In case your Friday needs more “babies”

Dear Mac,

You are now 18 months old.  Instead of months, I can just say you are a year and a half.  This is actually easier for me in Italian because numbers 16 – 19 trip me up occasionally.  (Unrelated, “quindici” or 15 is one of my favorite words in Italian.  I don’t claim to know why.  But I love it.)

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Happy birthday to Mac!

Guess who still refuses to crawl and is now one year old??



Mac had a pretty swell birthday.  I mean, he didn’t tell me he enjoyed it or anything, but I think he had a good time.  Recap on birthday numero uno below.  Or just watch this video.  It covers just about everything.  Thanks Google+!

Mac woke up early so I didn’t get to run in and terrorize him with the birthday song, as per tradition.  (For his recent birthday, James delighted in being awoken from a peaceful slumber with my phone pressed to his head blaring the birthday song.  What can I say?  We make birthdays special ’round here.)  I did get to play Mac the song while he was sitting on the kitchen floor.  At first, he was all “why are you guys just staring at me” but then he started his signature Mac dance bob.

Mac was fortunate to be able to celebrate with his grandparents.  We took pics with the birthday banner.

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Not our best family photo

Not our best family photo

Mac opened presents from thoughtful relatives, godparents, and friends.  Henry “helped.”

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We went on a birthday adventure.  We took the subway for the first time to St. Paul Outside the Walls.  Stunning and huge.  More on this one later.

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And the main event:  cake!  James made a chocolate cake with homemade frosting and a separate smash cake for the birthday boy.

He went for it.  Instantly.  No hesitation.  Fistfuls of cake straight into his mouth.  Like to the point I almost worried about needing to take it because he was eating so much cake.  As if taking cake from a chocolate-covered cake demon would ever be advisable.


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They were some of the happiest moments of his young life.  Sadly, the high was followed by a definite low, as cleanup was inevitable.  Mac howled while he took a shower, but I think he’d tell you it was worth it.

P.S.  Want to relive the epic Mac saga? Mac at 4 months, 5 months, 6 months, 8 months, 9 months, 10 months, and 11 months.

Wut up

You can't resist the squish

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You should probably just start walking already

Dear Mac,

You are 11 months old.  WHOA.  That’s all I have to say about that.  Moving on.

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Moving is actually the name of the game for you these days.  You want to be on your feet!  You want to be walking!  You have places to go and people to see and things to put in your mouth!  You still can’t do any of this unassisted, but it doesn’t stop you.  You just reach out your hands and expect your entourage to enable you.  (They frequently do.)

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You have zero interest in crawling.  You will flop all the way forward, rotate 360 degrees, or “walk” a few steps and plop before you will even think about making a crawling motion.  Instead, you have cultivated some pretty aggressive pointing.  That.  That, woman.  Bring me THAT.  I try not to cave, but . . .

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You have also become a lot more demanding.  What happened to my easygoing baby??  Now, you generally cry if I try to leave the room.  Whether this is because you miss me or because I can’t hold your hands to help you walk when I’m gone, I am unsure.  But we are talking piercing shrieks that turn your face red.  Screams the likes of which you have NEVER before uttered.  This turnabout is a little shocking.

I get it.  You’re frustrated.  I’m frustrated too.  I know you can’t move how you want to, and it is driving you bonkers.  I feel bad that I’m frustrated.  You were low key for months; who am I to complain now?  You’ve just thrown a curve ball.  I’m still trying to catch up.  I never thought I’d encourage having a mobile baby, but you should probably just start walking.  Or crawling.  Or SOMETHING already.  I think we’ll all be happier.

I'll keep you in the carrier until I fall over though

I’ll keep you in the carrier until I fall over though

I doubt walking would help on bathtime though.  Here, you have just flipped a switch and decided you hate it.  You scream throughout your entire bath.  Whether sitting up or sitting in your chair, sitting with your brother or alone, being offered toys or not.  Everything is awful.  I’m hoping we can come to some kind of understanding on this.  Bathing is not optional.  I promise, we’re not even doing it every day!  (The usual routine is Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday.)

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Big doings though on the sleep front.  Something has clicked this month, and you are generally sleeping through the night.  w00t!  (Furiously knocks on wood.)  Sometimes you have a nighttime, uh, movement that awakens you, but I don’t think there is anything we can do about that.  Sometimes you wake up early and sing to yourself.  It is pretty adorable.

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This is not new, but I’m not sure I’ve covered your usual sleep positioning here.  We call your sleep “move,” kissing the bicep.  You curl one arm up to your head and turn your head towards it.  But not until you’ve done the pacifier shuffle.  You sleep with four pacifiers, and I have no idea why, but the first thing you do after being laid down is to spit your current pacifier, grope for new ones and replace.  Weirdo.

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I’ll be curious to see your new stats at your upcoming doctor’s appointment.  You’ve slowed down a little on your food adventuresomeness, but you are still huge.  I tend not to fully credit your hugeness because I see you next to a two year old every day, but you’re a chunk.  Your favorite food is probably banana.  It makes your eyes light up in a way that is endearing and also a little disturbing.  (It’s just a banana, kid.)  You’ve also gotten on the noodle bandwagon, and you can slurp with the best of them.  You have this “charming” habit of working your food over in your mouth and then just letting it fall.  I’ve seen you “eat” an entire piece of pizza this way.  But, overall, not too shabby for someone with four teeth.

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You may have noticed a distinct Alfalfa look on your recent pictures.  Don’t worry, you don’t have a cowlick, and we aren’t gunking your hair with product.  This phenomenon happens because of your hooded bath towel, and I must confess that I do my best to encourage it.  It just looks so right.  Like you have a crest.  I love it.

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You and Henry are still the Odd Couple.  You guys will be face-meltingly sweet to each other and then one of you is trying to pummel the other with tiny fists.  You are able to play more and more together, which I love.  If I’d like to “steer” you on your walkabouts, I only need to ask your brother to go ahead.  Sometimes your route veers just to copy something your brother did.

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And now you are almost the big 0-1.  What a year, baby.  What a year.

Love, Mom

P.S.  More Mac at 4 months, 5 months, 6 months, 8 months, 9 months, and 10 months.

Shut it down

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Dear Mac,

You are now 10 months old.  I know this is how things work, but if you could please slow. it. down.  For some reason, 9 months felt OK, but 10 months feels so incredibly close to ONE YEAR.  Not OK.  Shut it down, please and thank you.

You haven’t shown the slightest interest in crawling, but I think you would stand all day if you could.  You’ve started getting cocky.  Look, Ma, one hand!  Look, Ma, no hands!  Sometimes this works.  Most times it does not.  You are taking a few tentative steps with your feet.  Nothing in a purposeful direction yet, but I think the days when I hunch over so you can “walk” around the playground are near.  My back is sore just thinking about it, but I am excited for you.

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Holding you is like trying to wrestle an octopus; you are always trying to wriggle out of our grasp.  Changing time is when you most want to roll.  You have perfected the screaming back arch.  This makes putting you in high chairs, strollers, and car seats much more interesting.  You caught my throat the other day doing this.  That’s a hard head, son.  Feel free to also shut this down.

You have so much hair!  Once I realized how cute your hat hair is, I try to mess it up on purpose now.  You sort of look like a Tweety Bird.  I love it.

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Tooth #2 is staring to make an appearance.  Also at an odd angle.  I will not be surprised if braces are in your and your brother’s futures.  You haven’t complained too much about all the teething.  You do things like suck on your palm and chew on your hand; it seems to provide you some relief.

You have complained about being sick.  After your first bout with illness, you have had another thanks to Henry’s day care aka a kiddo petri dish.  We’ve all been a little sick.  You seemed to be holding off, but now you’ve succumbed.  Your poor cough rattles your little body, and you sound like a two-pack-a-day smoker.  Your nose is running, and you HATE to have it wiped.  I wish I could fix these things for you; I really do.  We even had a family visit to the doctor, but nothing to be done.  Hopefully you will be snot free and chipper soon.

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We were making progress on Operation Sleep-Through-the-Night, but your illness has set us back.  I can’t do any tough love when you sound like a whole pack of barking dogs.  Poor baby.

You are eating three solid meals a day.  You seem to love all food.  Clementines are one of your current faves. I’m psyched that we all eat the same breakfast together now, eggs + fruit or sweet potato or something.  I see you pincer, but you are also a pro at stuffing food into your meaty manos.  You’ll eat merrily along and only later will we realize that you have two puffs and a hunk of apple tightly grasped in your fist.  You can drink out of a sippy cup, but you also enjoy “drinking” from it upside down, smashing food with it, etc.  You have started a super fun new game of throw my fork on the ground and see if Mommy picks it up.  This too, shut it down, thanks in advance.

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Your fierce devotion to your brother continues.  He has started unpromptedly bringing you toys on occasion, and it makes my heart smile.  He also unpromptedly continues to tackle you.  Sometimes you like this.  Many times not.  (Henry, seriously, shut it down.)

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Despite your sniffles, you continue to be our easy-going, joyful little guy.  Your eyes light up when I walk into a room.  You enthusiastically reach for our hands at the blessing before dinner, blessing our hands with smears of food.  You sing and talk and love to look around and see what is going on.  You have started helping a bit when I get dressed and shifting your toy from one hand to another.  Your “move” is sticking out your pointer finger and trying to jam it in peoples’ mouths.  Sometimes Henry is game, but this is confusing for him.  How can he honor the strict “Don’t bite Mac” policy when you are literally stuffing your fingers in his mouth?

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Looking forward to helping you toddle and showing off your chunky thighs as it warms up.  Sigh, even if it means getting older.

Love, Mom

P.S.  More Mac at 4 months, 5 months, 6 months, 8 months, and 9 months.


And in the 9th month, there was tooth

Dear Mac,

You did it!  You now have a tiny sliver of your right bottom tooth sticking out from your gum.  At first, I could only feel it.  Now I can see it in certain lights and angles.  No word yet from its tooth brethren.  I was starting to think I’d be pureeing your steak for the next five years.  (Or, you know, more steak for me.)  But now, tooth!  (Also, we don’t eat much steak.  This isn’t really steak country.)

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You are also SUPER into pulling up.  Not yet on furniture, but on people.  You will be sitting and practically lunge at my hands.  You want to be up, Up, UP.  You stand up for minutes at a time if someone holds you.  You love it.  You haven’t really taken any steps yet, but at this rate, you may just skip crawling.

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Your love affair with food continues.  You have discovered the colorful world of puffs and they are your everything.  The subtleties of the snack pack container currently elude you, but you will not be denied.  You cram a few puffs in your fist at once and then work them out to your mouth.  It is quite the operation.  Your love affair with puffs has, of course, rekindled your brother’s previously dormant desire for puffs.  Choline for everyone!  Including the floor.  Especially the floor.  These things are like a magnet for the feets.

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You are becoming pretty sensitive about noticing that you do not have what others have.  “I have apple bits, but you have apple slice!  Unfair!!”  Things like this.  I promise to try to provide you with as many developmentally appropriate equivalents as possible, but as my mom always says, life isn’t fair.

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You’ve been bunking in our room because of Nana’s visit.  I’d endure much more to spend time with Nana, but I’ll be glad for you to go back to your room.  Man, you make some noise at night.  First, there is the serious leg jackknifing.  Then, in the early morning hours, you start conducting your own talk show.  I don’t know what it’s about or who your guests are, but everyone sounds pretty happy.  A few times I know I’ve fed you when I probably wouldn’t have usually, just to get you to wrap up your set.  Maybe you and your brother will be ready to try bunking together for our next guests this spring.  (We opted not to try this visit after Munich when your brother would scream “MACKLES” at your crib once you finally settled down.)

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Speaking of your brother, the Stockholm syndrome continues.  You look at him like a brainwashed cult member.  James commented that some highlights of your day were being tackled by Henry.  You don’t always love being manhandled, but you do love your brother.  One of my favorite parts of the day is at bedtime when Henry tells you goodnight and “I’ll love you in the morning.”  This seems to be Henry’s mashup of hearing “I love you” and “I’ll see you in the morning.”  This could definitely be a new family phrase.

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Your brother just started day care a few mornings each week.  This means that you and I have some quality togetherness time to take on Rome.  Unfortunately, I’ve been developing some soreness in my side after wearing you in your carrier, but I never let silly little things like that stop me.  Let’s see what mischief we can get up to.

Love, Mom


Crazy Eights

Dear Mac,

You are somehow eight months old.  You have lived outside the U.S. longer than you lived there.  Wild.  When we first moved here, we met an eight month old.  She seemed so impossibly big and capable and it all seemed so far away, but I knew it would be fast.  And here we are.

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You are quite the little roly poly.  Not just because of your adorable squish, of which there is plenty.  (Your dad said your thigh crease looked like a second butt the other day.  A very cute butt, of course.  And I mean booty, don’t say butt.)  No, you are a roll-a-mus because you are literally on a roll.  After showing very little interest in rolling at all, you can now flop from front to back AND back to front effortlessly.  We can put you down at one end of the carpet and you end up all the way at the other end.  You are going to be crawling any day now, I’m sure.  Although we said the same thing about your teeth . . .

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Even though you have been teething for at least four months, you refuse to sprout any teeth.  I can only imagine this is some sort of Benjamin Buttons situation where you are not growing teeth because you lost them already.  (If it was not abundantly clear from the previous sentence, I have not actually seen the movie.)  Every day we keep checking, but no dice.

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Your lack of teeth has not deterred your love of solid food though.  Man, you love to eat.  There is no combination of baby food too disgusting for you to ingest with relish.  You will eat pork, mixed veggies, and prunes together and then probably wonder about a second course.  You are a little more skeptical on some of your less pureed foods.  The chopped fish and green bean situation was not your jam.  We give you little bits of things to try to pick up, a challenge you seem to enjoy.  You will happily gum a hunk of apple all through breakfast.  You have tried rabbit baby food, but I think we will skip the recently-spotted horse.

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You had a fun Christmas with your brother.  Wrapping paper was a big hit.  Speaking of your brother, even since I last covered him, he has taken his play up a level.  He can now do imaginative play, particularly with his new Christmas cars and trucks.  The cars go on adventures and eat pancakes.  It feels like a little mini game of improv.  The cars jump off the building?  Yes AND they land at the octopus park!  I love this so much.  I really do.  But I find it to be draining.  I’m not sure why.  I can read the same book 12 times in a row without complaint, but for some reason “being the firetruck” takes a lot out of me.  Needless to say, I’m really excited to see you and Henry play this way when you are older.  I have very fond memories of playing Barbies, or My Little Ponies, or both with my sister for hours.  Her memories may be less fond because I know I was teeniest bit cough cough bossy.  I hope you and Henry have excellent memories together.  And if you can “be the firetruck” for a bit, that is all the better for me.  (I am always fire truck.  I don’t mind.  I’m just curious what made the kid look at me and think, yup, you are definitely firetruck material.)

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For being a baby, I am always impressed how hard you can troll your brother.  You guys seems to have a strange symbiotic relationship where you can’t stand to be apart but often can’t stand to be together.  It usually starts when Henry insists on playing right beside you.  You grab all the toys he doesn’t want you to grab.  He melts down.  You melt down.  Repeat.

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You also seem to have fun together.  I think you could watch Henry for hours.  I get pretty indignant when he causes you harm.  (I do try and avoid this, prevent it, and police it.)  You look at him with such admiration and trust and when he hurts you it feels like a punch to the gut.  Every time.  You never see it coming and your eyes go from trust to naked disbelief that this would happen.  And then you flip over on the bed and put your feet all over your brother.  I think you’ll be fending for yourself before I know it.

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I keep sleep stalking you.  At the risk of waking you, I even take pictures.  Or ask your dad to do it.  You still aren’t quite making it through the night, but your wakeups are getting closer to five or six AM.  I keep telling myself that we’re getting there . . .

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Speaking of sleep, you seem to be dropping your morning nap.  I’m OK with this.  It frees us up for more morning adventures and you can cat nap if you need it.  I am not OK with the state some days which seems to be a crankypants baby who refuses to sleep.  Your choices are be asleep or be awake and pleasant.  Thank you in advance.

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I really can’t complain because you continue to be the happiest, most cheerful little dude.  I think you are getting a little slower to smile at strangers; you like to analyze the situation first.  You don’t mind not being around me, but you often get upset when I leave the room.  This always surprises me because many times you are doing your own thing, and I didn’t think I was even on your radar.

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Being on a cute baby’s radar.  There are worse places to be.  🙂

Love, Mom

P.S.  Whoops, didn’t write about 7 months (I swear we took pics!), but more on Mac at 4 months, 5 months, and 6 months.

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Mac is 6 months

Dear Mac,

You are really killing it right now as a baby.  You just make this look easy.  You are teething so hard, but you’d hardly know it other than the drool and chewing on your fingers.  Every day I keep expecting those teeth to pop out, but they remain elusive.

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You’ve really stepped up your sitting game.  You can go for minutes at a time unassisted, and you love to sit in the boppy.  This is sort of your rotation.  Absolutely engrossed with your toys sitting in the boppy.  Absolutely engrossed with your toys in the Exersaucer.  Pissed off about tummy time.  Repeat.  You are so consumed by what you are doing that sometimes you barely notice your brother and me.  Except when we are singing and having dance parties.  That you really love to watch.  It makes me smile that you seem to like my singing.

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You are still huge.  Your recent doctor’s visit had you at 18 lbs 5 oz (a full pound and a third more than your brother).  Now that you are six months, we are starting to play with solids.  At the doctor’s suggestion, you did some grated apple.  You had the most priceless “bitter beer” face at first, but you seem to be getting the hang of it.  (If I’m being honest, your first food was technically gelato when you attacked your dad’s spoon.  You also enjoyed some ice cream cone after Henry stared wistfully at the gelato place and the gelato lady brought him an empty cone and then gave you one because she didn’t want you to be left out.  I think you gummed half of it down before I turned around to take it from you.)  You have also had banana, but that is because you were sitting in my lap and pretty much took down the banana I was eating.  We tried some zucchini.  You weren’t feeling it, but in your defense, it looked pretty gross.  I promise to step up my baby food prep game.  You have tried carrots and sweet potatoes, but you only have a taste for the sweet stuff.  We’ll see what comes next.  You like to drink out of cups.  Like a lot.

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I will admit that things are different with you than they were for your brother.  With Henry, I think we had pictures and videos for most new foods tried.  For you, we do have a video with your first food (not the gelato, the other first food).  But your typical experience is eating banana that I mushed with my fingers while sitting in my lap so I can’t take a picture.  (I can’t put you in your highchair because Henry’s baby is in there and he will freak if I move it.)

Even though everything isn’t documented, you do have something your brother didn’t, which is the constant source of encouragement and entertainment that is Henry.  You never get tired of watching him.  And most of the time, he’s your biggest fan.  You guys are so fun to watch together.  I hope you will be tight.

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Brothers don’t shake hands . . . brothers gotta hug

You have more hair than I think your brother grew in over a year, but that isn’t say much for either of you.  You have this one extra long hair right above your forehead that sometimes sticks straight up and I will be so sad when it falls out.  I call it your unicorn horn.

We had a breakthrough on sleeping very recently.  You’ve been consistently getting up once a night.  It was at 4, then at 2:30, then at 2:00.  The night you got up at 12:30, I put my foot down and we put in the work of helping you sooth yourself.  It took an hour and half before you settled, but every night since then you’ve been sleeping straight on through.  It’s amazing and wonderful and I’m scared to even type it here to jinx it, but you’ve been going strong for over a week now and I hope it is the new normal.

I still usually come in and creepily stare at you sleeping before I go to bed.  You look even more like your brother when asleep.  And you look younger.  And you look huge.  Sigh, it does go so fast.

Love, Mom

Mac is 5 months

Dear Mac,

I can’t believe you are five months already.  After I spent two months telling everyone you were four months old, I can’t seem to advance your age now.  You are just squeezing into your 3-6 months outfits, and I don’t think that will fly much longer.  You are almost 18 pounds.

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You are so happy.  Everyone who sees you comments that you never cry.  Which isn’t exactly true, but you are usually cheerful to be outside and excited to see people.  Even though you are teething hard right now, you would hardly know, aside from all the drool, as you are such a good sport about it.

Before I forget or they morph again, I wanted to share some of your nicknames.  Although your brother’s nicknames mostly derived from Henry-kins (Kinz, Kensington, etc.) or “Squeaks,” yours come from “Squish.”  So you have Squishimi, Squishimus, Squishipuss, and my recent reversing, Pusslesquish.  Your dad calls you Mackleton and Mackle Tackle.  I am guilty of calling you Big Mac, Smacks, Smack, and similar and apologize profusely for drug-related nicknames.  #smackiswhack

Kind of looks like a minion here, right?

Kind of looks like a minion here, right?

You rolled today!  Front to back.  You had a five month appointment at the doctor, because apparently that is a thing here, and you rolled for the first time.  It was as if on command.  Show off!  Everyone at the doctor was charmed by your squish and smiles, even though you skipped your morning nap.

You have quite the grip.  You can manipulate toys like nobody’s business.  We’ll wait a tiny bit more on solids, but I think you will be ready.  You have been enjoying spoon/fork time and you are about to grab all the food off our plates.  You are still getting up around once a night.  I keep hoping that maybe solids will help on that.  We shall see!

Ball so hard

Ball so hard

Love, Mom