Saturday, October 7, 2006

Monthly Newsletter, Month Thirteen

Dear Nate,

One year old is kicking my butt. You never stop with the joyous happy embracing of life. Your mind is spinning, and it looks like one of my biggest fears is coming true: you're awfully smart. We have a neighbor who, weeks ago, played a game with you where she blew on a leaf and sent it flying and sent you cackling. Yesterday she picked up a leaf and you pursued your lips and blew. Damnit, I was really hoping we wouldn't have to worry about honoring your intelligence and challenging you and all that craziness. Blech.

We spent a week at the beach this month - a few days alone, one with Grandma, and three with Daddy. You love the pool, tolerate the sand, and are really scared of the ocean. I would drive you the three hours each way just for the pleasure of watching you when you are put down on the sand - if you could lift both legs back up, you would. Since you can't, one leg suffices - you look like a little "karate kid." It only takes a few minutes to warm up to it, though, and then you're off and running as usual. It's hard not to push you when it comes to the ocean, but if you're scared we're letting you be. It's not like it happens every day!

Daddy and I are now born-again converts to the McDonald's Playland. We stopped both ways on the trips to the beach, and you were right in the middle of things, as usual. Met your first girlfriend! You are also big enough to ride in the police-car front of the shopping cart. So much of the world is open to you now and I could cry with happiness watching you experience it all. Sometimes I actually do.

Today we built a tower of blocks. You really got it - you put one on top of the other and really pushed it down. You looked darn pleased with himself when it stayed, too!

You love wearing necklaces, and will try to put almost any chain/cord around your neck. You then strut proudly around, chest all puffed out. I hate to break it to you that it's hard to be manly proud while wearing necklaces, but maybe your generation will be different!

You are joyfully, gleefully testing me all the time. When I say "no!" (don't touch the socket / hot stove / poision / tiger) you get quite the gleam in your eyes. You walk immediately back to the tiger, look directly at me, and you touch it again. When I get up to remove you (calmly and in a not-angry-and-also-not-giving-you-attention-to-reward-you way) from the tiger's jaws, you get so excited and happy. Then you go right back to it. You're not audibly giggling the whole time, but he might as well be. I have to work very hard, sometimes turning my face to the ceiling, to make sure that you don't see me smiling.

While you still hate, hate holding hands (if you can't manage to rip your hand out of mine, you go absolutely limp and drop yourself to the ground), you have also gottten quite snuggly. Lots of arms around the neck and laying of heads on shoulders. We're like a romance novel: sometimes you see me across the room and run into my arms. Sometimes you veer off at the last minute to play with a toy that catches your eye.

Yesterday we were out running errands and you started to melt down. I decided that, instead of rushing home, I'd take you out for a bite to eat. We had a late lunch out, just the two of us. We sang along to the oldies, blew through straws at each other (you can blow properly now, instead of just spitting), and had a thoroughly good time.

You are your Daddy's son in one thoroughly entertaining way: you charm the pants off of everyone you meet. Big smiles at the women in the grocery store, tilting your head to flirt. Walking up to strangers on the sidewalk, grinning and yelling "Da da!" You have charisma to spare. Everyone who knows your Daddy will see him in you.

You're still a fabulous eater. Tofu is hit or miss, but almost everything else is still good. It's fun to watch you reject stuff, though - the second it enters your mouth you immediately thrust out your tongue and let the food fall out. No hesitation. No class, either. Someone needs to give you some home training!

We had the first of our crazy hectic moments this month. I was rushing to get out of the house on-time to get you to Grandma's house so I could see a new client (plus it was 9:29 and the car has to be moved by 9:30 to avoid a street-cleaning ticket). I had you all dressed, diaper-bag packed, shoes on, and I noticed a splash of yellow on your hand. I stopped to study you, and saw you chewing on something. What was it? The vial of yellow food coloring. The entire vial of it in your mouth, squirting all over your previously clean face. It's you at your best - blissfully doing what you want to be doing and damn the parking inspectors.

My favorite story for the month may be my favorite story for your whole life. I came in to get you in the morning when you were expecting a bottle, but I came bearing the dreaded sippy cup. You were in no mood for this betrayal. I was holding you on my left hip, and offering the cup with my right hand. You did your sweeping "push it away" move so I moved the cup back over to my right side. You looked at it for a moment and then leaned all the way across my chest to further shove it away from you. You pushed it over and over, further and further. It was truly fabulous.

I really, really enjoyed your babyhood, but now I'm really looking forward to the interaction when we can talk to each other and enjoy things together. I am getting such a kick out of your personality, even when it drives me a little batty - your willfulness, defiance, curiosity, persistence, and your charm. You are you, without hesitation or apology.

I love you.


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