Today marks the completion of your eleventh month with us. Eleven months! This makes you almost a year old, and you know what? You’re acting like it. You look, act, and sound more and more like a little boy, and today, dressed in your church jeans and a polo shirt, with your rather blond hair casually falling to the side, I sighed a little sigh of resignation for your babyness.
But resignation or not, these are exciting times for your little brain. I’d say the word that describes you best lately is aware. You are aware of what is familiar in your world, and you are increasingly aware of the smallest details, like those pebbles on our welcome mat that simply must be explored with your mouth. You are constantly seeing things across the room, and making this caveman-like grunt of excitement, which we interpret to mean, “I want that now!” You’ll be sleepy and relaxed after our naptime books, head resting against my shoulder, and your eye will catch the lamb on your shelf, or the hatted bear your Aunt Jean gave you, and you grunt, and happily hug it and take it into your crib with you, where you ram your face into its softness. Not unlike a dog circling its sleeping mat, you have this little ritual after I lay you down. You dive headfirst, then sit up, throw your Bruce, or your lamb, dive, sit up, throw. I leave before the ritual’s over, but it always makes me laugh.
A common pose for you this month has been, arm fully outstretched, pointer finger extended, as you look out the window, across the room, or up at the light fixture (you’re totally obsessed with lights, on or off). You point, and typically say a very forcefully aspirated “mmmmmbbbbbbaaaah!” or “mmmmbbbbeeee,” which you manage to get out only after some intense concentration gets your pursed lips in the right position. B is your consonant of choice; and for many days of this month, you were calling eveyrthing “mmmmmBEEKah.” Everything. We think you gravitate towards B because of your beloved buses. On April 20 and 21st, you sort of said your first word, and I called what it would be: bus. Several times, as you stared out the window, you said, “mmmbbbeee.” We kept repeating “busssssss” and then you did it! And for most of the day, when you would see a bus, you’d get out a “mmmbbeees” or a “mmmbbbiiis.” Pretty close.
It totally thrills us that you’re trying to talk, and we clap with delight at your every effort. And you understand so, so much. Give me a kiss, hug your dad, high five, arms up, look! You do it all, and what’s more, on April 26, we were looking at your First 100 Words book, and I said, “Where’s the dog?” And you pointed…to the dog. I almost passed out I was so excited, and your little hands clapped along with my oohs and ahhs as you pointed to the baby, the cow, the ball. I showed your Dad the next day, and we both kind of freaked out.
We’re so excited for you to talk, even though, when you do, our house will be filled with an outside voice at all times we think. Owen, several people this month have commented on how loud your go-to volume is, and they’re right. Happy or sad, excited or bored, you speak at recess-level decibels…Lord, help your kindergarten teacher.
This past month has held an unseasonable amount of snow, and despite my always-wishes for warmer weather, we made the most of some really beautiful snow-capped mornings. I strapped you in the baby hiking pack (which we’re both loving), and trekked out to take some pictures, always stopping to let you grunt at the Baker’s Wife cow statue and pet its nose. Your Grandma and Grandpa Kurtz visited, and you spent even more time outside, sitting on the front steps, soaking up some sun and taking in some buses with you Grandpa Joe, taking a walk with me and your Grandma Pam, stopping for the swings, which you gleefully and literally sang your excitement about. Your dad and I are always talking about how you “must be a Kurtz” with your happiness at being outside; your little legs even kick with enthusiasm when I open the front door to get the mail. I love it and can’t wait to spend this coming summer outside with you!
You continue to be a baby on the move, and you crawl so fast sometimes that you get ahead of yourself and faceplant. You often do this in your race to get to me, to pull yourself up on my legs as I stand doing dishes, or cooking, sometimes content just to be near me, more often squealing at me in your attempt to understand why I won’t pick you up with my flour-dusted hands. More and more, you walk along the furniture, and once in awhile, you’ll even turn from the ottoman towards me and take a step/fall as you lunge towards me. The point is, you’re not afraid to fall, and you’re getting more and more solid on those roly-poly legs. I keep saying I think you’ll walk soon…maybe this next month will be it?
You’re still loving on your books, which pleases me to no end. You’ve even started grabbing one – usually Smile with its smiling-baby filled pages – clunkily crawling it over to me, and throwing it in my lap, happy and content, when I pull you up to join it and read it to you 3-5 times. You make this subtle laugh/grunt at pages you think are funny – like at the end of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom or at the zookeeper’s wife’s surprised eyes in Goodnight, Gorilla – but you’ve also started spazzing out when you see something you recognize, like a cow or a dog , on a page, regardless of its irrelevance to the plot line.
Aware, aware, aware. You are so aware of the world these days, Owen Schmaugs, and the best part is, you love it. You are enthusiastic about life, and my prayer lately has been that the Lord will give us great wisdom in guiding that enthusiasm towards good. That He will be the fuel for your passion in life, and that all of your strength and excitement will be spent on that which is eternally worthwhile.
You, your grunts, and your kicky legs of happiness are my favorite.
Things you love: being outside, putting everything in your mouth, your hatted bear, your lamb, Bruce, the swings at the park, music, your guitar, buses, trucks, cars, dogs, the Baker’s Wife cow, most food, feeding yourself, clementines, crawling, the big blue exercise ball, baths, bath toys, running water of any kind, visitors, other kids, the open refrigerator door, throwing tupperware all over the floor, opening and closing doors, standing, walking behind your pushcart, chewing on dried aprictos in your mesh “feeder” ring, car rides, the nursery, books, fruit smoothies, when your dad comes home, balls, looking out the window
Things you hate: when you’re stuck behind a baby gate, getting your diaper changed, getting your clothes changed, coming inside, the end of bath time, when I won’t pick you up right away, getting in the carseat, when we won’t get out of bed in the morning but keep trying to entertain you…in the bed…to no avail, when we pull you away from window watching, when you’ve thrown your cup on the floor and we don’t give it back, being hAngry,
A moment I don’t want to forget: During this past month, your dad and I were sitting at the dinner table, and you were making all sorts of noise. Your dad said, “I think this boy has ze passion.” (ze passion is an expression that we took from a TV Show in which a Latina chef would consider whether or not the contestants had ze passion or not). The moment after he said that, you let out this high and impassioned grunt-squeal. Ze Passion indeed.
I’ve been wanting to capture the more ordinary moments of our life lately…so the other day, I took a picture an hour to document what our days look like around here…so one picture between 7:00-8:00 a.m., one between 8:00-9:00, and so on until we crashed into our beds that night. These pictures were taken on Thursday, April 18. Welcome to the hjemsted.
12:00 p.m. This could also be a picture of every hour, every day. ;/
“When you focus on what you don’t have or on situations that displease you, your mind also becomes darkened…You look for what is wrong and refuse to enjoy life until that is ‘fixed.’” – Sarah Young, Jesus Calling
A mind darkened by an obsession with what is not is incapable of walking in the light. And so here, on this quiet Saturday morning in early April, is a short list of things for which I am thankful.
1. The sun that streams through the windows of this house.
2. The way Owen pants with excitement…about me, his dad, buses, and most everything these days.
3. Eric’s enjoyment of his work at Dashe & Thompson.
4. Washing machines.
5. The ability to read.
6. Spontaneously given open-mouthed kisses from Owen.
7. Cooking, and the ability to practice creativity therein.
8. That Eric and I laugh about the same things.
9. For parents who are still married.
10. For friends who know me and speak words of Life into me.
11. For family members who love my son.
12. Coffee + cookies.
13. The promise of spring as heard in returning sandhill cranes, as seen in my backyard’s robin, as felt in spongey grass.
14. This blog post.
15. That we were able to have a baby.
16. That the love of God is unconditional.
17. That lilacs exist.
18. That I can stay home and witness the ever-changing Owen.
20. That “He will who began a good work in me will carry it out to completion.”
That is all.
You are ten months old now, putting you at just two months shy of a full year old. This is somewhat incomprehensible to me. Your dad and I are always saying how fun you are right now…you take such great pleasure in the smallest of things; you love us more than anything, and your face explodes into a four-toothed smile when we walk into a room. This is very affirming, and we’d like you to stay like this always.
You are a baby on the go. From the minute you wake up and we pull you into bed, fruitlessly trying to convince you to be still and cuddle with us for just fifteen more minutes, you are ready for action. You are crawling around and over us, your lumpy-mountain parents, sitting up, making blubber lips and clapping before we can even open the blinds. You are the world’s happiest alarm clock. We take you out to the living room, and you are head-first into your toy bin, pulling each one out, crawling from one end of the house to the other, pulling yourself to standing on the couch, the ottomans, the walls, the dining room table, stopping only to let your hair blow in our floor-vents and be picked up for twenty seconds at a time. You seem to be moments away from walking; just this past week, you started walking, zombie-like, behind your rolling pushcart, very, very pleased with yourself. And you can even go from one side of the ottoman to the other, teeny tiny tentative steps, in an effort to get to that moment’s object of your heart’s desire…you know, like a smartphone.
On March 8, you started eyeing the steps. You got up three of them, your dad cheering you on, before you gave up. But the very next day, you made it up the entire set of steps…hand, hand, knee, foot, foot…with me right behind you, but all on your own. We looked down at your visiting Grandma Pam, and you snorted with excitement.
We had a really sweet time with your Grandma Pam while your dad was away for work. It was while she visited that you really got the hang of waving hi and saying a sort of greeting: “aaaaaaaaaaii.” You even initiate the waving exchange sometimes, and you truly seem to enjoy other people. You practically hyperventilated when your friend Ellie Buller came to visit and woke up from her nap, and you are now handing out high fives like it’s your job. You’ll give me (and mostly only me) kisses and hugs on command, but once or twice, you’ve just reached up and given me the wettest open-mouthed kiss of your own volition, and each time, I’ve practically melted into a puddle on the floor with happiness. (To their credit, you also kiss the characters in your books each and every time we read them…the bear finger puppet in In My Den is stiff with the effects of your after-every-page kisses). You have really started to love reading, and in a motion very un-Owenlike, you even settle back and relax against me while reading sometimes, in a way that reminds me of why I’m so glad I get to be your mom.
You have discovered your voice this past month, Owen Augs, and our house is filled with the sounds of it. You sing along with your noise-making toys, and your little booty bounces up and down in a prequel to dancing. You’ve got rhythm, kid, and you clap as often as you remember that you can. You started the month by learning how to make that “Indian” sound that comes out when you repeatedly hit your hand over your mouth. You thought it was so funny. When we would do it, you would thrust your face towards our hands, so you could do it too…only sometimes you’d forget to make a sound. Thanks to your dad, that sound quickly evolved into your beloved blubber lips, which you now constantly make by doing sort of a backwards wave on your lips. You’ll even start doing it but then pull our hands towards your mouth to do it faster, and then continue like this for at least a minute. It’s your newest party trick, and we’ll show everyone who will watch.
You have also learned that guitars make sounds – even louder sound than your own mouth – and you delight in this. You will beeline for your dad’s guitar, and the best part of your day is when he comes home and sits you on the bed with him, while he plays and lets you strum / pound on the wood along with his playing and singing. When it’s just me and you at home, there’s a lot of open strumming and tonal pounding, but mostly you just love the noise. Lately, whether I’m pulling you away from that (you know, because your palms are bright red) or away from your bus-watching at the window, you’ve begun to throw mini back-arcingh tantrums, wherein you kick your legs like an angry dolphin and screech like a baby pterodactyl. It is not my favorite.
You still love watching traffic out the window, and a couple of weeks ago, it was !40 degrees! but sunny, and we sat out on our front steps, you bundled up next time like a baby kangaroo, and we watched cars go by for a good twenty minutes. You were mostly in it for the buses, panting each time one went by; I was mostly in it for the cuddles. It made me excited for spring.
This past month, we lost your Great Grandpa Ole and traveled to Fargo to attend his funeral. Mostly, you just crawled great distances along the entryway of the funeral home, but my prayer is that you can, in some ways, grow into the kind of man he was: a hard-working farmer who still knew how to twirl his little girls around in a playful two-step to the tune of one his hummed songs. It made me tear up to hear that one of his favorite songs was You are My Sunshine because I sing that to you all the time.
Owen, we are so glad that you are the baby that we got. That it’s you that we’re going to get to watch grow up. And that we get to live with you.
I am so, so thankful for you, Babyloo.
Things You Love: blubber lips, guitar, hurtling our tupperware all over the kitchen floor, standing, walking behind your walker, seeing your mom or dad, waving hi, reading books (Smile, Peek-A-Boo, In My Den, I Love You Through and Through, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom), baths, running water, walks outside, sleeping in your car seat, mashed potatoes, clementines, bananas, drinking water from a zippy cup, Bruce, your little brown teddy bear, clapping, baby Einstein puppets, your owl puppet who plays the best peek-a-boo, crawling around with your squeaky Sophie who lets us know, at all times, where you are, ice cream, putting all sorts of non-food items into your mouth
Things You Hate: when I have to retrieve a non-food item from your mouth to keep you from chocking, diaper changes, leaving your window-watching, leaving the guitar, when we take away your sippy cup, winter hats, mittens, getting bundled up in a coat, when we try to put shoes on you, getting dressed and undressed