12 months. 1 year. 365 days.
We have celebrated another milestone. Topics for posts are swirling in my head as I think of all that a year of parenting has entailed. This post will focus on KLC’s developments and temperament at 12 months, and I hope to add another post or two with general reflections on our year together.
So, what has changed? She seems to be different in every possible category in one short month! Her language development has sped ahead, and she now points and says a whole list of recognizable words. Until now, she seemed to be developing language with a gradual-but-normal pace while her motor skills milestones were on the early end of the schedules on parenting sites. I’ve probably said this before, but I have found the milestones charts rather interesting to read as an analytical person and a first-time parent. I never took a childhood development class, so they are my primer on what to expect in a baby’s first year. On the other hand, parenting sites can certainly increase a new parent’s anxiety about a host of issues, which has been true for me as well at times, but the balance for me has been positive.
Back to the topic at hand: what have KLC’s first words been?
- Hi!/Bye!: I’m officially calling “hi” her first word. Cousin G was here when she started saying her version of the word, which sounds more like “eye,” all the time. Now she says “eye!” every time she hears the gate or front door opening and when playing “phone” with her toy cell phone or remote control or a raisin box.
- Ball: what a great early word. Balls are everywhere, and she is constantly desiring to interact with us by playing catch. She pointed at the Christmas tree and said, “bah! bah!,” and I started to correct her but realized, “oh, yep. Christmas ornaments. Balls.”
- Book: “buh” the “b” words are clearly KLC’s favorites, and she gets excited for “buh” time before naps and at night (as long as she isn’t too tired and protesting the injustice of having to go to sleep).
- Tree: “tee” she loves them! Good thing we live here in the Bahamas and have trees full of leaves! Her utmost delight of the past few weeks has been riding on daddy’s shoulders and waving her arms at the palm branches above her while laughing hysterically and walking down the road.
- Bird: “buhr” constantly when we’re outside. She even spotted a butterfly 50 feet away that I could barely see. Good eyes, babycakes.
- Boat: “boh” we live on the harbor. Also constant outdoor entertainment.
- Plane: I can’t remember exactly how she says this, but it’s quite obvious what she means. She says her word, pointing emphatically at the sky and throwing her head back looking for the plane. Except sometimes it’s a leaf blower.
- What/who is it?: “whoosit?” this is the funniest. She has this composite phrase that she uses like a question when she’s playing, and it seems like she’s asking us what something is or who it is. She’s been using it consistently for a solid week, or I almost wouldn’t believe it.
Notably missing from the list are “daddy” and “mama.” She’s not really too interested in us, I suppose. She has used the “duh” sound around T quite a bit, and has said “mamamamama” several times, but she doesn’t use them directly in context like she does with “bah” and the other words. She’s never pointed at me and said, “mama.” There have been other words that she has seemed to mimic like “all done” and “up,” but nothing has been consistent.
Not be left behind by language development, the OTHER biggest development of the month has been….HER FIRST STEPS. She took 3 steps towards me 6 days before her 1st birthday. I cried. I am not much of a crier, but it was a sweet and long-awaited moment. She was a crawler for almost 6 months before she added walking to her repertoire.
She hasn’t walked since those first steps, and we’re fine with her developing at her own pace. I shouldn’t have been anxious about her walking given how active and physical she has been for her whole life, but I was starting to have some anxious thoughts. It seems to be somewhat of a cultural thing here in the Bahamas to encourage and expect early walking. In fact, one of the ladies who works in the kitchen at T’s office attempted to give her walking lessons when T was watching her outside yesterday and then called her “lazy” when she sat down repeatedly. I’m glad I wasn’t there because second-hand it’s a funny story. In person, I may have let her words bother me more than they should have.
The last developmental category I will mention is her emotional development. It seems that we have gained a toddler and a toddler’s emotional outbursts a little early on the curve. She now screams (these are no baby squeals), throws her head back, and cries much more easily. Her discontent is still at a manageable level, and it is also seems related to our rapid succession of visitors. It’s rough getting used to independent play time after weeks of being held and played with non-stop! Hardly anyone else sees these behaviors since she is always happy to have people around doting on her. It’s the “I want to be held, dinner be d@#ned” times when we’re home alone that are most challenging. One way we’re attempting to soothe her is to minimize the amount of toys and electronic stimulation she has out and available. We’re rotating toys and even books that are out as we see what catches her interest.
KLC’s sleep has been blessedly less up-and-down lately, though naps are still a challenge most days. We are now waking her up from her morning nap to try to preserve an afternoon nap (which helps reduce the outbursts mentioned above). The strategy works so/so, but, again, it’s tough to be consistent with our happy stream of visitors in a small space. KLC is so social that if she thinks she’s missing something, a nap is the furthest thing from her mind. This morning what worked was having T and our visitor NW go throw the frisbee outside for 15 minutes around the time she needed to wind down.
We haven’t measured her length recently, but she weighed in at 19 lbs 11 oz on the baby scale just now, fully clothed. She also has her 8th tooth, which gives her the complete front four on top and bottom. As you can see in the picture, her hair is in no hurry to fill out. Between her father and myself, though, we’re pretty sure she’s got a full head of hair on the way and have been told to be grateful that we don’t have to help her deal with heavy, sticky hair at this age in such a hot climate.
This month, we have a lot to look forward to once again! We have a 1 day visit from college friends G&C as they stop over on a cruise on the 20th, and our C family will arrive on Christmas day for a week-long visit. Experiencing Christmas with KLC as a one-year-old this year is a blessing as is learning how Bahamian culture embraces Christmas (the answer: whole-heartedly). We are excited to experience our first Junkanoo celebration in the wee hours of the morning on December 26th.
Wow, you guys, sorry this is so long. I’ll close out this post by asking: should I continue the giraffe baby posts? Perhaps I will in an abbreviated form. Or maybe once a quarter? Or come up with a new way to measure her year-by-year? I enjoy chronicling her development here, but the posts are getting a little long and wordy. Time will tell.