One year ago, you were so small, and so unused to being in the world, happy only to be in the crook of my arm or sleeping curled on my chest. Now you're busy exploring the world and all that it contains, fascinated by each new sound, and determined to get every new thing into your mouth. But you still feel most comfortable watching from the safety of my hip, or peeping out from between my legs, and you still look up into my eyes while nursing with such relief and comfort to finally be back where you belong.
You've learned to pat your head, play peek a boo and patty cake, and thrill in walking around in your diaper, patting your stomach when I say "where's your fat tummy?"
You are a funny girl, a comic who already thrives on making others laugh. You think your brother is the most hilarious person you've ever met, causing others in restaurants to turn and smile when he says "boo" and you laugh and laugh out loud.
We dance and dance every time O. wants to have a party, play instruments and circle the room before rolling around on the floor. You mimic everything he does, from yelling at the top of your lungs to sticking your tongue out as far as it will go, to running and sliding on the floor as fast as you can.
I'm amazed at what a difference there is in you and your brother, how you hug a baby up to your face with such nurturing and caring, and climb up into a chair to settle in and relax for a moment. You are openly affectionate, running over and pressing your face into my lap or Daddy's for a standing hug. Your favorite objects to drag around are not trains, but shoes. You inspect the contents of purses as if you'll find all the secrets to happiness inside. In the toy aisles, you purse your lips into an "O" when we get to the dolls, hooting and bouncing until you are allowed to get down and paw at the babies in the boxes. Most amazing to me of all is the way you toddle around entertaining yourself, leaving a trail of toys behind to rediscover on your next pass through.
It is amazing to me how animated and interactive you have become just in the last few weeks, able to produce a fake laugh when appropriate, and to hide behind a chair to make me laugh.
It has been a marvelous year helping you grow from a tiny swaddled bundle into the chubby grinning toddler you are becoming. There were moments that I thought I'd never have a free arm or minute to brush my teeth again, times when I prayed you had an ear infection so there would be a reason for your screams. But through it all, you've been a joy to get to know.
I'm looking forward to hearing your first real word, to seeing what you look like with real hair, and to discovering what kinds of books will hold your interest. I know this next year will be even more fun than your first.
Happy Birthday, Birthday Princess!