Dear L., at the end of your first year,
Oh, my baby boy. Where has the year gone?
I put you to bed tonight and when I laid you down in your crib, you snuggled yourself down on your tummy, turned your head towards me and smiled that “I’m so comfy and happy to be here” smile. It’s a good one. I’m glad to have it back, because for a couple of weeks recently, you wouldn’t let me comfort you at all at bedtime. You arched your back away from me when I tried to rock you, screamed instead of cuddling, and kicked both legs into my ribs, until I finally just had to lay you into your bed and let you cry by yourself.
I’m glad that particular phase is over. I was afraid it wasn’t a phase at all, but instead your entrance into independent toddlerhood, leaving your need for comfort and rocking to sleep behind. I’m not quite ready to say goodbye to all of your babyhood, so I’m glad to know you might not be either.
I’m not sure how much longer you and I will continue our nursing relationship, but for all the times I wish you wouldn’t wake at 1:30AM wanting only to use me as a pacifier, I know that for now, there are still times during the day when I’m glad that I can still stop and sit and do nothing else but connect with each other and I can provide you comfort in a way no one else can.
Today was a Monday, the day of the week your baby girl cousins are here for the day, the day I marvel at how much babies change in the short gap of time that separates you age wise. You’re left to be the big boy who can roam around and find a toy to amuse yourself with for a good ten minutes while your grandma and I are feeding bottles and exchanging gummy grins with your four month old cousins.
Today, it was a cup with a baseball inside it. You shook it with your whole body, laughing and yelping with pleasure when you were able to knock the ball out across the room and chase after it.
Some other things I love about the boy you are right now:
The way you flail both arms and legs in your high chair when you are waiting for food to arrive on your tray.
The way you attack pieces of string cheese with your pincer grasp and delight in shoving them into your mouth.
You stick dominoes in your mouth and come over to your brother or sister, stick your behind out, and hope for a laugh from your audience.
You grab a sock from your sister as she’s trying to put it on, then run into the next room, glancing over your shoulder making sure someone is going to follow you.
If someone is sitting on the floor, you immediately dash to claim that lap as your own, backing in and plopping down. Last week, when your big brother dared to take a rare moment to cuddle with me, you came over and pushed him out.
You hold both hands out in clear “What?” or “Where is it?” fashion. You may not have words yet, but you know how to make your points clear.
Milk in a sippy is your new favorite thing to drag around the house, a trail of drips from your mouth following you behind.
You still take two naps on days that are allowed to unfold in a natural way. More often than not, you have to catch at least part of one of those naps in the car on our way to some errand or adventure or school drop off or pickup. I’m tempted to think you don’t need one of those naps, until we stay home and you sleep for two and half hours before lunch.
When you’re awake, you’re a mini-tornado, carrying toys and whatever else you find on the floor or on tables within your reach from room to room. You spent one whole morning trying to get the diaper pail I’d carried downstairs to clean back where it belonged in your room.
Drawers and cupboards with broken safety latches become locations for you and I to skirmish. You listen for a moment when I tell you to leave the roll of foil alone and retreat, but then come right back to attack and unfurl it across the kitchen.
Some nights, when you are not quite as ready to go to bed as I am to get you there, you let me know you would rather play by blowing loud raspberries on my upper arm, then looking up at me to laugh, laugh laugh.
On those nights when you do allow me to rock you to sleep, you still go through a period of yowling with your eyes clamped tight shut I have to shush you loudly, until you finally surrender to sleep, with your head lolling back into the crook of my elbow.
I wasn’t quite ready for you to become a one year old. Now that we’re here, as with all of the other stages we’ve met together, I’m glad to be getting to know the boy that you are.