Eleanor is 11 months old today!
Most of you already know this since I posted about it on Facebook, but Eleanor has started saying a few words. First were "mama" and "dada," followed by "tickle," "baby," and "kitty" (ti-ty). She loves to talk and seems so anxious to communicate. Countless times a day she says "Mama?" with inflection as if she wants to ask me a question. I always answer with something like "What, baby?" and she will reply with one of her words or a string of babble. Sometimes we go back and forth just saying "Mama?" "What, baby?" "Mama?" "What, baby?" She loves getting any sort of response to her spoken words.
She is also starting to communicate with the few signs we have taught her. She picked up the sign for "nurse" the fastest (of course). She also knows the signs for "eat," "all done," and "more." She sort of made up a sign of her own too. When she wants something and I tell her "Say please" (of course I know she can't actually say it yet, but as Julie Andrews says, "Manners matter!" and you can't start too young), she will put out her hand with the palm up. Since she is doing so well with signing I'm working on adding more to her vocabulary, starting with "diaper," "water," and "again."
The "again" sign will come in handy because this girl LOVES books, and of course just reading a book once is never enough, so we always end up reading the same book to her over and over and over and over and over again. She will go over to the book case (I cleared out one of the lower shelves for her board books), pick out a book, bring it over to us, and hold it up for us to read to her. She loves turning the pages and stares so diligently at the pictures. When we read the end and close the book she immediately picks it up and hands it to us again. It can get very tedious, but if reading Barnyard Dance to her for the twentieth time in a row will help her develop a love of learning and reading, then I am more than glad to do it.
A few weeks ago we celebrated her first Easter. I wasn’t planning on doing anything for her since she is still so young, but Andrew called me on Friday before Easter and said he wanted to go to Target on his lunch break and get her an Easter basket. How sweet is that? He picked her out a baby doll, a few books, a stuffed lamb, a ball, and a squirt gun (which is a little advanced for her yet, but he wants it to be an Easter tradition). He also got her plastic eggs, which we filled with cheerios and hid in obvious places for her to find. She didn’t quite get the egg hunting process. We’ll have to try again next year. The doll, however, was a big hit. It is her new go-to toy, and what inspired her to say "baby." She is such a lovebug, always giving her doll (along with her stuffed animals and her very grateful parents) plenty of hugs and kisses.
In just one short month she will be one year old. It’s hard to believe. You know how when someone asks how old your baby is as the month goes on you stop saying simply “6 months” and start to say “almost 7 months”? I do that a lot, always looking toward the future rather than staying in the moment. I’ve been saying she was “almost 11 months” for half of the time she was 10 months. I’m not going to do that this time. I’m going to try really hard to make this month, the last month of my baby’s first year of life, go by as slowly as possible. When people ask, I will say she is simply 11 months old, not almost 12 months, not almost one. I want to cherish every single day of her being just 11 months old, I won’t rush her on.