dear finley: eleven months.

hi my sweet little boy.

today you are 11 months old.  it's the last birthday we'll measure in months.  it's so bittersweet for me.  each milestone, i feel overcome with pride and heartbreak at the same time.  there is a good chance you are our last baby, and right now i am trying to soak up every last drop of your baby-sweetness before you grow into a toddler.  it's going to happen so fast.  already you're walking with a baby walker, or holding our fingers.  you're just getting so close.  you're crawling up the stairs, catching yourself when you slip, but still turning around to make sure we're watching you. you're fiercely independent, but still want to be babied.  it's the best of both worlds.  

the hardest part of this month was taking away your milk overnight.  after cutting eight teeth, you were accustomed to waking up 2-4 [!!!] times a night, every night, to nurse.  this wasn't anything we'd ever gone through before, and i didn't feel totally certain that it was the right thing.  i was so worried you'd stop nursing, or be mad at me, or just not be able to handle it.  you were pretty angry the first night, but your daddy went in to soothe you and eventually you put yourself to sleep.  it's been pretty smooth sailing since then, and you're finally -- after 11 months -- sleeping like a champ.  but part of me misses those nightly cuddles, quietly rocking in your chair, your little fingers curled around mine.  this is how it always goes.  so excited to see you grow and change, but not always sure i'm ready to let the baby moments pass.

this past month you've started communicating with us so much more.  you let us know -- loudly -- when you aren't getting what you want.  you hate to wait, especially for food, or to be held.  you take things from your brother and want whatever it is any of us have.  you point at things you want to see and examine, where you want to go, what you want to hold. but more than any of that, you've started signing with us.  it brings me so much joy to see you squeezing your little hand open and shut to ask for milk, or clap your hands in that way you do to ask for more, or flap them around to tell us you're all done with your high chair.  you shake your finger 'no' at me when i tell you not to do something, you shake your head to mean 'no' when you don't want any more of something.  you wave hello and goodbye when we tell you to.  it's just so amazing.  even this second time around finley, it's ever any less amazing, watching you grow and learn and become your own little person.  

keep growing, little fins. just maybe not so fast.

i love you the most, little monkey.

your mama.