Yes, Leo and Zoe are one year old already. Both of them. Imagine that!
We are all so busy just trying to keep up with Zoe’s and Leo’s development. The whole house seems to need to be rearranged every few weeks. The rotation of stuff in and out of the house is astounding! We have to get rid of stuff quickly because new stuff has to come in all the time. We’ve installed baby gates and a few cabinet locks, replaced their high chairs with booster seats, sold off or given away tons of old things like bouncy seats, changing tables, clothing, mobiles, pillows, blankets, Bumbos, and more. We need a new dining room table – our current one only seats four and every meal is mad chaos with mix-matched chairs being slid all over the place. We had to rent a storage unit for our overflow because we’re using all the rooms in our house now. I had a bit of a break in the buying of new clothes for a while – they’ve been wearing their current set of clothing for about 3 months – but it’s about time again to clear out the closet, sort through the hand-me-downs, and visit the consignment store. And I think the next big change will be that I’ll have to start buying shoes for them! I can’t write an integrated, thoughful post, but here are some bullet points about our babies:
- My favorite thing about Leo right now is his laugh. My favorite thing about Zoe right now is how she mimics everything we do.
- Zoe was bigger than Leo by a few ounces at last check. I suspect the difference will be even greater when they go in for their one-year check up. Did I schedule that yet? Yikes, I might not have.
- Both Leo and Zoe are at about the same level of mobility. They both crawl and can go up and down a single step, although they still fall on their faces sometimes. They haven’t yet figured out how to go down backwards, even though I keep trying to teach them. Zoe is currently fascinated by stairs and has climbed halfway up the staircase with our au pair, Ale, right behind her. Leo stands up a lot more than Zoe. He cruises a bit, but mostly he just likes to stand, as he has since he was just a few months old. They can both balance for a second or two while standing, and they can both take steps while holding an adult’s hands. Leo is much better at it than Zoe, but I won’t guess who will walk first or when it will happen. It could be tomorrow or it could be months away for either of them.
- Zoe has five teeth and Leo has three. Neither one seems overly bothered by teething. Zoe looks positively toothy when she smiles and it’s really cute. Leo still has a gummy smile and it’s hard to imagine what he’ll look like with teeth on top.
- Leo loved to get into the pots and pans, but we had to put a lock on his favorite cabinet because there is a sharp screw sticking out of the wall in there. He also likes to move furniture, especially big furniture. If it’s big, he’ll try to move it, and he usually succeeds. So far, this is not a problem because we’ve rearranged the furniture for safety, but that could change as he gets stronger. It’s fun to watch him drag a heavy chair or table across the room. Zoe would rather sit in a chair. She loves sitting up in a chair like a big girl.
- Both Zoe and Leo point, and I know Zoe waves but it’s hard to tell if Leo does because he’s always waving his hands around trying to tell us all kinds of things. But the pointing is thrilling for us and for him! He points to everything he wants to explore and we carry him to it if he can’t get to it himself. He loves pictures of people on the walls and all the knicknacks on the shelves. Zoe’s bye-bye wave is adorable.
- Both Leo and Zoe have done some sign language, but they’re not really good enough with their hands to use it successfully. They are both pretty good at communicating, though, and they communicate in very different ways. Leo is a horrible whiner. I mean, he is really, really irritating. If he wants something and doesn’t get it immediately, he does this very loud whining cry. And he WANTS. Oh, that boy wants everything, all the time. Especially food. He can’t stand that other people have food on their plates that he is not allowed to eat. Mealtimes are not pleasant and it’s very hard to make Leo happy because there is always food on the table that he can’t grab, or a drink that he wants to try and that means that he whines whines whines. But along with that, we get strong expressions of pleasure and the huge hand movements and waving that help us understand him. Zoe is more subtle, but I seem to understand her most of the time. I’m not sure if that is true for Adam and Ale, but for me, Zoe is just a pleasure to communicate with. I feel like I can just ask her a question and I’ll get an answer in the form of a look or a little gesture or even a noise. In this way, Zoe is more like Sam than Leo is.
- Both Leo and Zoe speak a bit, too. Leo definitely says two words: “no” and “banana.” They sound like “nuh” and “na-nuh,” but there is no doubt in my mind that he is using the words for the right concepts. Well, okay, he likes to say “no” when he means other things, but sometimes he means “no.” And he definitely asks for bananas, his favorite food. It’s all about values, people. Zoe doesn’t say any specific words regularly, but she mimics sounds that we make quite often. Yesterday, she clearly tried to say, “key” and “ten.” But mostly, both of them still just babble. Oh, and they scream. Sammy taught them how to do that really well.
- They feed themselves their bottles!
- Both Leo and Zoe have new nicknames. Zoe is “conejito,” for bunny, because she makes a wrinkly-nose face and sniffs like a bunny. Leo is “perrito,” for puppy, because I’ve always called him puppy. Conejito and perrito.
- Zoe seems to need more cuddles than Leo. She will come over and crawl into my lap and I’ll just hug her for a minute, then she’ll happily go back to her play. Leo doesn’t do that. Leo is also militantly independent. He gets upset when he can’t do something himself and he does not like to be helped. In this way, Leo is more like Sam than Zoe is.
- Leo and Zoe had their first bath together last week! They don’t need any special bathtub anymore and they can sit and scoot around well enough that it’s safe enough to let them both be in the water at the same time. I haven’t actually done this – Ale did it – she gives them most of their baths. But I watched, and two naked babies in a tub is almost too much cuteness to bear.
- Both of them love being read to, but Zoe especially seems to love books. She gravitates to them and flips the pages more often, although Leo is actually better at flipping pages. He does it in the typical Leo way, though – he takes the page and flips it as fast and hard as he can.
- Zoe and Leo have always been aware of each other, but in the past week or two, they’ve begun to play with each other. I’ve seen them hide from each other and do a kind of peekaboo game, I’ve seen them lean towards each other and butt heads (not sure what that’s about, but they both cried and then did it again), and I’ve seen Zoe do things to try to make Leo laugh. Once I sneezed and it made them both laugh, so I kept doing fake sneezes. Eventually, Zoe mimicked me: she made a little noise and threw her head forward. But when she looked up, she wasn’t looking at me for my reaction, she was looking at Leo for his. Awesome!
- Zoe tries to mimic everything we do. If I put something on my head, she puts something on her head. If I make a face, she tries to make the same face. This is how I know she is saying words – because I’ll say something and she’ll say it right back. Leo does this too, just not as often as Zoe. I had forgotten how wonderful this mimicry was. There’s just nothing better than a one year old. Except two of them.