Better late than never. That’s why your ‘baby book’ will start at 13 months. It’s not that you magically appeared on Earth at a year old, but rather that it took me over a year to adjust to mom-hood enough to have the clarity of mind to sit and write down a couple of things that I want to remember from this stage in your awesome little life.

That smile.

Eating

You love to eat. (Like your mom. And her mom.)

This past week you started using a little baby fork. But if you can’t get the food on there fast enough, you alternate one fork-bite, one fist-bite.

Your favorite foods change every day. It’s not that you’re picky. You just like new tastes and flavors all the time – which we love. So one day you might eat little pieces of apple, plain yogurt, a broccoli omelette, some mango, blackeyed peas, carrot purée, mashed banana with cinnamon, Cheerios and cucumber. The next day you might eat zucchini, leftover lasagna, clementines (today’s favorite food), Gouda chunks, butternut puréé, green beans, watermelon and spinach eggs.

The only food you haven’t liked is papaya. Last week you found and ate a lime. And you were seriously ticked that I took the peel away before you ate it all too.

That laugh.

Sleeping

Finally, finally… you sleep now. You’ve always slept well at night, but naps are finally working too. Most days you wake up around 6:30am. Your dad takes you for an hour or so to let me sleep. You nap after having been awake about three hours. Repeat. Repeat at bedtime around 8pm.

Every time you go to sleep here at home, you get swaddled (still!!), a bottle and your music. Usually you’re out cold within 10 mins. I’ve read that these sleeping props are a bad thing, but I totally don’t care at this point. It works for you us.

That energy!

Talking

You wake up talking. Seriously. Your eyes are barely open and you’re chattering away about your dreams, the weather, the elections… We don’t really know what. But you sound very serious and want to be sure we are up to speed.

You say ‘Mamamama’ when you can’t find me or want my attention.

‘Hi-eee!’ is yoir standard greeting.

You say ‘oh-vwah’ (au revoir) for everything else. Hold me, goodbye, I want Cheerios, who is that… It’s all ‘Oh-vwah!’

That grin.

Playing

You’ve started walking. The funny thing is that you walk more when you’re around other kids. I guess you see them do it and want to be big. But your dad and I must be way too old for you to want to impress because you still crawl around the apartment most of the time.

You love to chase people. And cats. And balls.

For some crazy reason, you love being tickled or startled. You think it’s hilarious for someone to shout BOO! and make you jump or to tickle your little chubby belly.

That boy. (Well, both of them.)

Praying

“He’s so strong. He loves people, doesn’t he? He’s so expressive!”

This is what we hear, over and over, buddy. You are a little refrigerator! You’re not really tall, but you are a block of solid muscle – and very coordinated. Obviously not something(s) you get from me.

You love, love, love people. You lunge into the pizza delivery guy’s arms and just beam at him, talking a kilometre a minute, then wail like your best friend is moving away when he leaves.

Speaking of which, you see your best friend (JB) nearly every day. But each time you guys see each other, you get so excited! You babble away, waving your arms, filling him in on all that’s happened since you last hung out. Then you guys chase each other around the room.

You’ve gotten a little reputation for biting when you get excited. We went to a party recently and some of the moms grabbed up their babies when you came near. I guess they’d heard about your chompers. It broke my heart, but you just grinned and moved on to ‘pat’ the baby who was still within your reach. “Gently, gently…” we said. And you just smiled, showing all eight of your teeth, and said “Hi-ee, hi-ee…” to the little baby girl. (Bless her trusting mother.)

You are such a sweet, energetic little boy. Your muscles are balanced by your compassion. When I cry, you break down immediately and cry with me. You pat my arm, the way we pat your back when you’re upset.

This is what we pray for you… That you will live out the meaning of your name – defender of men. I knew when we chose your name and dedicated you to God that it would mean one day having to let you go so you could fight for others. I don’t want that day to come, but I am so proud of the little man you are and I can already see how your strength, compassion and words will help to set others free.

Photos by Jeana De Vroome.