The first year comes to a close

by Katie on February 11, 2014

Well, it happened.

The best year of our lives came to a close last Sunday, February 2nd, when we woke up to a big, one-year-old baby girl. I am most certain the years only get better from here, but I’m guessing the sweetness and innocence (and panic, worry, frustration, heart swells and heartache) that come with that first year will never be surpassed.

We became parents. We are raising a daughter.

The weight of responsibility and lightness of sheer joy surrounding those sentences is indescribable.

Last night, after Brandon checked on her before joining me in bed, he entered our room and announced, “We don’t have a baby anymore.” I really never thought I would be “one of those” who clung to the “baby” stage, but I did last night. But probably for different reasons than most. When he said that, I was just suddenly smacked with the reality of the future. I told him that we indeed still had a baby, if only because I was scared of how hard it was going to be as she grows up. Hard on the heart. I told him, “I can’t wait to watch her grow up, but it also means that we have to watch her have her feelings hurt, be disappointed, not be good at things she wants to do, and I’m not sure my heart can take all that.”

But it’s true. Our “baby” looks like a giant stretched out in her crib at night. She’s saying new words every week. She is becoming increasingly independent, yet clingy with her parents, at the same time. She is developing quite the attitude (which equally thrills and terrifies us). The only “baby” thing left about her is that she has yet to walk. I think she could have been walking for months based purely on strength and balance, but she has no desire to “practice” with us (“walk” holding our hands). Whatever this girl does, it is going to be on her own, and I absolutely love that. It’s one of the qualities she gets from her daddy, and coincidentally, one that I actually wanted her to get from her daddy.

The temper, well, she could have left that with him and I wouldn’t complain…

Anyway, enough of all that mushy nostalgia, here’s what our girl is up to at 12 months old:

Vocabulary:  While she has yet to add Mama to the list, our current vocabulary consists of bye-bye, yum, uh-oh (the best, by far), dog, Dixie (our dog’s name; yes, I realize where I rank). The verdict is still kind of out on “Da-da”, but my vote is a yes. While she doesn’t say it consistently, there have been many times in the past couple weeks where she has firmly pointed to him when he was in sight and very clearly yelled, “Da-da!” And if her daddy wasn’t already wound completely around her tiny finger, well, let’s just say those moments have sealed the deal. She did say “No” for the first time at her birthday party. As I took away her cake, she pointed and began shouting, “No-no-no-no-no!” It was pretty funny, and she’s only said it a couple times since (again, when I’ve taken things away), so it’s not a terrible word in our house yet. So far, she only makes the “ma-ma” sound when she is crying. But that’s okay. Because she makes it very clear I am the person she wants when she is upset. Win for Mama!

Movement:  Girlfriend is still crawling up a storm and climbing everything in sight, but has yet to take those magic first steps. I’m not in any hurry at all – I’m afraid her climbing skills will only improve once she can walk, and I think if she ever tried, she could just take off running. But like I mentioned above, it has to be her idea and she has to be in charge. So we’ll see how long she holds out.

Social skills:  Sister-girl still loves people, and mostly shrieks with delight around other munchkins, but we learned this past weekend that she does have a bubble. Her cousin, who is exactly one year older (they nearly share a birthday), is the affectionate type. Leyton liked interacting with her at arm’s reach. She was not so much a fan as Ainsley got closer than that. She was also not a fan of her mama fulfilling her Aunt Katie role while we were with her cousins. She could be playing happily on the floor, but if she looked up and caught me with her baby cousin in my arms, she certifiably lost her cool. Not a good sign, folks. Not a good sign. We were around a ton of people she never sees (many she met for the first time) last weekend, and I think it overwhelmed her a bit. Even when we got back to our normal gym routine yesterday (after a week hiatus), she was pretty clingy to me, whereas she usually lunges into the arms of the trainer who teaches my class. I’m hoping all the clinginess in the last week was just a product of our quick travel and new people and surroundings…not a trend she will continue.

Development:  After the leaps and bounds I feel like she accomplished between months 10 to 11, I think she slowed down quite a bit for month 12. Other than a couple new words, I don’t think we really reached any milestones.

Characteristics:  Our girl is a tough one. She had to have a blood draw a few days before her birthday for an iron check (all was well), and she watched everything intensely and didn’t so much as flinch during the entire process of needle insertion and syringe filling. Mama, on the other hand, could barely stand the whole thing. Also, one day last week, there were two different times I ran to check on her after a giant “thud” echoed in the room from her precious noggin hitting an unforgiving surface. My running and scooping left me staring into the eyes of a baby who was blinking at me, wondering what in the world was going on. Tough, I tell you.

She still loves bath time, and still hates the post-bath lotion slathering and pajama-dressing.

She is an outdoor girl. I know, shocker, considering her parents. But really, our girl is one after our own hearts. If she’s ever having a rough day/evening, taking her outside is the answer. And, since she knows Dixie’s name, but not mine, she is obviously still obsessed with dogs.

She is still an awesome sleeper at home, for which we could not be more grateful. And my survival advice for expecting parents? Early bedtimes! While we love our girl, we also love that she allows everyone to get good rest, and her mama and daddy to have a little bit of time together after her 7pm bedtime.

Strong will. Enough said. I posted this on Instagram, but at our 12-month well check, Leyton’s doctor provided a disciplinary handout. She also told me she usually reserves said handout until the 15 or 18-month visit, but that we would “probably need it earlier than that” for our “spicy” baby. That’s right. The doctor said we needed early discipline advice because our baby is spicy. I am going to choose to be thankful for her spunk and strong will. And not fearful of what they mean for my future.

She is still an excellent eater, and typically consumes whatever we happen to place on her plate. As the above vocabulary evidence suggests, she is also a big fan of cake now. Life is about balance. Right?

We had a great birthday party for her, and she was Baptised the same day. It was just a magical day, from birthday donuts at the beginning to birthday cake at the end. My heart was so full, and I hope hers was too.

Happy birthday, sweet girl. Your mama and daddy love you like crazy.

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