Sunday, June 11, 2023

Dad Files: Months 11 through 13: Dive Bombing, Windmill Arms, Words, and Introductory Walking

Baby will begin to stand with assistance, pull up on his own, cruise along a table, or walk with you holding his hands. Monitor stairs in the house closely because baby now possesses skills to climb. When holding him, baby will dive bomb by shifting his weight and dropping towards the desired target as he sees people, animals, or things that he wants. At other times, he will maintain a tight koala bear grip on you. 

The use of hands and arms has advanced so that they seem like windmill arms in turning pages on books, pushing you or unwanted food away and grabbing anything of interest in sight. As soon as objects he's playing with lose their appeal, he will promptly throw them on the floor.

With significant army crawling ability, baby will commando his way rapidly across the room, down the hall, or towards the stairs. Of particular focus for the attentive dad is preventing him from eating cat food since his fascination with it results in relentlessly making a bee line for the cat food bowl. It may be related to the relative similar size of Cheerios which is a favorite authorized food. All cats in the house must stay vigilant with his increased mobility in order to stay a step ahead and keep tails safe from curious little hands. If you've not begun baby proofing the house by now, that should become a high priority.

Baby will roll, flip, kick, thrust himself backward, and wiggle while you're trying to change diapers or clothing. You may develop new methods for accomplishing these tasks such as changing a diaper while holding onto baby's leg with him upside down, doing a handstand and pulling on the changing table while playing with a stuffed animal. You may also need to employ jui jitsu and/or judo moves to keep baby positioned so you can complete the necessary diapering and clothing duties.

As baby graduates to table food, lots of fun but messy experiments commence, spaghetti sauce and noodles everywhere, Cheerios or cracker crumbs covering baby and the surrounding floor, crushing watermelon with his bare hands and juice running down his face and all over clothing and table. For those items that he needs assistance eating, it may feel at times like a dinner theater with all the songs, funny noises, and facial expressions used to entertain and get him to open his mouth and eat. In order for you to get adequate nourishment yourself, you may need to employ the baby takes a bite, you take a bite method. At the first birthday, there will be the obligatory smash cake with baby crushing the cake and smearing icing all over himself, clothing, you, and generally anything within reach. As fun as the pictures can be, limiting baby's sugar intake is wise.

With his new teeth, seven at the moment, also comes the need for brushing them. This is another fun adventure as baby tries to lick or eat the toothpaste but with practice and a steady hand you can eventually get a version of clean teeth accompanied by a few sips of water.

From a new words perspective, baby will call most things "da" or "ah da di" despite efforts to the contrary by his mother. On rare occasions, he may say "ma ma." Other words include "ki ki" for kitty, occasionally "hi" or "hey," and "ba" which can refer to other objects or people. 

Baby's greater awareness of the world, who you are, and the existence of strangers will bring with it separation anxiety when you drop him off at day care. It can crush your heart to hear him cry as you hand him off or set him down and then leave the room. Most of the time, he'll be fine in a couple minutes and it's nothing that a handful of Cheerios can't solve from a caring day care provider. On the other side, reunification can be heart warming and really fun as baby recognizes and is excited to see you.

At the one year pediatrician checkup, the doctor said we'd filled out our full merit badge for illnesses over the past year including RSV, Covid, a new cold or cough on average every two weeks, 10 ear infections, and hand, foot and mouth. As a candidate for tubes, we decided to move forward with that recently and it seems to have made a big improvement especially from a crawling and walking skills perspective. 

You go through a lot with baby in a year both positive and challenging and it can be easy in the moment to forget that you're both making a lot of progress. When you're out and and about, you'll see other parents with babies that are younger than yours and you'll feel a certain kinship with them and also a growing bit of confidence of a seasoned veteran.

Story, singing, and prayer time each night becomes a special tradition and closes out a day nicely as you hand him off to God to watch over during the night.

In pursuit of His best,


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