Here it is, month 11, written by Jon. I’m trying not to be hurt by the excitement over Jon writing a post vs me, but I get it. It’s interesting to see a different perspective and I’m so happy he expressed interest in doing this. I would like to state for the record that he wrote this early in the morning the EXACT DAY Leo turned 11 months, but our internet was down and thus, here it is a bit late by no fault of Jon. Enjoy! : )
A few weeks ago, I brashly committed to writing Leo’s 11 month MidwestMountainess post. Since year 1 of our relationship, I have learned that trying to replicate Ali’s strengths is impossible and unproductive, so here is my version.
This blog and Ali’s social media posts do seem to bring joy and perspective to her followers, Ali’s closest people, and Ali herself. I hear comments all the time about Leo, his progress, and some events I’m not even aware of. “My” camp doesn’t tend to comment or acknowledge their loyal following, but I know the truth and so do the website statistics. Busted! You’re reading and enjoying these the minute they hit your screen, just like me! A little too cautious to post a comment for all to see and judge, but always enjoying when Ali will. Thought so! But it’s that exact trait that I have come to admire about Ali in recent years. She is a natural introvert and tough for people to get to know, at first, but she has continued advancing with comfort and confidence in her own skin that allows for her to express the truth, the good, the challenging, the controversial, and most of all, the confidence to raise an amazing little boy the best she knows how. She continually attracts people in the process, sometimes without their own admission. Ali’s an amazing mom and I considered writing this entire post about her. However, I realized there is no need, it’s all connected and everything is because of her.
Leo has been absolutely everything I could have hoped for in a son. From the moment he arrived, I thought he was a great looking baby. I’m sure every parent feels that way, but I wasn’t convinced I would. Ali and I have certain “opposites attract” dynamics, but one similarity that everyone acknowledges is our skinny legs. Leo? One of the longest babies the nurse had ever seen and is now 96th percentile – height; 34th percentile – weight. Haha, I love it. Pros and cons in the skinny life, I can parent that.
From day 1, I have appreciated Leo’s demeanor. I’m not sure I could classify it as his personality just yet, but I hope it turns out that way. He displays an awareness of what is going on around him, and I believe that means he’s smart. He is interested in people, especially kids his age. Shows no fear of his peers, but also seems to respect their personal space. I think he has leadership traits. He has an admirable thirst for knowledge, loves books (maybe read 50 yesterday), and demonstrates pride when he figures things out. I’ve been teaching him how to throw a ball, turn lights on/off, propel himself down the slide, identify the letters of his name, etc. etc., and when he figures it out he will look up at me with a huge proud smile – which I fully return, and then do it all again.
Month 11 has featured his ability to stand up on his own, and as Ali would put it, “standing is life.” He loves exploring what might be on the coffee tables and getting an elevated perspective. With the exception of repressing my helicopter protection instincts, it’s awesome watching him do it. This month has also exponentially increased the amount he laughs, so much fun.
Leo loves his mama, and me a bit less. He lights up when he and I turn the corner in a room, and there she is! Or, when I come home from work and find him playing with his toys or crushing another homemade meal. I think he eats more than me, definitely faster, but I think a similar quantity. It’s wild. He can’t talk, so he definitely fusses/whines in order to get our attention. Ali gets the brunt of this, but it’s him speaking to her. He knows her so well and knows that she is the one that is there for him. I’m going to do my best to make sure he continues this realization and appreciation. He has about 8 teeth, minimal hair, and is not a fan of car seat restraint. There you have it, month 11.
Parenting opinions are endless and individualized. I actually find comfort in that. Ali and I do things our way, whatever we see as best. Who knows? I hope to give him the best odds of success that I can. Opportunity to find what he is most passionate about and best at. Ultimately, creating an impenetrable level of confidence. Confidence in right vs. wrong. Confidence in his abilities and to persevere through challenges. Confidence to go after what he wants, but to do it with awareness and tact. Thus far, I’m confident that he’s a success and I’m very proud of our 11 month old, Leo.
I’m not the photographer in the family, but here are a few:
What a pleasure to be able to watch him grow! I love this blog and all the other chances that we have to see Leo become…well, Leo. You two are killing it! He’s happy, healthy and another Hendrickson boy for me to love. Keep on keepin’ on. Parenting is one of the greatest gifts this life has to give. What a lucky little boy! He’s beautiful. Well done blogging this 11th month, Jon. Still smiling ear to ear!
The dimples, what a sweet boy! He is a blessing. Merry Christmas!
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