Lucky Thirteen

Dear Baby Ike,

First, even though you are now a near-expert in the art and science of toddling, I declare that I will continue to call you Baby Ike (Toddler Ike really has no ring to it, sadly) for as long as I can get away with it.  I’ll try not to use it too often just to get under your skin when you’re a teenager, but I will never say never.  It’s fun to imagine you at thirteen years of age, but for now you are thirteen months, as of last week two weeks ago.  I do hope to continue writing you these letters, though it will probably happen with less frequency as you continue to get older.

So yes, you are definitely becoming more of a toddler and less of a baby every day.  You walk unassisted from one end of the house to the other in the most charming tiny-drunk-person fashion I’ve ever seen (bias:  showing).  You would much prefer to feed yourself than let us spoon things into your mouth, though you will still occasionally tolerate apples(auce), because they are your long-standing favorite. Sweet potatoes and carrots, though, have been shunned, and we do need to work harder at continually offering green vegetables, lest you end up as picky as your father.  You have been introduced to cows’ milk, and are taking to it just fine from what I can tell.  You do continue to nurse, and I am so happy that we made it to the one year mark and beyond, but I am bracing myself for the day when you’ll decide you’re done.  I am in no hurry, only hoping it will be a gradual process and I’ll continue to be able to appreciate the quiet moments we’ve had throughout our nursing relationship as it winds down.  I’m sure I’ll be sad when it’s over, but I’m hopeful we’ll find plenty of new ways to share closeness and cuddles.

I am pretty sure that you attempted to say the word “apple” (AAHH-BUH) the other day, along with “ball” (BAH) and “book” (BUH).  I still have no idea what “MEEE-NU” means, but I can at least surmise that it must be lots of fun for you to say and play around with variations on the theme; we hear it and things that sound almost like it an awful lot.  Most, if not all, of the animals that you see are declared “DOGGIN!” and you eye me with suspicion when I tell you that they are actually sheep or horses or cats, not doggies.  You may be earning yourself a new nickname with that tendency; your Uncle Mike pretty much just calls you Doggen.  I die of cute when I hear this.

Last Friday we (Grandma and ‘Aunt’ Jen and I) took you to the Columbus zoo.  Of course you fell asleep just before we arrived, so in order to let you try to get a decent nap we ended up clicking your car seat into the stroller as if you were a teeny-tiny still, rather than wake you up to put you directly into the stroller.  This was not the best configuration for you to see much, so there was much lifting you out to see the animals and luckily I had also brought a mei tai carrier, so we alternated between the two all day.  You were pretty much a champ all day long; we didn’t leave until around five pm, and you crashed hard in the car on the way home.  Hopefully next year we can go back while the larger animals like the giraffes and elephants are there, or maybe to The Wilds where they apparently were that day.

In the carrier at the zoo

Your top two teeth are finally starting to work their way in.  These two are being a bit rougher on you than the first bottom two were.  It seems like most babies your age have several more already, so I’m not sure whether to be grateful that yours are spacing their arrivals out more, or worried that you’ll end up losing them slowly, too, like I did as a kid, and some will end up needing to be pulled in order to put braces on adult teeth coming in behind the baby teeth that won’t want to fall out.  We have a long time before that will become clear, though, so for now I just hope that additional teeth will help you want to explore more foods (you really may turn into a Cheer.io, I fear). All I know for sure is that your smile is about to be even cuter, though I wouldn’t have ever thought it possible.  I am still completely in love with your dimple and I get ridiculously excited when I manage to capture it in a photo.  On Sunday we took you to a local park for more baby swing action and also let you play around on some of the playground equipment as there were hardly any other kids around. As we stood at the edges of the platforms to make sure you didn’t toddle right off, it was hard yet fun to imagine that you’ll soon be stomping around and climbing and jumping and we won’t always need to be right there next to you while you explore.

It’s so fun getting glimpses of the world through your eyes.

Love,

Mama

(photo credits to ‘Aunt’ Jen for the above shots)

Bonus Instagram playground pics: