Today you turned one and what an exciting day it was, almost as exciting as your first day in this world one year ago. Today was luckily much less painful for your mama. One year ago your Daddy and I were in the hospital getting ready for your birth. I had gone into labor almost two days prior and had taken final exams while having semi-regular but not yet painful contractions on two consecutive days and yet when we went to the doctor on the night before your birth she told us it wasn’t time for you to come. You, however, as we would soon learn, like to make liars out of people. We drove through In-N-Out after having an argument because your father, as you probably have noticed by now, gets cranky when he’s hungry and wanted to eat at the restaurant and I, being 39 weeks pregnant and having regular contractions, wanted to drive-through and eat at home. I, of course, won that argument. We arrived home around 8pm and, just as I sat down with my grilled cheese sandwich and fries, my water broke. You were ready. And your father and I would soon learn that we were not.
We packed up and headed to the hospital where I sat in an uncomfortable hospital bed having contractions that had started to become more painful. You would not appear until the next night. It was Pearl Harbor Day and the fourth night of Hanukkah when you came into the world. You were small and beautiful and covered in yuck when they put you on my chest and you cried a funny little cry.
We arrived home two days later and would not get a full night of sleep for about five months. Our first few weeks with you were wonderful and miserable. Your daddy and I walked around like zombies. You would not stay asleep if we set you down (most likely due to our poor swaddling skills which were no match for your strong little arms) and if you were awake you were crying. So one of us would be awake at all times holding you so that you could sleep comfortably or giving you a pinkie to suck on because you would not use a pacifier. Daddy took the night shift with me waking up every three hours to feed you, and then Daddy slept from six in the morning until noon. Our favorite part of the day was getting out of the house to pick up some lunch or baby supplies, we were always amazed that the world was still out there continuing as if nothing had changed when, for us, everything had changed.
And then everything began getting better and easier when a few weeks later we discovered a swaddling blanket that had velcro and a pacifier that you would actually use. You began sleeping in your crib for four to five hours at a time and Daddy and I started feeling like real people again. And you would give us the greatest gift of all five months later when you began sleeping through the night, a full eight, then ten, then twelve hours.
The rest of the year has gone by in a flash. First we were amazed when you were awake and alert (and not crying) for a few minutes a day, and then around six weeks you smiled and then you laughed and then you rolled over and then you got up on all fours and then you crawled and then you walked and now you are unstoppable. You have grown from this tiny crying machine into a less tiny person with a great personality and sense of humor.
You wake up in the morning happy and smiling. You “oooh” at the sunshine when I open the blinds. You dance to the Sesame Street theme song smiling and looking at me as if saying “isn’t this great!” You eat most of your meals well except when you feel like putting food in your hair. You are transitioning to one three hour afternoon nap a day after which you awake happy and ready to play. Though playing is not quite an accurate description of what you do all day. I think adventuring is more apt. You have only an occasional and mild interest in your toys. You would rather pull books out of the bookshelf, rummage through drawers, pull clean clothes out of the dresser and put them in the hamper, and climb on anything and everything you can find. You are already very much like your Mommy and Daddy. You get cranky when you are tired or hungry just like your Daddy and you are social and always smiling like your Mommy (you want to say “hi” and “bye” to every person we see when we go out shopping). Like both of your parents you have discovered a love of books. All day long you bring me books to read to you. You love the “Olivia” books and your “This is not a Pumpkin” book. Your vocabulary is rapidly expanding. Although you say none of them perfectly, you are up to about 14 words. Your latest are “light” which you pronounce “ligh,” “loud” which you shout and pronounce “alou,” and “no more” when you are done eating which you pronounce “nama” and say while shaking your head. Most amazing to us is something you have just begun doing in the last two weeks. You put your dirty clothes (and sometimes clean clothes) into the laundry hamper. We didn’t even have to show you how to do it. One day you just picked up your dirty pajamas after I had taken them off of you and you carried them over to your hamper and put them in smiling as your Daddy and I clapped for you, now anytime we take clothes off of you, you pick them right up and walk them to the hamper. What a big girl you are becoming!
Although it was not my plan, I love being at home with you all day. You do wear me out though, I am exhausted at the end of every day. I’m not sure I could ever have as much energy as you do without taking some sort of illegal drug. Despite my exhaustion I would not trade my life with you for anything. You are the most wonderful and amazing thing to ever happen to your Daddy and me. We love you more than we could ever describe in words. And even though you will grow and become your own independent person, going out in the world without your parents by your side, to your Daddy and me you will always be the tiny crying baby that lay on my chest, small and beautiful and covered in yuck and crying a funny little cry.