Dear Owen: a letter at eleven months

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.owen-swing

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.

Love,
Your Mom

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.

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