Eleven Months: Stella

Stella turned eleven months old on Saturday, which means at this time next month Wes and I will be the parents to a one-year old. But that’s still 29 days away and we’re still here:

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We’re still enjoying 11 months, even though it means more independence. Stella is back to crib naps and even though I get so much done during those naps (laundry! vacuuming! showering!), there is a spot on my chest where she fits perfectly and it is so lonely without her there. There is intermittent snuggling and just when I think she’s ready to sleep something catches her attention and she wriggles out of my arms to explore.

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And there is so much for an 11-month old to explore: the dog door, the dog house, the entertainment center, the laundry room. Nothing goes unnoticed and everything must be touched and, if possible, put in her mouth to fully understand the world around her.

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She is starting to make sounds that resemble words. I have a t-shirt with a panda bear on it and the first time she saw it she kept pointing to that panda bear. She couldn’t get enough of it. I said, “Do you see the panda bear?” and she responded with “pa ba”. Her mind is working overtime to learn everything there is to learn.

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We have a toy Octopus and the point of this game is to put the ball in one of the tentacles and then find it among five shoes. Just last week, after many attempts on our part to get her interested in it, she started putting the ball in the tentacle and lifting up shoes to find it. Sometimes it will come out of the green shoe three times in a row and then it’s tricky to get her to look under any of the other shoes because her mind is telling her that it’s got to be under the green one because it was the last three times, and even though she came to the wrong conclusion I’m ridiculously proud that she can reach a conclusion at all. And then I ask her to look under the other shoes until she finds it and we do it all over again. There is a lot of repetition to our days.

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Her four top teeth are coming in slowly but surely. With six teeth she’s able to eat more things and in larger sizes. Instead of tearing up pieces of bread I can give her a larger piece to hold in her hand and she’ll bite the pieces off. Sometimes Tsunami manages to steal it before she finishes, but we’re working on that. DSCN0161She loves to take the coffee table bumpers off and the smile on her face when she gets it off is maybe worth having to spend all afternoon putting them back on: “Oh my gosh. Did you see that? I just pulled that off with my bare hands!” No matter how many times Wes and I tell her no, she just keeps doing it. Like I said, life is very repetitious these days. 
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The big thing this month was walking. She had been taking a few steps here and there, though they were more controlled falls between two objets. Now she takes a few seconds to center herself and look at where she wants to go before taking off. Some steps are more graceful than others, and sometimes it’s more falling than walking (like a cartoon character running off a cliff) but you can tell that she’s getting more deliberate in her movements. She’s trying to do it on her own rather than counting on me or Wes to hold her up, even though we gladly would.

 

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This independence is amazing, but that spot on my chest feels a little empty with each step she takes.

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