We've just had a weekend visit from the grandparents (my in-laws), who came to Prague to celebrate Baby M's first birthday with us.
He had a chocolate cupcake to devour and a big sister to help him open his presents. The clear favorite was the rocking zebra (a rocking horse shaped like a zebra), which both children enjoy playing with. It is too small for K, of course, but as a new and somewhat fun toy meant for someone else she instantly realized it was all she had ever wanted in life...
I think it has increased M's worth in her eyes, having something that she really wants to play with. He is kind enough to let her ride, too, but I have to remind her that it goes both ways: it's not ok to play with his toys and make him stay away from hers. It was touch and go for a little bit but overall I think she handled the "it's someone else's birthday and not mine" issue fairly well. I hope next year will be even better since it won't be the first one.
I wondered up to the day of his birthday (Thursday) if M would take off walking, but it seems he has joined the ranks of us slackers, walking after a year. I walked at 14 months and the Slovak at 16 months, so we were pretty surprised when K was up and running around at 10 months. M will take one or two steps at a time sometimes but otherwise he refuses to walk or stand without holding on to something.
He hasn't said any first words yet, but he can sort of do a few signs and recognizes several signs and words. He's generally exhibiting signs of intelligence (problem-solving, understanding instructions, that sort of thing) that we didn't really see in his sister at 12 months. She was a good 14 months old and still looking at us like we were speaking Martian, no matter how common the word. (Meaning not even a flicker of recognition even at basic words referring to things like milk.)
M has not been a very talkative (babbling) baby so far, but in recent weeks this seems to be changing. He is getting better with his tongue, can blow raspberries and stick it out all the way, and is making a greater number of sounds. He was born with a tongue tie so this was a bit of a concern.
His pediatrician diagnosed him at 6 days old and recommended we have it snipped at one year, but I consulted with the doctors at the hospital where he was born and they said it is better to do it right away, so we did. I think it was the right decision and it improved his nursing right away, but I still wonder if there will be any leftover effects on his speech. This is why I'm glad to see him stick out his little tongue and master new sounds, because it is really pretty recent.
Sometimes I feel like he understands Apo better than me, or at least as well as me - he definitely understands "pitie", for example, but I haven't noticed him react to "drink" particularly in English. And sometimes he responds better to "nie" than "no", but that could be a discipline problem as much as anything else of course. :-D
He is an incredibly good-natured baby - excuse me, one-year-old boy - who puts himself down for naps when he's tired and who will eat anything you give him.
I can't wait to see how he grows up.