My brain has been in full force party planning mode for Eliana's first birthday a lot lately, so I knew intellectually that she has been getting closer and closer to being a one-year old. But it still took me by surprise when she reached 11 months old a few days ago. Every other month, as fast as it went, I always knew it was coming at least a few days in advance and reminded myself to have her onesie sticker out and to be sure to get her weight and length at the Mommy-Baby clinic where we go to Mommy & Me classes. This month came out of nowhere though. I got used to her being ten months old as if she was just going to slow down and stay there for a while.
But instead she just keeps growing up. Something that is so amazing and rewarding to witness and be a part of that I will forgive her for leaving her oh so precious infant stage. Because each day she really is less and less an infant and more and more a toddler. Every day she learns something new or improves a skill. Seeing her discover or share these new things is just about the most exciting thing in the universe. She now has a vocabulary of about 17 signs and can not only perform the sign when we ask her how to say "monkey" but she can also open and close her hands to specifically ask for a book before bed. It is amazing to see that comprehension and to communicate about her world. I think the most amazing of signing moment of the month happened when we were feeding ducks for the first time at the park. I showed her the sign for duck, which she was excited to repeat and then told her to say hi to the ducks. She then proceeded to look at each individual duck, wave to it and then sign the word "duck". She was literally saying "hi, duck!" I was and still am amazed.
And it doesn't stop at sign communication. I am officially calling her first words this month. Yes, she has been babbling for a while and making all of the requisite "muh muh muhs" and da da das" but it hasn't seemed like she truly had these sounds tied to anyone or anything specific. She hasn't really said them in a way that seemed intended to communicate. But then came a new game that she couldn't help but cheer for. I was teaching her to put her colored balls "into" the toy they come with. She had loved taking things out for a while but hadn't discovered the opposite action yet. She paid close attention to my instruction and guidance and then finally when I asked if she could put the green ball into the bucket she did it completely unassisted. She was so proud that she immediately burst into applause and yelled "Yay!" Not as a repetition or random sound but as the word itself, on her own, unprompted and to let me know she was happy. And she has kept saying it as well as noises for milk, Mommy, Daddy, hi, bye, and all done. She never stops amazing me though and I have a feeling she is trying to say more words that we just aren't catching on to yet.
She is also becoming much more mobile and as her tenth month came to an end she learned to sit herself up from laying on her back or tummy and it has become a favorite new skill to use, especially when she should be sleeping but would rather not. And sitting alone usually isn't exciting enough. Whenever possible she pulls herself up onto her knees and puts a foot out like she's trying to figure out how to get to her feet. She hasn't gotten farther than that yet, but her new found abilities have nevertheless finally forced us to lower her crib. Yes believe it or not, it was on the newborn height until the day she reached 11 months. Mobility has just never been her greatest interest but now with these new skills and her always improving inchworm crawl, the days of having my baby stay in one place are gone forever. The inchworm crawl is crazy adorable by the way. She doesn't get her knees under her but she still gets to where she wants to go by slithering and shimmying through the room, and she gets there pretty fast.
And that's the theme of this month, of this whole year really: fast. My Snow Pea is growing up so fast! This time last year Chad and I were anxiously wondering when our baby girl would make her debut, wondering what she would look like, whose eyes she'd have, what would make her smile, how her laugh would sound. The past eleven months have been an amazing journey of discovering all of those answers and getting to know her personality is so much fun that I am almost ready to accept that that she really is a toddler and not a baby. But with only one month left until she is officially a year old, I am not quite ready yet. So I am going to take each day slowly and savor every second I have with her as my sweet baby.