a letter to my thirteen month old

August 16, 2010

Dear OBaby,

I am absolutely baffled how this has happened, but you are 13 months old today. Thirteen. More than 12 and 12 makes a year. You are more than one year o ld. I think this is hitting me harder than your first birthday did because somewhere in the back of my mind I thought that was the biggest hurdle, you being one. But it turns out that you just keep on going. And going. And going.
It’s true: you are nothing if not busy. Yesterday when we picked you up from the church nursery the first thing the worker in there told us was that he was pretty sure you had touched every single toy in the room. I was not at all surprised. You fancy yourself and explorer of sorts and your job is to seek out every single thing that ever existed and examine it. It is a joy to watch you do your thing.

Besides exploring and examining, your biggest thing is smiling. It’s been said of you that your goal in life is to smile at everyone you come in contact with. So far you have been highly successful. Highly, highly successful, you little flirt. I am happy to say that your smiles are non-discriminating thus far, but you are beginning to pick up on the fact that the ones with the long hair and the higher pitched voices typically oogle over you more. How could they not fall in love with your sweet partially-toothed grin, your shoulder shrugs and your pretending to be shy? I just hope you are slow to catch on to the extent to which we are wrapped around your finger.

So, buddy. Let’s talk about the squawking, shall we? WHAT. IS. THAT. ABOUT?! I am trying every thing I can to help you, teaching you sign language, being readily available and attentive to you, but still. The squawking. You actually went as far as to squawk in my face a few days ago in the grocery line, you were in a pack on my front and we were both O so done waiting. I gave you a grumpy face and started whispering in your ear to distract you and also cue you into a more appropriate volume level (O boy would those gentle parenting books be so ! proud !) but you didn’t give a hoot about my Dr. Sears approved parenting strategies. You just went on squawking in my right ear drum until every last item was scanned and bagged. Then, you smiled nicely and waved to the cashier as we exited the store.

You are a puzzle, little one. A messy, busy, smiley puzzle.

As puzzling, exciting, entertaining, and frustrating as your behavior can be, I wouldn’t trade this moment in your development for the whole wide world. I really wouldn’t. I feel like now more than ever before you are my little buddy, my daily companion on our adventures (like grocery trips and play dates). If it were even possible for a toddler to make errands more fun, you do it. You smile and giggle and flirt your way through the day with me and my heart is on the very verge of bursting. Even with the squawking.

To the moon and back buddy,


14 Responses to “a letter to my thirteen month old”

  1. Cara @ Mischief and Laughs

    Aw…. So sweet.

    As for the volume level, be prepared. Children seem to have a God-given, preset volume. Some kids are just LOUD. Sure, you can (and should) teach them appropriate volume levels for particular situations, but just be aware that you are fighting an uphill battle if your child is naturally one of the louder varieties of children.

    Also, I saw your tweet about the convertable car seat… just curious what you got. A good quality convertable seat is one of the best investements you can make (and if you get the right one, that will fit the child until at least age 5, it will actually save you money in the long run, because you won’t have to rebuy a new harnessed seat when your child outgrows the convertable before they are ready for a booster.)

    • AllisonO

      We did invest in a good one. It’s a Britax and goes up to 65lbs. Thankfully there is a new line of Britax seats coming out this month so by buying last season’s model we saved about $100. I’m very happy with our choice!

      • Erika

        how long do they recommend kids stay in car seats now?? I was LITERALLY 65 pounds in 9th grade. hahaha I can only imagine my mom making me stay in a carseat until that age if that is the new weight recommendation.

        • annemarie

          In Canada, it’s something like a booster until 9 years old or 75 pounds (don’t know for sure as we’re not there yet). It’s funny cause I was fighting my sister for the front seat when we were 4 and 7. But it makes sense because all back seats have shoulder belts that would hurt little necks.

        • Cara @ Mischief and Laughs

          Rear-facing until age 2 (or longer if your convertable seat allows, many go to 35 lbs rear-facing)

          Front-facing in 5 pt harness until at least 40 lbs (although many kids reach this at age 3, and a 3 yr old is not mature enough to sit in a booster correctly. A safer guideline is at least age 5, and over 40 lbs. Many seats now will harness for 50-65 lbs. Harnessed is MUCH safer than a booster)

          Booster seat until age 7-8, or over 55-57 in depending on your state. Some states still do not have booster laws. Best practices say that your child must fit the 5-point test to go in a seatbelt without a booster.
          1. Does the child sit all the way back against the auto seat?
          2. Do the child’s knees bend comfortably at the edge of the auto seat?
          3. Is the lap belt touching the top of the thighs, not the tummy?
          4. Is the shoulder belt centered on the shoulder and chest?
          5. Can the child stay seated like this for the whole trip?

          Many kids are not tall enough to be in a seat belt without a booster until they are about age 8, sometimes more. Basically, your kid should be the size of a small adult, because that’s who the seatbelts in your car were designed to fit.

      • Cara @ Mischief and Laughs

        That’s great! Britax seats are nice. You’ll be able to rear-face him for a good long while still (much safer), and then harness him front-facing for a long time too.

        I bought our last 2 carseats on closeout (they changed colors or something.) I got a Graco Nautilus (normally $159) for $85, and a First Years True Fit (normally $200) for $99. You just have to watch out for the expiration dates on the closeout seats, they are usually already 6-12 months old. But Britaxes are good for a longer time anyway. :)

        For anyone reading, I highly recommend the First Years True Fit as a slightly lower cost alternative to a Britax seat. It has many of the same features (harnesses to 65 lbs, nice latch connectors, EPS foam throught, etc)

  2. Erika

    Can I just say that I hope I can me mr. charming himself some day?? So happy that you have this little partner in crime, Allison. xox.

  3. LCW

    My daughter (11 months old) has a high pitched shriek that calls dogs in other cities. We try to “ignore” and whisper to her to reinforce an “inside” appropriate voice. She either a) laughs or b) shrieks louder, like it’s a game. She’s always happy when she’s doing it, so it’s a hard line to walk. A fun age indeed!!

  4. Tiffany

    I’m just glad I’m not the only one with a shrieker. Gosh, the noises this child makes could shatter glass. I can’t believe how fast the two of them are growing. Hopefully soon, hey can meet for a little shrieking contest of their own. =) XOXO

  5. Yama

    Oh man, those shriekers, right? Our oldest used to be like that. When she was ready to go, she was ready to GO. NOW. Thankfully, that didn’t happen toooooo terrible often. Our youngest is happy and content as long as Momma is in sight.

    You ended up getting a Britax? Do you like it so far? My husband and I are going to need to get a new carseat whenever we have another baby and we want one of those all-in-one convertibles too. Pricey, but I’ve heard SUCH good things about them!!

  6. Amanda Helin

    Squawking…..why the squawking…how do I make it STOP??? It’s our new “normal” means of communicating over here. Oh, happy days:-)


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