11 Things I Have Learned from my 11 Month Old

My baby turned 11 months old yesterday, marking August the last month with our infant before we embark on toddler-hood. As we reached this milestone, it made me think of how much he has grown in the past year and how much we adapt as parents as they grow through each stage. Between the walking, baby proofing, and exploring; I feel that this last month Owen has taught me a few things about parenting and life:

  1. Observe both my body language and chatter, mom! During the newborn months we focused on decoding every cry and wail. Then, we began watching his eyes intently for information. Now that gibberish, a few words, and motions are in the mix, this little guy has reminded me that no matter what age, it’s important to listen to each other’s verbal and nonverbal communication. 
  2. The world is sometimes scary. It has been tons of fun watching our little guy discover new foods, sounds and people. With such an adventurous nature, it’s easy to forget that even noises and places are often brand new adventures. Even the smallest animals and bugs are scary when they are new to you; just like it’s okay for new jobs, homes and activities can be scary to us, adults.
  3. Kisses and hugs are going to be slobbery. and, that’s okay!
  4. With greater independence comes greater need for security. Now that Owen has really taken off running, he has leaned on me less and less for balance. But, he still seeks for a familiar presence behind him. I strive to give enough space to experience independence, but also close enough to know that he can always find me.
  5. We are born with a sense of play and discovery. We don’t teach our little ones how to love toys, noises and pretending… but, they do and they love it. And, we do it again and wonder “when did we stop playing?” Passing the ball around, reading a picture book or making funny faces is instant stress relief. 
  6. We don’t know our own strength. Owen grabbed the glasses off my face the other day and scratched my cheek. He also pulled himself off of his feet by gripping the table above. These actions surprised the both of us of his strength and ability. It made me wonder how many things, like running or lifting, because I haven’t just tried.
  7. Stretching out and rolling on the floor is the best. We recently bought a new house and splurged on a new comfy couch, but any night of the week you can find the 3 of us spread out on the floor in a pile of blankets, toys and books – even after the little one goes to bed. Spreading out is essential for little ones and adults.
  8. Practice sometimes hurts, but it’s worth it. Over the past two months, I have watched Owen fall time and again learning to walk and run. And, as much as I want to protect him from every fall, I know that he needs to learn that despite the pain, ya’ gotta get up and try again.
  9. New perspectives are new experiences. People, furniture. appliances and art work all look different when you move from sitting to standing. I sometimes wonder why an everyday routine startles or excites my little one, but I need to remember that it may feel like a brand new experience than last time. This is a reminder to me that when I get stuck with a problem or need to give a project or bad day some new life, it’s as easy as looking at something in a new light. 
  10. The owner’s manual is helpful, but not always right. In the beginning months, I read every discussion board, chapter, and article about newborn sleeping, feeding, play, and development. It was certainly helpful, but not always right. This was difficult for me, as a student and employee that have always ‘played it by the handbook’ for years. However, breaking away from the boards and books was one of the best choices for me to learn about instinct in parenting, as well as personally and professionally.
  11. Fun is just a hike, stroll, or blanket fort away. We have found that the best times we have had in the last 11 months didn’t cost a cent. Right now, it’s just about exploring and being together.