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Dear Ezra: Month Eleven

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Dear Buddypants,

Ten months, you decided, is long enough to see the world sitting down. These last four weeks have seen you get up on your feet as often as possible. No surface is too slippery or unwieldy for your grappling hands. Early on, you’d be hesitant to let go and stand on your own, unless something ended up in your hands to distract you. As soon as the reality distortion field evaporated, it was butt to the ground. Slowly, you got more confident, and now we’re able to stand you up in the middle of the floor, far from any walls, and you’ll stay there for seconds, sometimes minutes.

But we haven’t seen walking. Not yet. Unless you count sidling, shimmying and scootching — which we don’t. We sometimes stand you up and offer you something desirous just out of arm’s reach, hoping the appeal of grabbing a toy is greater than the fear of taking that first step. We’ve gotten a proto-step — really a rebalancing, to be honest — but no real walking yet. I’m not sure why I’m anxious for it; you’re sure to make us nuts chasing you around as soon as you figure out how.

And it’s not like you don’t get into plenty of mischief as it is. You have some kind of bizarro baby radar that tells you when the dishwasher is open, and without fail, you will cruise over to it, hoist your self up, and start pulling out dishes, spoons and, god help us, knives as if you’re the inspector out on a call. When it’s not that, it’s the cupboards with the tupperware or the bathroom drawers or under the office desk, banging on the cable modem to see what all those lights are for. We had to move the cat food a couple months back and I’m pretty sure in a couple months we’re going to have to move the cats, if they don’t learn to get out of your way on their own.

Meanwhile, I can’t tell you how relieved I am to see you take to water. I guess that early immersion therapy we put you through last summer at the beach has already paid off. In addition to lack of fear we see at public fountains, you also are right at home in the bath, which at our house is Daddy’s turf. From day one you’ve never been one to be bothered by water, even when its sudden appearance from above is unexpected and immersive. You spend your time gnawing on the toys that float by you, or gigging when I spray you in the chest with a stream of water. Sometimes I feel you’re being too docile, and try to get the raucousness going by starting a splashing war. You never take the bait.

Mom and I have been thankful that lately you’ve settled into a more normal, adult-friendly sleep routine, though you haven’t quite lined up your wake-up time with ours. Lately, this has resulted in a new morning routine for the two of us. After Mom gets up with you, she brings you into the bedroom and throws you on top of me like you’re my alarm clock. We cuddle and wrestle and read books and play with stuffed animals in the bed together while Mom gets ready. It’s a wonderful way to wake up.

You’re turning into such a little man. It’s easy to think that all the sounds you utter are just baby gobbledygook, but then once in a while you’ll remind me that there’s a little working brain in there, and some of those things have meaning, and some of the things we say to you actually get properly processed. Exhibit A is watching you pull a blanket up and down, playing peek-a-boo. That blows me away every time. Exhibit B is that you recognize the word “kiss.” I’ll tell you to kiss the book, or the stuffed animal, and you pucker your lips and delicately press your face up against it. It’s pure delight. You still won’t kiss your daddy though, but I’m sure someday that’ll change. (And then, as quickly, it’ll change back again.)

Your 1st birthday is coming up, which, let’s face it, is insane. You were just born! And yet, I look back at the photos and videos of you and can’t believe that is the same baby. Every incarnation of you is so clearly you, until it gets overwritten by the next one. I hate to say it, but now I know what they all mean when they say it goes by so fast.

Which is why we take these pictures and write these letter, I guess. Keep on chugging, boy.

Love,
Dada

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