Hooray! It's finally the big day, your very first birthday! A year ago you hadn't joined our family yet and now here you are like you own the place. You have changed all of us in so many ways -- all of them good -- and I am incredulous every day at the little girl you have become. If you don't believe me, just take a look at the pictures
I took of you every day for the last year to see how much you have changed.
A year ago I was still pregnant, thinking I had several more days before you were going to make your appearance. But you had other plans and in a complete reversal of your personality, you took charge and decided you were coming out 12 days ahead of schedule. That might have been the last time you ever imposed your will on me, because since your birth, you have been pretty much the most laidback kid I know.
That laidback attitude was evident this last month when it came to your attempts at walking. You are so content to just walk along the furniture and then let go and stand totally still. You can balance now for 30 seconds or more on your own, but if you want something, you gracefully plop down on your butt and crawl on over to whatever it is that has captured your attention. We have tried to get you to take a few steps, but you either throw yourself in the direction of the other person or you get jello legs and crumple to the ground laughing. I think you're really close to walking, though, and it won't be more than a couple of weeks before you do.
Your first birthday was almost marred by a case of the stomach flu, but you rallied and seem to be fine today. Yesterday you threw up for the first time and it was a shock to me, as I came into your room after naptime to find you in three puddles with vomit all over your clothes and in your hair. But true to form, when you saw me, you laughed and clapped. The world's happiest sick child. But it appeared to be a one-time thing and after several rounds of pedialite, you were fine and back to normal by this morning. Of course you developed a runny nose and a case of the Mommy Clings today, so there's probably a cold on your horizon.
This past month also gave you your first taste of presents. Your Christmas was fun and full of gifts, but like most kids, you were much more interested in the wrapping paper and bags than the toys and clothes. Your brother was more than happy to both unwrap all your gifts and play with all the toys on your behalf. That's brotherly love for you.
The relationship with your brother continued to be a little sketchy this past month. You really like to watch what he's doing at all times, getting right up with him and looking at toys or books. Unfortunately, he's not so into that and he tends to deal with it by hitting, pushing or kicking you. I have resorted to telling him not to touch you at all because he can't seem to find a way to be nice to you lately. I know this too shall pass, but some day when you ask why we let him abuse you, please know we gave him timeouts each and every time he hit you. Really. But there have been some good times between the two of you, mostly at mealtimes when the two of you sit in your chairs and make each other laugh. You love to watch him and he loves to say silly things and make you giggle. The best thing right now is how much he loves to come upstairs when you wake up from your nap. He hears you on the monitor and when I say we're going to go up and get you, he runs up the stairs and throws the door open and yells, "Gooooood morning Emmie!" and climbs up on the rail of your crib and pats your hands. You smile like a ray of sun and laugh and I stand watching the two of you from the doorway, content to know that you do have some parts of your relationship that are working and free from violence.
Perhaps things will get even better when you can talk, so you can express your feelings to him. For now, you are a pretty complex babbler. You can say just about all the range of babble sounds from bababa to mamama to dadada to rarara to wawawa and many more. We're trying to teach you a few signs -- notably "more" and "all done" -- but so far you just think we're really funny when we do them.
You are still nursing twice a day at this point, soon to be weaned. We have a little vacation coming up in two weeks, so you'll probably be fully weaned sometime around then. For now, you are still nursing in the morning and at night, and you get two bottles of whole milk during the day. You are not a fan of the milk and it takes some cajoling to get all 5 ounces down. I tried to get you to move right to a sippy cup with the milk, but you were so violently opposed to the milk itself, I figured I might get a better response by at least letting you drink it from a bottle. Hopefully as you get used to it, you'll stop fighting it so much. But thankfully your dairy intolerance is gone. You now eat cheese and yogurt and drink milk, all without problems. That's great news for your weight gain, as you should be porking up nicely in the coming months with all that fat and calories in your diet. You're still pretty adventurous when it comes to eating, and your favorites are turkey sandwiches, pita and hummus, chicken, peas and avocado, but you won't eat bananas anymore unless we mush them up in a bowl.
The fun part about your eating, however, is that you have entered the stage where when you are done, you just fling it on the floor. So one second you're grooving on your little pieces of avocado and the next, you're launching them across the room like you're throwing out a runner at second base. Even your brother knows throwing food is not cool and is quick to point it out to me when you start doing it. I know this is a stage that does not quickly die out, so I am not looking forward to months of telling you, "No throw!"
What I am looking forward to is more sleep. In the last month, you gradually gave up your last nightwaking at 4 a.m. and started sleeping through the night for 12 straight hours. We put you to bed at 7:30 p.m. and are greeted with pleasant chatter and your crib soother music at 7:30 a.m. We go in to get you and are greeted with a huge smile and outstretched arms. I knew you would get here eventually, and I couldn't be more excited about this development. There are some rare times where I miss our middle-of-the-night co-sleeping, but mostly I enjoy the ability to sleep on my right side whenever I want. And you sleep so much better in your own crib, that it's the best situation for all of us.
People always make such a big deal over the first birthday. There's cake and parties and presents and pictures. Tonight you had presents and cake, although you could have cared less about the presents and cried when you ate your cake. Apparently we could have given you a jar of veggies and you would have been much happier. But you can try again tomorrow at your big birthday bash. But looking back, there has been so much to celebrate this past year, it seems silly to celebrate it all on one day. You have brought joy and sunshine to our lives each day. There is not a single minute that goes by that I am not thankful for you. You are a joy to be around. Watching you learn new things is so much fun, I see things from your perspective and learn new things myself. One of your favorite games is to give us a toy and then have us say thank you and give it back to you. Every time we give it back it's like you've never experienced such generosity and you get so excited. I love to see that joy in your eyes and I hope it is there for the rest of your life. You have brought me such joy and happiness and I genuinely like the little person you have become. You are a social little girl who seems very concerned about others. I think this will serve you well in the years to come.
I love you so very much and want only the best things for you. This past year has been an incredible journey and your second year is going to be even better. Thank you for being such a fabulous little girl. We couldn't ask for a better daughter and sister.
(Just want to throw a note out there for all the readers... Could you please leave a comment for Emmie on this post? Even you lurkers out there -- you can make it your first comment! I am going to print out the post and comments for her babybook, and it would be great to have all the comments for her too!)
Labels: Breastfeeding, Emmie, pictures, Sibling Relations, Sicky, Sleep