It's much easier to say "twelve months" than to say "one year." I guess I am in some sort of denial when it comes to acknowledging that my baby is becoming a toddler. Although, in spite of the fact that I am finding parenting a toddler to be more challenging that parenting a baby, I am enjoying this age just as much as I've enjoyed every other one.
Over the past month Adriana has started signing for milk. It's funny how such a little thing is such an amazing change around here. She fusses and signs and I know exactly what she wants. Or sometimes she just fusses and I ask her, "do you want milk?" Sometimes she makes the sign in reply and I know that she wants to nurse. I am thrilled by this communication, although she has been making other sorts of signs for a while now--raising her arms to be picked up and pointing at things she wants. We are trying some other signs with her, and while she seems to understand some of them (Brian signed for "ball" the other night without saying it out loud, and she went and picked up the ball), she isn't attempting to make them herself.
She walks fairly well now, without reaching for my finger to hold most of the time, and her skill at and willingness to walk increases noticeably every day. Last Friday I set her down on the floor when we arrived at yoga, and she got to her hands and knees and crawled over to the ball she wanted. On Wednesday when we got there and I set her down, she immediately toddled over to the toy she wanted. She still falls down a lot, but now she can pick herself up off the floor without pulling up on anything. In some ways it's nice--trips to the park are more fun--but it's also made her slightly less portable. We tried to see the Body Worlds exhibit in San Jose last weekend but had to make a hasty exit because the stroller and the carrier were both unacceptable to her, and I wasn't prepared to let her walk by herself in a crowd.
And of course there is the climbing. It started with a ride-on toy that her Grandpa Ted gave her for Christmas. At first I thought the toy was obnoxious because of all the stupid songs it would play at the press of a button, but it kept Adriana busy while I fixed dinner or (gasp) went to the bathroom ALL BY MYSELF. But then I discovered her standing on the toy in the middle of the room. She squealed and waved at me. She quickly learned that she could push it over to the bookcases to get to things that were formerly out of her reach, or to climb onto the couch, where she leans back against the cushions looking mighty pleased with herself. And then came her discovery that she could squirm her way onto other furniture without a stepping stool, so that one day I could leave her alone in a room for a few minutes, and the next I was fearful that within two minutes she would have climbed onto the chair and from there onto the chest where she could hurl CDs to the floor and open and close the stereo. So right now our projects are teaching the baby how to turn around carefully and slide off the furniture safely, and figuring out a way to keep the electronics in this house safe from curious little baby hands.
I am comforted when other women I meet say that their children didn't really get going on solids until 18 months, because Adriana is still going back and forth. There was a week or so when she greedily ate breakfast and lunch with me. Now, she has a few bites and is finished, and she must feed herself those bites--having me spoon-feed her is once again unacceptable. But she is eating more food at dinner with us now (another reason to appreciate the later bedtime is that I don't have to fix her dinner at 5 or 6 and then make a real dinner for Brian and me after he gets home from work), gobbling up black beans, carrots, enchiladas, and pretty much anything else I put on the highchair tray.
She is sleeping better at night (although still not through the night) than she was a few weeks ago, but she did not get the memo that all the other babies got about going to bed by 7 or 8, and instead prefers to be up until 9:30 or 10. For a while that was bothering me, but then I figured out that if I stopped trying to get her down to bed at 8, I would stop being frustrated by her refusal to sleep at that hour. I am fairly sure that the late bedtime is the result of her tendency to nap later in the afternoon than she used to, but because she is still taking two naps a day and is sleeping in an hour later than she used to, I am trying not to complain.
And it is hard to complain when we snuggle up to nurse down for the night, and after she finishes eating she rolls away and lies there in the dark, just looking at me. Then she pats my cheek and comes back for just a little more milk before drifting off.