Sunday, July 1

Today is Julia’s first birthday! All four of her grandparents came to Boston to celebrate (somehow we don’t seem to have any pictures of this, so you’ll just have to trust us that they were here.) Unfortunately, her uncle Nick was not able to attend, but her cousin Cheri did come over from Cambridge. Yesterday we had a birthday party -- we grilled skewers with chicken, beef, shrimp, and vegetables for the adults, while Julia celebrated with her first grilled cheese sandwich. I baked a chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream frosting (which, if I do say so myself, was pretty yummy), and we put a candle in it and sang Happy Birthday,” but we didn’t let her have any, because we are mean parents. She opened her many presents and was in fine form. She played with each toy she received, laughing and waving her hands and thoroughly enjoying it, before moving on to the next one.

She especially enjoyed the push toys she received — a “corn popper” from Gramma and Grampa and a wooden clacking cat named Lucy from Spike and Annie. Although at first she couldn’t figure out how to operate them, she quickly got the hang of pushing the stick in front of her to make the toys go, and sometimes even holding it at the correct angle to make noise! Julia had a fabulous time, but demonstrated that she’s still not completely clear on the use of the nurse sign. In a moment of delight during the present opening, she began signing as if, instead of  “nurse,” it meant “Oh, happiness!

Thursday, July 5

Josh and I have a prediction for Julias first word: uh-oh. When she drops something, one of us will usually say uh-oh, and recently she has begun trying to imitate us, copying our tone and saying uh or uh-uh with the same inflection.

She also learned to go down stairs today! We had been trying to teach her a while ago, but both the “backwards crawling” and the “butt bump” methods made her very mad, so we gave up. Today at the park she kept leaning out over stairs trying to walk down, which made me very nervous, so I decided it was time to try again. We climbed some stairs, and at the top, I told her to “sit down,” and sat her down, then “scooch, scooch, scooch,” helping her inch forward until her feet touched the next step. By the time we reached the bottom, she could follow the instructions without help, and she has remembered how to do it, although she sometimes has to be reminded.

We had a possible sighting of the “eat” sign today. We have been reinforcing the “eat” and “drink” signs to help her understand that “nurse” means “nurse.” She began making the nurse sign while eating, and I said “No, you’re not nursing, you’re eating!” and making the eat sign. She stopped making the nurse sign and put one finger to the corner of her mouth. She did this twice, so it could have been an attempt to make the eat sign, or, as always, it could have just been a thing she was doing. We’ll see...

Saturday, July 7

Julia is thinking about talking. She’s increasingly mimicking inflections, today copying us saying “up up up,” “mmmmm,” (while she was eating), and once, “yea!” She’s also getting closer on the nurse sign, now making it only when she’s hungry or thirsty and always while she’s nursing. We’re working hard to show her the eat and drink signs so she’ll understand the difference.

She also wanted to walk, rather than crawl, up the stairs today. I had to hold her hands, of course, but she was able to lift each foot onto the next step and walk up like an adult. And curiously, she’s begun stomping one foot, sometimes to music, but other times just out of happiness or for reasons we can’t understand.

Monday, July 9

Julia had her 12-month well visit to the pediatrician today. She had grown more between her 9- and 12-month visits than she did between 6 and 9, but she still remains on the small end of the scale. As always, Dr. Landis, her pediatrician, said she was doing really well. He tried a test in which he handed her tongue depressors to see what she would do once her hands were full. When Julia had one in each hand and was offered a third, she quickly transferred them both to one hand so she’d have a free hand to get the third, then transferred it to her other hand to get the fourth. Dr. Landis said that was a 15-month-old skill she has mastered, called hoarding. Just what we need — two hoarders in the family!

Thursday, July 12

Julia got her fifth tooth today. We knew it was coming, because she had been drooling up a storm. But more exciting, she has spoken her first word! About a half-dozen times today, she said “uh-oh.” Although it sounds a bit more like “uh-aah,” it has perfect “uh-oh” inflections. Several times she was imitating me, but other times she would say it spontaneously after something fell on the ground, or when she fell down, or (her prophetic uh-oh, our personal favorite), before she purposefully dropped something.

Thursday, July 19

Julia is on her third wave. When she first began waving in March, it was a whole arm wave, with her elbow bent, her hand floppy, and the arm moving up and down from the shoulder. After a while she stopped waving, and when she started again, her wave was closer to the Queen Elizabeth wave, with her arm and hand held upright and waving back and forth from the elbow, like a windshield wiper with a small range of motion. That was followed by another hiatus in waving. When she began waving again just recently, it was a hand-only wave, with her fingers bending at the knuckles. It’s very cute.

Wednesday, July 26

Julia is saying “uh-oh” all the time now, and finally has the “nurse” sign down, but still hasn’t made any other signs. We don’t think we’ve been sufficiently diligent about making signs other than “nurse,” and now that she’s said her first word it makes it even harder to remember to sign, since we’re always thinking about what she might say next. 

She’s having a great time walking up the stairs and now always wants to go up making “big steps” while you hold her hands or she hauls herself up by the railing, rather than crawling. We’ve also learned that she can walk backwards, when she was frightened by an unfamiliar object and began backing away from it slowly.

Monday, July 30

Recently we’ve been working on Julia’s understanding of  “Dada.” She says it a lot, but it doesn’t always seem to be related to Josh, although if I say “where’s Daddy?” she will look in Josh’s direction. We have been trying to show her that “Dada” means daddy by me pointing at Josh and saying, “Julia, who’s that?” or Josh saying, “Julia, who am I?” Today she began to answer “Dada” each time, so we thought she understood. But when Josh pointed at me, asking “who’s that?” Julia gleefully replied, “Dada!” showing that we had only trained her that the answer to the question, not that she understood the meaning for the word. Oh well.