we’re trying to get things out of the oven without him, as Q. says, “french-kissing the baby in the mirror on the oven door”.
2. He stopped nursing during the day. This coincided with a whole bunch of the other changes, so I do wonder if it’s partly a developmental thing. It sucks, but we’re doing well with pumping and using his Rubbermaid flip-top to get him to drink breastmilk during the day, and he’s still usually up twice at night, so he’s definitely getting enough liquids. And I’m starting to see the positive side of having a baby who weans himself entirely by the year mark (I can go places- without him! I can eat whatever I want again!).
3. The babbling started up again with a vengeance. He is really trying to have a conversation with us now, and we think he’s got a sound that is attempting to be “hello”. Still no dadas, although I’m loving the return of mama.
4. He really really gets the idea of interacting with us and works hard to get our attention and make us laugh. He’ll fake cough to get us to fake cough back at him. He’ll put things on his head to try to be funny. He is much faster to giggle and break into belly laughs. He’s signing ‘all done’ at the table. He clearly understands words and simple directions- he will give you something if you point to it and put your hand out. I can see the whole world opening up to him as he realizes he can make his needs and wants known.
5. He has very strong wants (and not-wants). Changing diapers is a challenge as this is a breach of the baby autonomy. He hates having a toy taken away from him. He hates not being allowed to maul our (very tolerant, but even so) cats. He goes MENTAL if we are eating and he’s not. Since he’s realized he can communicate, he gets frustrated when we’re not quick enough to pick up on what he needs.
6. He is better at self-soothing. Thumb sucking now appears when he is tired or frustrated or hurt (I also wonder if this is partly related to the fact he’s no longer getting any suckling time at the breast during the day). He puts himself to sleep for naps and bedtime without anyone being in the room. He’s taking longer and better naps at predictable times (that sentence makes me SO happy). If he wakes up too early he usually just grizzles for a moment and then goes back to sleep. He almost never gets up before 7 am.
7. He plays with his toys differently. You can really see him experimenting with the idea of “in and out” “under and on top” “bigger and smaller”. He is less likely to put things immediately into his mouth (the other day he had a glorious twenty minutes of playing with glossy newsprint and then his father appeared and I proudly said that E. wasn’t eating it, and E. chose THAT EXACT MOMENT to stuff a whole wad into his mouth. Sigh.). He is so mobile- crawls at the speed of light, stands before you can blink, and cruises around the furniture without pausing.
He’s a totally different baby, again. It is amazing and terrifying to see them change.
The second half of the first year is just awesome. Every time I think it can’t be possible, he changes and becomes even more fun. I am just loving our time together right now.