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Archive for November, 2013

One year.

Dear Hank,

You are 1 year old. A whole year has gone by since you popped out and changed everything. You — and life with you — have gotten better and better. Along the way, I kept thinking I loved you the most I could possibly love you, that you were the best baby you could ever be, and then I’d realize a few weeks or days or minutes later that you were even better now, and I loved you even more. If you keep it up at this pace, my heart will surely burst.

You marked the occasion of your first birthday by finally deciding to clap. I’d been trying to coax clapping out of you for months — I’ve seen much younger babies able to do it, dude! get with the program! — but you’d refused. Then you basically woke up clapping on Saturday and kept it up all day long. I’m so mad at myself for not capturing video of you at your birthday party sitting in your high chair, covered in cake and frosting, clapping gleefully while your guests shared in your joy and laughter. You are such a crowd-pleaser, and you love people. I’m not quite sure how your quiet parents created such an outgoing little guy!

Other things you’ve learned to do in the past couple of weeks:

You walk, farther and with more confidence every day. You still fall frequently, and you still occasionally walk sideways, a byproduct of all the time you spent cruising along the furniture. You still need to pull or push up to a standing position, though I suspect you are physically capable of standing up straight from the floor — as with so many things you’ve learned to do at your own pace, it just needs to occur to you to do it, and you’ll be off.

You have a few signs: “all done,” “more,” “milk.” It’s unclear if you really know what each sign means, but you at least get the context right, signing “all done” and “more” at meal time and “milk” when you’re tired (since I only nurse you before sleep now). You’ll also make the signs if we say the words to you.

Watching you acquire language in different ways is an incredible experience. You understand more and more of what we say to you. You’ve seemed to understand our tone of voice for a while, but now you are responding to specific words. You wave when we tell you to wave, and you purse your lips when we say “whistle.” The other night in the bath my mom told you to blow bubbles, which she’d only taught you the night before, and you leaned over and blew bubbles in the bath water. Every day, you understand something new — and you distance yourself even further from the tiny, squirming, helpless baby we brought home from the hospital one year ago today.

My parents have been here for a week and a half, and it has been so wonderful to watch them spend time with you. You clearly know them and love them. I worry about their leaving in a couple of days — that they will miss you too much but also that you will miss them. You and your Gramps have a repertoire of inside jokes — looking at the ceiling, dangling socks from your mouths — the mere suggestion of which send you into hysterics. Your Gran has been teaching you all sorts of important things, like how to drink milk from a straw cup and how to work a dimmer switch. They’ve taken you to the park and to your music class, and you’ve spent a lot of time outside with Gran helping her work in the yard. Nothing makes me wish they weren’t so far away more than watching the three of you fall in love.

And now, you are a 1-year-old. You are a toddler. You are a big boy! The past year has been wild. I’ve experienced pain I never knew I could bear, both in childbirth and in the early days (weeks, months) of breastfeeding. I’ve felt things I did not expect or want, such as the early evening blues during my first few weeks of motherhood. I’ve been very pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoy staying home almost full time with you, which had never been my plan. I’ve been so proud of myself for all of these things, too — for toughing out the pain, for seeking the emotional support I needed, for finding creative ways to keep the endless hours of playtime with you interesting. And most of all, I’ve felt such intense love for you that sometimes I don’t know what to do with it all.

I look back at pictures and videos of you over the past year — I posted at least one a day to your Tumblr! — and I miss my little baby, but I don’t want to go back. You really do keep getting better and better, and I enjoy every day with you even more than the last. I can’t wait to find out what the next year brings — surely a new set of challenges but also even more laughter, even more joy, even more love.

I love you so, so much, my sweet, happy boy.

Love,

Mama

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