Today you are one year old! Happy birthday! I cannot believe that you’re one. I spent the last week putting together your baby book (and this letter will go in it this evening, with the rest of the pictures and letters) and even having chronicled the past 12 months in alarming detail, I’m still blown away that the year is over. I’m just shocked that you’re already one.
I’m happy to say that this month has been awesome. You’ve had a cold, you’ve gotten 1.5 more teeth, so there should’ve been high levels of misery, but there weren’t. You were a joy. You have been sleeping wonderfully, including all the way through the night now, and the best part was that aside from about 5 minutes of crying on the second night, we didn’t have to do any real training. You just seemed to get it, and it was/is awesome. You nap like a champ and absolutely adore your room and bed, which we love too. I hated the idea of forcing you into the crib, so knowing that we were able to find a sleeping arrangement that you are comfortable and safe in, makes me very, very happy.
Despite your introverted parents, you are an incredibly social baby. You smile and wave to everyone around you and if they don’t notice, sometimes you yell gibberish at them to get their attention. If we tell you to say hi, you’ll wave your little baby hands until someone waves back. You’re working on bye-bye, but it’s not quite as consistent yet.
You said your first word on April 21st (aside from mama and dada) and against all odds, it was dog. I cannot tell you how much this amuses me. In a house full of cats, with a mother who hates dogs, your first word was dog. And you are OBSESSED with them. Tonight a dog walked past us and you clenched your fists and at the top of your lungs screamed “DOG” as clear as day. Earlier today at your birthday party you did a hilarious bear crawl to get to the dog, even though you hate grass more than almost anything.
You are not walking or standing independently yet, which somedays I don’t mind and other days makes me a little worried. You just don’t seem to want to yet, and that’s fine- you can take your time. You are hilariously resistant to standing about half the time right now, unless it’s on your terms. If we try to stand you up when you’re not into it, it’s like you have no bones in your body. Or alternately, it’s like you’re incapable of straightening out your legs- whichever is more effective at keeping you from having to stand. Most of the time you just want us to put you down so you can crawl.
Over the past few weeks you have suddenly emerged as Mr. Independent. When I get down on the floor and try to play with you, you’ll come over and give me a little bit of love and then wander to play alone. You will happily play by yourself for up to an hour at a time and it’s pretty cool to watch. You love to take any ball you can find and roll it back and forth along the entertainment center and if we sit in front of you, you’ll roll it back and forth with us, too.
Your likes this month include: Dad, Aunt Claire, Mom, all the many assorted grandparents, any meat/protein in small chunks, cheese, kiwi, strawberry, the cats, dogs, being on the floor, Sesame Street (especially Elmo and Murray), pups, Glen, sippy cups (especially to play with, not so much to drink from), ice cream, cookies, your mother’s alarming lack of restraint with letting you try new foods.
Your dislikes this month include: vegetables, not getting the toy you want the moment you want it, diaper changes, long car rides, teething. Honestly, there’s not much more you don’t like.
The theme of your party today was Dr. Seuss’s Oh the Places You’ll Go, which I chose because I liked the idea of thinking of this year not as the end of babyhood, but as the beginning of your real life. We read the book last night and I found myself in tears at the end. I was doing so well, right up until “Kid, you’ll move mountains” line. There’s something about that line- something about thinking about all the amazing things you’ll do that just hits me right in the heart. I have no doubt in this world that you were meant for big things. I don’t mean fame or fortune necessarily, but you were meant to do something significant. To move some mountain, to make something happen. And while I am admittedly a little sad to be marking the end of babyhood and the entry to toddlerhood, I am also just so unbelievably excited to see what you have in store for us.
Next week is my 30th birthday and everyone keeps reminding me with that ominous tone- the one that is meant to make me feel old and scared and things like that. But I just keep thinking about how this past year has been the best year of my whole life. How I get to do this- be your mother, have this incredible family, for the rest of my life, and suddenly, the number just doesn’t seem that important. I have so many years left and I am so grateful to get to spend them as your mother.
I know that it may be some time before these letters mean very much to you- probably until you are a parent yourself, but it has been so fun to sit down each month and think back on all the things you’ve done and enjoyed. I hope you know that though not all of it was pretty, you really had a great first year. You were loved by many, many people and you were one of the happiest babies I’ve ever seen. We are thankful each day to be your parents, to get to love you and raise you. To see your cheesy grin and hear your easy laugh. You are the best thing that’s ever happened to us, and this year has been unquestionably, the best year of our lives.
Happy birthday to you, my sweet boy. This is just the start of so many wonderful things and of so many big adventures. We love you so very much and cannot wait to see what the next months and years bring.