A love note to baby E, who turned one 4 months ago, and I am just now blogging about it.
Once upon a time, in November, I wrote a beautiful and long tribute to my sweet little baby e. It was lovely. And then my evil ipad ate it, and it disappeared forever and I lost interest in blogging and who has had the time for that anyway, since our little baby e only likes to sleep with mama by her side (which is so sweet and cuddly and I feel honored to be her go-to person, but also it is frustrating and aggravating and terribly inconvenient for someone who doesn’t quite need 12 hours of sleep per night).
So, baby E, in honor of your first birthday plus a few months, here are some love notes from me to you, peppered with pictures of your real first birthday.
It’s hard for me to believe that you’ve only been with us a year (plus a few months), because it feels like you’ve always been here. You fit so normally and naturally with us that it’s hard to remember what things were like last year, before you were here.
You bring so much joy, little one. You are quick to smile, and frequently reward us with laughs or hilarious gestures. Your personality is outgoing — you are quick to interact with others, but you also seem to really love hugs and cuddles from your family.
We had a lot of trouble your first year. Not an ideal start — the hospital stay, c-section, prematurity and problems nursing then eating. You were so very very tiny! And so very strong, and tough. You laughed in the face of nearly every medical procedure we were suggested to put you through, never NEVER giving the doctors what they wanted on the first try. That made us laugh, or at least smile. You sweet, silly little thing!
Anyways, we seem to be past that all now. Thank goodness. Somewhere around 14 months, you thought it was time to eat, and just a few weeks ago, you learned that if you yell “‘NACK” very loud, we will indeed offer you a snack. You often follow it with a little rub of your belly, baby sign for “please”.
I have no idea what your first real word was. Probably “dogs” or “mama” or “dada” or “lilly”. This makes me terribly sad. I’ve missed recording a crucial moment in your life, and it’s just *gone*, out of memory, forever. I’m sure it won’t be the last time I miss a milestone, but it feels like a heavy thing for the family historian to miss a big moment in your history. What I want you to know, as I’m missing these seemingly big things, is that I am really truly trying my best to be there for the little things. Trying to pay attention to every cuddle, every sweet time you lean your head into my shoulder (melts my heart), every sweet sigh as you sleep next to me on the floor bed, cuddled into me as I stroke your chubby little baby cheeks and soft curls, admiring your long eyelashes and sweet little nose. I’m trying, little one. Your sister has offered proof that these moments will not last, and with you I want to enjoy them as I can.
(But, to be honest, if you wanted to sleep without waking every 45-90 minutes from 7pm until I inevitably give in and join you on the floor mattress, mama would be oh-so-grateful. I am burning out quickly, and need just a moment or two — or, preferably, two consecutive hours — of time to myself.)
You began crawling just before your first birthday. A month later, you were pulling up, then cruising the furniture, then the stairs. Oh! The stairs. You love them and are great at them. I am terrified that one of the other beings in our household (namely, your sister or the dogs) will accidentally knock you over as you’re climbing. So I follow you, slowly, quietly, patiently. Please remember that when I am old and need you to do the same. 🙂
Ever since you’ve learned to crawl, our house has the mess of the one-two punch that is you and your sister. Your sister can reach anything and everything. You can transport things, and love to put objects into containers, cupboards, etc. I am missing one toddler size 9 gold shoe, and I firmly believe that it was your & your sister’s collaboration that undermined any sense of organization (haha!) I thought this household had. So… our house is trashed most of the time. It’s not terrible, except that it is terrible. I strongly believe in a “prepared” environment — one that is neat and where everyone can access what they need to. I think our days go better when our house works for us in this way, and I wish, especially for your sake, that I was able to keep the house more clean/organized — I think it would really allow you to play more independently and concentrate more deeply. Also, you wouldn’t be constantly accessing and trying to eat random bits of paper, small rocks, cardboard, styrofoam, crayons, and other nonsense. While we’re on this topic: could you please stop taking bites out of full rolls of toilet paper?
Anyways. You. You love the bath, you go CRAZY when daddy gets home from work because you are SO happy to see him, you love the dogs and frequently approach them solely to put your arms around them and lean your head on them. There have been so SO many days where those dogs are just on my last nerve, and then, you. You love them so fiercely that I know I should quit the impatience and just sit and pet them with you.
Your sister and you seem to be off to a good start. She ADORES you, ADORES. You are always her “tiny sister” and she’s quite pleased to show you off to anyone and everyone. “You see my tiny sister?” She wants to hug you, smooch you, and sometimes she even thinks it’s okay if you handle her toys for a moment. You love to watch her, and demand for any food (especially cookies) she might have. She loves to rip things out of your hands. Your response is either to pick up another toy or to scream as loudly as you can until she gives it back. This works for me because I don’t have to interfere much — you two seem to be navigating object sharing as well as I can really expect a 3 and 1 year old to. You can hold your own, little one, and I love it.
You nod your head “yes” and “no”, though I think sometimes you either don’t know what you really want, or are too quick to respond and say “yes” when you really mean “no”. The head nods are helpful, more helpful than screaming/crying, and I think you’re quickly realizing that you can communicate with us better through words/actions than crying. Thank goodness, because this is a TOUGH age. There is just SO much that you want, and you have so few ways to communicate.
Your gestures include: please, thank you, milk, more, change, food, water, all done, help
Your words include: mommyyyyyyyyyy, daddyyyyyyyyyyy, lilly, doggyyyyyyy, poppy, grammy, naneeeeeeeeee, please, milk, more, barley, jezebel, up (bup), snack (NACK), cookie, done, teeth, bath, brush, help, scoot, noooooo, yoouuuuuuuu (you giggle with an exaggerated “you” when repeating “I love youuuu”), bird, and you’ll repeat just about any words we say to you
Your animal sounds include: moo, woof! (and panting), hoooooo, tweet, baa, and a tiny scrunchy nosed oink
(We celebrated you with a trip to the Children’s garden to play with the outdoor tea set and the fountains — both of which you enjoyed on previous trips as well as your birthday trip. Also, cupcakes in the backyard were a must.)
You are just the sweetest little thing, Elli P. It’s surreal to me that you’ve been with us for only a year and 1/3 — it feels like we’ve always been together. You bring so much joy to our family. You have the silliest faces, the cheesiest little grins, the sweetest little giggles! I am so glad, so SO glad that you are mine. I couldn’t imagine things any other way. And I think that our fun is just beginning, as we get to see more and more of who you are (and what you want) each and every day. Love you so SO much, kiddo.