It's hard to believe you are just a month away from turning 1! Where exactly does the time go? This month has been an exceptionally great one and you are amazing us at how fast you are learning.
You officially have a first word. Much to your Mamae's delight and your Papai's chagrin, it's "ma-ma". And boy, do you love that word. You must repeat it a couple thousand times each day, most of which occur when I walk into the room where you are. Never are you more proud of yourself though than when your hard working father arrives home, you quickly crawl over to the door to meet him, and the moment he scoops you up you look at him, grin a sly and knowing smile, and say, "Ma-ma!" He really loves that and usually gets you back by tickling you until you're nearly out of breath. (I should also note that he has since started trying to get you to say Dada or Papai. He doesn't care what you call him, he just wants you to say something that he can claim as his own!)
Most of your random babbling has been replaced this month with "Ma-ma", but you also thrilled your Aunt Kelly when she was able to get you to say her name. (Papai loved that too.) You say "Kkkkk". It sounds like you are trying to clear your throat, but you say it in response to someone prompting you to say Kelly, and you look at her when you say it, so we're counting it as your second word.
Besides your first words, you've been busy perfecting your gross motor skills. You can now crawl on your hands and knees in a more normal way (although you still generally prefer army crawling when you're in a hurry) and everyday you are getting closer to walking. Not only do you cruise the furniture and makes laps around the living room now, you can also cling to walls and make your way down the hall. You can stand alone for about 10 seconds, but you think it's hilarious to fall. So generally when we let go of your hands to let you fica no pe sozinho, you immediately throw yourself to the floor and have a giggle fit.
Just in time to sing Parabens on your birthday, you finally started clapping. It quickly became one of your favorite things to do. If you want someone to pay attention to you, you clap. If you're bored, you clap. If your Papai or I praise you with, "Muito bom, Gabriela!", you clap. If a stranger smiles at you, you clap. When your Nena tells you, "Bravo!", you clap. And, much to my surprise, without doing anything else, I can instruct you to "bate palmas", and you clap. The funniest is when you're on your hands and knees and you get the desire to clap your hands. You know if you clap you'll land on your face, but you'll clap anyway and just brace yourself for the face-planting. (I only wish I could catch it on video!)
As I mentioned before, you are learning at lightening speed these days. Everything you understand (nouns, commands, etc) is in Portuguese, but as you spend more time with extended family and friends we're sure you will start to understand English (and Spanish!) too. (The research on raising bilingual children says the majority language will come - it's the minority language that poses the greatest learning challenge. Hence the reason we speak Portuguese at home with you.) You know lots of body parts and will point them out when we say the word: head, nose, mouth, tongue, eyes, belly, feet, hands. You are learning the names of more and more of your toys, often surprising me that you know it. (For example, we were sitting in your room reading a book the other day. I pointed out a vaca in the book and you immediately crawled away from me and grabbed your big stuffed cow. We don't play with the cow very often, and I had no idea you even knew that one!) You can also follow lots of different commands that we give you, with or without any sign to go with it. The cutest right now is "Coloque seu pezinho dentro sua boca!" (Put your foot in your mouth!)
Your routine has mostly stayed the same this month, except that the 1-hour+ long morning and afternoon naps have shortened to just 45 minutes. (Which saddens me greatly!) We are trying to give you more of the food we eat, when we can, to start the transition to real family meals and are also introducing more spices and flavors to your food (while trying to avoid processed crud, lots of sodium, and sugar). You're not too sure about spicy-hot stuff yet, but you do love yellow mustard. Curry, cinnamon, ginger, and black pepper have all gone over well too. Unfortunately, you figured out this month how to take food out of your mouth. In the past you would just make a face and swallow more slowly if you weren't crazy about something. This month you have started digging the offensive material back out of your mouth and tossing it onto the floor. That's fun.
Some of the highlights of your month have included a weekend trip to downtown St Louis, going to daycare at the YMCA for an hour twice per week while Mamae takes aerobics classes, helping Uncle Nathan pick out a big shiny ring for soon-to-be AUNT Megan (you have excellent taste in jewelry btw - you love diamonds! That's my girl! Your father is scared!), your first rodeo (well, just bull riding and bull fighting), a weekend trip to Quad Cities with Uncle Nathan, going to Jimmy and Jenna's wedding up in Cedar Falls, and the parent-initiated disappearance of your pacifier that you slept with (which was actually a pretty easy transition). Oh, and you also got to share some real big news with family and friends!
We've had a lot of fun this month. You continue to be quite the little social butterfly, you thrive on interaction with other people (especially strangers!), you give Mamae and Papai the best hugs and slobbery kisses, and completely light up with huge gummy smiles whenever one of us enters the room. You enrich our lives more than we ever even imagined possible and make each day so special.
I love you more and more with each passing day,
I love you more and more with each passing day,