And another month went by! Mark is now eleven-month-old and it’s getting harder and harder to see him as a baby: he morphed into a little boy full of energy, with his own personality, likes and dislikes. He even “graduated” from a rear-facing baby car seat to a big boy front-facing car seat! (Hell to install by the way, who designs that shit?! Felt like a parenting test!)
I barely remember September last year. We were just back from London and I was coming into the final stretch of pregnancy. I had weekly appointments at the hospital and I was strongly encouraged to wrap my head around the fact that I would go into labour sometime in October—it still seemed unreal at the time. Moving, sleeping, eating and pretty much any activity involving my body were getting uncomfortable, although I was still going to hot yoga twice a week. We spent the days trying to figure out what we needed (I think it took us about four weeks to finally pick a pair of curtains for Mark’s room!) and I spent my night desperately googling “how to dress a baby” or “how to bath a baby”.
Well, I’m happy to report that this September is way more relaxing. Okay, there is the fact that we have a little boy full of energy who barely naps and crawls everywhere in the house and outside, but at least I don’t have to use the bathroom every five minutes because a baby inside me is bouncing on my bladder.
After “I like to move it, move it”, the theme song these days could be “get up, stand up”—that’s all Mark wants to do. Changing his diapers and getting him dressed is like wrestling with a dragon because he hates lying on the bed. In fact, we developed a very unorthodox system when I have to change him on-the-go: Mark stands on the changing table, and I put his pants down, clean him up, put on a fresh diaper and put the pants back on. I don’t mind it, it’s actually more hygienic considering public bathrooms aren’t always spotless.
Mark crawls, explores, stands up by himself, climbs the stairs, climbs on my back and pulls my hair, and he can take a few steps if I hold his hand. He has great hand coordination, and will break his food into small pieces if needed.
He still mostly drinks formula, but likes to eat whatever we have: Subway, sushi, tofu, eggs, noodles, spaghetti, broccoli, fries, avocado, baozi, etc. He loves biting into bananas—in fact, I can never have a whole banana to myself if he is around! He has two bottom teeth and the two top ones are almost there.
At his last visit, last month, he was 72.5 centimeter tall and weighed 9.7 kilo, which puts him right in the middle of the curve (see, he is not that big, people!).
He loves going to the playground and can spend hours in the swing (or could spend hours in the swing, if I didn’t get tired of it after a while!). He crawls on the grass and explores his surroundings, occasionally crawling back to me when he needs a hug or realizes that I haven’t interacted with him in a few minutes.
Mark is loud. Like, almost as loud as my mother-in-law (with all due respect…). He calls “hey, hey, hey!” if he wants attention and says “mama” which can mean “mom” or “milk” depending on the situation. He also calls “mama” and “dada” and bangs desperately on the door if we leave him alone in his room.
He learned to say “hi” and waves his hands, waiting for us—or anyone in sight, really—to high-five him or wave back. And he loves the French song “les petites marionnettes”: I can sing “ainsi font, font, font, les petites marionnettes” ten or fifteen times in a row while typing an urgent email to keep him busy—a skill I didn’t know I had.
Generally speaking, he likes music. Well, he likes “his” music: Haddaway’s What Is Love (I played it one night for fun and now he is addicted to that stupid song!), Beyoncé and Pink Floyd are his favourite. He does not like Manu Chao—yes, I feel betrayed!
Mark’s new nickname, along with “the destroyer”, is “Houdini”. Somehow, he manages to get out of the Exersaucer (which is Canadian-built and supposedly baby-proofed) and the stroller, even with the belt buckled.
But of course, all these little “tricks” of him that make life so busy (and get us maxed out mentally and physically) are forgotten when he hugs and tries to kiss me (more like head-butting me but hey, that’s a start!).