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Sunday, March 27, 2011
::Sagan's Monthly Newsletter, March 2011::

Dear Sagan,

I can’t believe this is possible, but everyone around you is even more in love with you than they were last month! I KNOW! Eleven months. 11/12 of a year. Dang.

We all love that we can’t count the number of times you’ve gone camping. The proximity of Cedar Hill State Park works in your favor, because when you get to a campsite, the fire, the leaves, and the birds keeps you fascinated for hours. As Gran says, “Ah, there. Now he’s finally touched every leaf and blade of grass at this campsite. And put it in his mouth.” Nana and Grandpa Karl came to visit, too, and they loved watching you have a good time.

In fact, you love the great outdoors no matter where you are. If you’re fussy, I know that I need merely take you outside, and you’ll simmer down immediately.

At Gran and Pitter’s, the deck is your favorite play place. You make the deck your own, prompting the installation of lattice on the railing so that we don’t have to spot you the whole time.

Josh had his offending testicle taken out, and the day he had the surgery, you went over to your friend (and second cousin) Kassidy’s house. Dena, Dianne, and Clint were charmed by your quick crawl, your snaky hands, and your affectionate backwards roll thing. You escaped from a diaper change, and Kassidy was grossed out when you “spread your naked all over [her] dolls.” Keepin’ it classy, there, Sagan.

You’re eating “real people food” even more, now, and while you take your time eating (a trait you get from your maternal grandfather, who is the slowest eater EVER), you’ve become a champ. Chicken, pasta, biscuits, and rice make you smile. You lost your craving for puffs (unless they’re the ones you’ve sadly discarded under the couch, those are delicious!), instead preferring Multigrain Cheerios or Club Crackers. I suspect you now look down your nose at anything touted as “dissolves easily.” I gave you some Honey Nut Cheerios and Honey Grahams for about a week, but then I freaked out, remembering that honey is a no-no for babies until they’re a year old. Fortunately, the Internet came to my guilt’s rescue, and assured me that only raw honey was a problem.

Unfortunately, you’ve acquired the ability to throw stuff, and this has an effect on your eating time; I am now less of a feeder and more of a fetcher of things from the floor when you’re in your booster seat. Usually, you throw backwards, which confuses you. I’m also letting your nursery neatness go to pot. These developments are causally linked.

You stopped taking your morning nap, too. You used to sleep for about 45 minutes at around 10AM and 2PM. Now, we’re down to an hour at around noon. Your bedtime is slightly earlier, but it’s little consolation.

You still love your baths:

I showed you how a brush is used, and you’ll happily take the baby brush from me and “brush” the back of your hair. You’ll also brush your hair with almost any object. A shoe. A stuffed animal. A board book. Your sippy cup. Awesome.

Your mobility has shifted, now, from crawling (low, horizontal vectors) to climbing (high, vertical vectors). Somewhere in there you’ve figured out how to stand and, even better, to stand up without any support to get you up (March 12)!

Pretty soon thereafter, you progressed to taking steps. You surprised Gran, Dad, and me one day (March 14); I set you down after coming inside, and you stayed standing and started taking a few tentative steps, and you’ve continued that slow discovery since. Good thing your diaper provides good padding! Though you rarely fall; you smoothly control your transition to your butt or knees.

This ability to walk (or crawl fast, which is your usual preference) lends you a new
independence, and you have little problem wandering into the next room while we’re hanging out somewhere. You’re content to entertain yourself, usually emptying containers or messing with our messes.

We know to check in on you, especially when you’re quiet because a) you might’ve choked or b) you might’ve found something really expensive to destroy. I’m glad neither has happened yet.

You’re still really into music, moving your body and headbanging to just about anything with a rhythm. You’ll clap when you hear things you like (or, I guess, when you’re happy to be finished with something like a diaper change). We went to Floor & Decor one day for ideas about designing the bathroom, and you surprised the heck out of me when you started banging your head along with the song playing on the overhead speakers: it was the one Beavis and Butt-head would “duh-duh-duh-DUH-duh-duh-DEH-duh...” to. Ask your Uncle Josh and your dad about who Beavis and Butt-head were.

Your personality seeps from your every move. You’re ready to show delight at almost anything. For a while, you showed happiness by headbanging, but I think you ended it when you got happy about something in the bathtub and hit your mouth on the porcelain side of the tub. Ow! You’re always inviting mom and dad—or anyone else around—to share in the fun. You’ll start hooting at something you’ve discovered, and you’ll turn around and smile to make sure we’re watching. I can feel you saying, “Did you just see that?!? I’m AWESOME!” And you love soft things; you’ll hug and nuzzle them, like your Einstein doll, Uncle Josh’s little Yoda, or cuddly blankets.

You imitate us more every day. For about a week, any time I made a gross face and said, “Pshewy!” you’d make a disgusted raspberry: “Plblblblbt!”

And you say words now! Your jabbering in the car one day (March 1, to be exact!) led to “ma-ma,” and soon after that, “da-da.” “Josh,” even, followed soon thereafter. And it becomes clearer every day that you’ve assigned meaning to them. You say “da” pretty much only when your dad’s around, and “Josh” spontaneously sprang from your when FaceTimeing with Uncle Josh. I don’t know if you get that I’m “ma-ma” yet. But that’s okay.

You might be able to say other words, too, though Dad and I think we might be projecting expectations a bit too much. I swear we heard you say “Up!” one day when you wanted me to pick you up. I think you may have said “Yes” and “Yeah,” in answers to questions. And I’m pretty sure you said “algebra” the other day. Yep, you’re our kid.

You’re interacting with the world, and I can now see that you’re processing it in more complex ways. We’re still showing you signs for words, like “pig” for which you point to your nose, and “frog” where you flick your tongue. It’s hard to do, mostly because I rarely have one hand – let alone both hands - free when we’re playing, eating, or exploring.

However, one night a few days ago, as you ate your dinner, you held your hand up toward the Sputnik lamp in the dining room and opened and closed your hand, signing the word “light.” And I just started crying, right there, about to put a spoon of peas in your mouth. “That’s right, Sagan! Light!” And I started going nuts, making the sign and saying “Light!!!” and gushing and clapping and crying.

You’ve been communicating since the day you were born. You cried for food or for help. You started smiling and laughing, sharing your happiness with us. And now. Now you’ve clearly made the connection that certain symbols (like signs and words) represent objects or ideas. And you use those symbols! This conceptual jump, this complex ability in you, has meant more to me as a mother than any crawl, roll, or step. Because it means you’ve started understanding. And I can’t wait to start having conversations with you, whether they’re spoken or signed.

I know you’ll have some fascinating things to say.


Likes: Pizza, ice cream, taking off my headband, hugs, hooting and pointing at things
Dislikes: Having the Sonicare toothbrush taken from you, rough crawling surfaces, your morning nap, oranges
Things you can do: Wave hello and bye-bye, walk 5 steps, throw objects

You don't know me - at all - but I've been reading your blog since way before you were married. I don't even remember how I found it (maybe Googling for a song or something?). But it's probably time to de-lurk and tell you how awesome it has been to read about your experiences with Sagan.

I look forward to your Twitter updates and monthly blog posts so much. I'm a slightly older woman than you, married, but have no children, so this has been very enlightening. I think that you are a wonderful parent and the fact that you've chosen to stay home to be with Sagan is such an act of love. (Of course your husband gets lots of credit too for having to leave you every day to go to work!)

Anyway, I'll go back to being an observer now, but keep up the excellent parenting skills. He looks like an utter joy and you really seem to be cherishing his moments of babyhood.


Thanks, Amanda! Your de-lurkitude totally made my day. I haven't blogged a lot over the last 4 years or so since I got married (mainly due to my teaching jobs at an elementary school and here at home now!), but Blogger's my repository for Things I Want to Last (as opposed to Facebook, which may become passe tomorrow).

Parenthood has been a trip, and Sagan's been such a pleasure. Y'know, when it hasn't totally sucked. But the former WAY outweighs the latter.

Thanks again - and you're right, Austin gets tons of credit for making this possible! - and keep reading.


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