Eleven Months

She is my big girl.

The way she moves so fast

Still crawls in her silly way

her one bear leg

usually holding something in one hand—

some fuzz, a leaf, a bit of apple—

but now she is so much quicker.

She will scale a tall flight of steps,

no problem.

Her feet are bigger now,

preparing to hold her weight

as she practices standing,

always on the tippiest of toes.

She is not ready to walk,

sitting down whenever I hold her hands;

she is welcome to take her time.

She holds her sippy cup with both hands

and actually drinks the water sometimes,

though she usually ends up soaked

either way.

Now when she smiles

it is a toothy grin

despite still only having two little teeth.

But they have grown in further,

and I can envision her smile to-be.

You can practically see the other teeth

about to break through

her top gums—white and swollen, alien-like—

when you dip her upside down

as she giggles.

She knows how to play now

Will crawl away and look back at me

with an impish smile

and I stomp-crawl towards her

and she squeals with delight—

the best sound in the world—

and turns away

sometimes crawling a few paces before turning back again

sometimes too excited to move

and will flop forward

overwhelmed with giggles

and I’ll catch her and tickle her belly

and snort in her ear and kiss her cheeks:

caught by the kissy-monster.

Waving and clapping are still regular mannerisms,

but peek-a-boo is all the rage.

Whether I am hiding behind something

and popping into view with a gasp,

or a blanket is placed over her head—

“Where is she?”

—and her yanking it down with a smile—

“There she is!”

again and again.

She has enough hair to brush

and to add a small clip

with tiny matching bows.

When I don’t know what to wear,

I pick colors that match the baby:

jeans and a grey sweatshirt,

purple t-shirt and bright pink scrunchie,

green flannel to complement her green overalls.

Food is an adventure.

Aiming for three meals a day

by a year,

we eat breakfast in the morning,

heavy snacks for a lunch on the go,

and sit all together for dinner.

Always messy,

always funny,

always exhausting,

always wondrous

to watch this tiny person

explore new tastes and textures,

a baby bird,

biting and pulling with her two new teeth,

reaching for anything that looks better.

She smiles and throws and drops it all

when she’s done.

She still drinks from the bottle before sleep

Now sitting up taller

and leaning back on me like a recliner

as she eats.

More decisively pulling away

and popping the binky in her mouth

when she’s done.

Her teeth don’t let her sleep 11 hours


She wakes at 3:30, or 4:30, or 5:30

or somewhere in between,

just once,

but early in the morning,

so that it’s difficult

for me

to fall back asleep.

I can see more and more of her face

peaking over the railing

when she stands in her crib

waiting for me.

These days, her little nose pokes over,

and then her mouth when she stands

on tiptoes and lifts her chin.

Now that the weather has turned

for the best

with sunny days and blue skies

and big puffy white clouds,

she will only entertain relaxation in the stroller,

talking to herself

and munching on snacks

as her father or I push her

street after street, and around the park.

We will sit outside on our blanket,

in our shorts and short-sleeves and bare feet,

an island of bright orange fabric spotted with warm red Om symbols

in a sea of rich green grass.

She will stay on the blanket, but

wander to the edge to tug on the stems,

or pinch a maple seed from last season

or pick a tiny purple flower or yellow dandelion.

She has discovered dirt!

She has discovered that it does not taste very good,

but it is very good for throwing

and for submerging tiny fingers, which can

wiggle and grab

and can always be washed clean later.

She crawls after friends,

she smiles at grown-ups,

she reaches for her family.

She wanders away and looks back,

and wanders some more.

She searches for beauty

and follows her curiosity.

She holds up what she finds to show me.

It is time to discover the world together.