A Letter on Turning One

Dear A,

I've been thinking about this letter almost every day since your "first year" calendar in our kitchen "expired" at the end of May.  And shortly after the thought of writing this letter comes the companion thought that I need to get a journal and continue where the first year calendar left off.

You turned one on May 24th.  The night after you had your first real vomit all over your bed (and your jammies and your hair).  We watched you the next day to make sure you were feeling better, and as soon as we were assured you were, we packed up and headed out of town, just like we'd been planning for a few months.  So, in short, your first birthday was spent on the road.  [Sorry you were born on a major traveling holiday weekend, kiddo!]

You are the funniest baby ever!  You do silly things every day to make yourself and everyone around you laugh.  But your big brother can still get the best belly laughs out of you, hands down. 

You are very sensitive, emotionally and physically.  One day, I chided you for chewing up a pear and spitting it out the way you do apples (you love pears!) and your little mouth hung open in an 'O' as you shoved that pear back in your mouth and let out a sad, moaning wail.  It was devastatingly cute and also kind of sad.  Then, we went to your one-year wellness check and Nurse Rachel said they had to get your iron level, which meant a toe prick, but "usually doesn't mean tears".  Well, you started crying when she started massaging your toe before the poke.  And you cried every time you saw the band-aid after the poke.  It was a tough day.

You love to be loved, give love, and be loved again.  Your favorite place is still on my chest, usually in the Ergo carrier.  You love to hold hands.  You love to give kisses.  You love to get kisses and be cuddled and just otherwise fawned over. 

You also love to smack and wrestle and tackle.  It's hard to tell whether you are learning these rough and tumble ways, or if you came with them pre-loaded.  Tonight after I dressed you for bed - and was doing the same for your brother - you came up and smacked me on the back.  It hurts!  You smack Dada in the face when he's resting on the couch.  And the other day, rumor has it that you tackled C for some toy you wanted, and you got really mad and went at him, which ended up with both of you in tears and Nana taking you outside to cool off on the curb.  Yikes!

You're a baby who knows what you want.  Your first (real) words were "uhtat?" (what's that?) and "dat!" (that!).  You've gotten good at pointing at what you want and saying "dat!".  Or, as you've recently discovered, screaming works too.

You love to scream.  Then giggle.  Then scream.  Then giggle.  Repeat.

One of the saddest things about your turning one is that you outgrew being rocked to sleep for naps.  Once we transitioned you to your brother's bed for sleeping several months back, you stopped being rocked to sleep for bed soon afterward.  But in just these last few weeks, you started fighting being rocked at naptime.  I thought you were trying to drop down to one nap a day, but ever since I started laying down with you for naps the way I do with your brother and you for bed, no more fights and still two naps a day!  I did get to rock you to sleep at naptime the other day and then yesterday, you wanted to be cuddled on my chest as we both lay on your bed.  I savored both times. 

The other saddest thing about your turning one is that you've leaned out.  You're not as "squishy" anymore.  Except your legs.  That chunk won't quit!  And I love it!

One not-sad thing was quitting pumping (for me, at least; Dada was very sad about it, because he worried you wouldn't have enough to eat).  I stopped after you were 11 months old and we subsisted on frozen milk until it was almost gone and then transitioned you to cow's milk.  Turns out, whole milk and you don't get along so well.  So... you're on 2%.  Unless you keep losing weight.  Then we'll have to rethink this whole whole-milk thing. 

You also LOVE to make messes!  Dumping things out and turning things over is your specialty.  You love getting into things.  Just today I cleaned up two messes from you grabbing at and sending brother's plate or bowl with leftover food off of the table and onto the floor.  (He is now under strict orders to take his dishes to the sink after eating.)

You understand a lot more than you can say at this point.  You are pretty amazing that way. 

Mostly, though, I just want you to know how much I love you!  You are so fun to be around and I am trying to enjoy every day with you as my baby.  I tell myself every day "there may be another baby (someday), but there is only ONE A!"  So, I hug you and cuddle you and kiss your cheeks and squish you as much as you'll let me (which is a lot!)

I love you, Squish.  I'm so glad you're mine.

"May you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world." -Ray Bradbury