You have always been an independent spirit, not snuggling much or hugging for too long. But, this past year, you've become very interested in books. You will now allow us to hold you and read several books each night at bedtime. Daddy and I have embraced this new change literally. We love to snuggle you.
Even though you may have become more cuddly, your independent spirit is still a very dominant trait. This past year you developed a very strong "I can do it myself" attitude. You are very insistent that you do not need help (coming down the stairs, climbing up on the couch, opening a door) even if you do in fact need help. It is so cute to hear you say, "I do it."
I think a lot of you wanting to do things on your own stems from watching your big brother Andrew doing things on his own. This past year we have watched you try to emulate your big brother Andrew not just watching him. You like to follow Andrew's lead and will often repeat what he says. Especially, if what he says gets a laugh out of Mommy or Daddy. For example, you tell the knock-knock joke Andrew made up with such passion. The punchline is "uh, oh, the door is locked." and I'm not sure you even get the joke but, you tell it so well.
I love how you have become such a part of our inside family games and jokes too. Pretending to be asleep, or saying "wake up Daddy (or Mommy or Brother)" when one of us pretends to be asleep, stalking around the house playing monsters, playing hide and go seek. How you love to play hide and go seek with Mommy and Andrew. There was a point when you could play in these games and not just watch and we could all see how proud you were to be a part of the action.
You’ve made great strides in communication and general awareness of your surroundings. I loved when you would say “Come with me” or “I show you” when you wanted to ask for something. Daddy and I always marvel at the stages when communication can kick in and we can interact with our children. You spoke your first words this past year and now you are talking in complete sentences. Sure your pronouns and tenses are adorably mixed up but, you are talking in full sentences!
You are so curious about what other people are doing. You will often ask “what’s he doing?” when we are out and about. Wanting to know what’s going on around you. I’m not sure there is anyone you are more interested in than Andrew. Sure you get very excited when you see Daddy at the end of the work day or Mommy when we’ve been apart but, often your first words in the morning these days are “where’s brother” or “go find brother”. (Which by the way, is the adorable way you refer to Andrew, always calling him Brother.)
As part of your transitions from passive observer to active participant, we have watched you imitate Andrew in so many physical ways. If you see Andrew do something at the playground, you do it too, and sometimes you can do more than him. You are absolutely fearless at the playground. I often think you do not realize that you are not the same age as Andrew. You seem to think “if he can do it, I can do it.” And in most cases, that has been true. We marvel at your physical capabilities. Kicking a soccer ball, climbing (always climbing!), playing in the shallow end of the pool. It’s hard to believe that you only just took your first steps less 11 months ago. You walk and hop and are really working hard on being able to run fast. You will practice at home by standing with your back to the front door and running into the kitchen to the sliding door.
You also have caught on to Andrew’s creativity. If Andrew pretends to be a monster and roars, you do the same. If Andrew says Mommy watch this, you say and do the same. You are great at playing make-believe. How could you not when you have such a strong teacher in Andrew. I love when you pretend to pick something up that is “heavy”. Grunting, huffing and puffing while saying “Heavy!”
I think this year can be characterized by monkey see, monkey do. And yet, you are clearly not a clone of Andrew. You are your own unique person and personality in so many ways, Jay. And I love spending my days with you. You are becoming such a special little boy, clearly no longer my baby.
I love you Jay, more than words could ever say.