To my sweet baby,
You are two!
I wonder how long I will be able to get away with calling you sweet baby. If you ask me to stop I promise I will…
….at least out loud…
…. or at least in front of friends.
We had quite a year! Last year I marveled how you went from a tiny, squirming bundle of love to a stiff, legged baby toddler beginning a great adventure. I thought I knew how subtlely time marches on… but this year… oh, this year taught me a thing or two about subtlety. You took your first steps shortly before your first birthday and by my birthday a few weeks later you were fully mobile. Every day you lost some of the stiffness in your walk, your gait became smoother and more confidant. Now when you are excited you run! And you don’t just run… no boring run from here to there for you… you gleefully dance and run at the same time, your arms waving wildly in the air.
There is pure joy about your every movement! (You run so much like Phoebe the character from one of my favorite television shows I have to wonder if I taught it to you somehow in the womb). Of course Daddy says I have a funny run too so maybe you learned it from me… but you definitely have me beat!
Your joy is not just in running…. you are so full of happiness and sweetness! It just radiates off you. You love life and those around you so much you glow… and you make others glow. You are so kind and giving with your beautiful energy you make me so proud of you. When we were at Disney you bravely walked up to a woman you didn’t even know and threw yourself in her lap and hugged her for a good five minutes.
This woman, this total stranger, laughed and cried confessing that she had been watching you and missing her own children. She said that she needed that hug so badly. How did you know? I stood there twisting my fingers, so proud of you for knowing and so scared that you were so trusting of a stranger.
And you love your friends. You cried in my arms when the bad guy took Elmo’s blanket when we watched Elmo in Grouchland calling “Mo! Mo!”…because he was upset, so were you. You love to visit your friends and shower them with kisses, whether they want them or not. And you take such good care of your “baby”… so sweet.
You are happy to take the hand of a stranger or a friend to show them a flower, Elmo, music, or anything else that makes you happy. You are a happy child and you just want to share it with the world. Out of all the things about you that amaze and delight me this is the biggest. Because to me this joy, that you so willingly share, is a glimpse I get of your beautiful soul. It’s who you are, fundamentally, and I couldn’t be prouder.
It also terrifies me because I know the world and I hope it never puts a damper on your light. I hope some stupid, ungrateful boy never uses it against you. I hope you keep your love of others but learn to protect yourself a bit because I will not always be able to stand by and stand guard you. Although, I am more than willing to follow you around and do so, but I strongly suspect you will not want that.
So no matter what the big world throws at you my little LA please always remember how good and kind and full of light and love that you are. And that’s who you are at your core and it’s a rare, beautiful thing to see. Daddy and I are both so proud of how happy and loving you are, we hope it is the love we give you reflected back… it is a lot of love by the way.
You are still so brave… this year has taught me that not only are you a ray of sunshine but a little monkey in training. You certainly like to keep me on my toes. You arrived the day after the midwife said you would most likely be late. You always liked to do the unexpected. Sure enough, just after Daddy and I gained confidence that we had the house appropriately baby proofed you went vertical!
Scaling couches, climbing tables and toys and any other option to get you higher in the air became your favorite pastime. And clever, you knew that if you climbed on something and called my name I would come rushing to you. So diabolical, you would wait until I was working and climb on something and proudly shout “Mama!” with a look of pure mischief on your face. You knew that I would come to sweep you into my arms. And you were always right.
You are so amazing physically. Daddy and I have joked many times about how you are sure to make the gymnastic team of 2024!!! You have been going airborne in your jumps since you were 16 months and when you started taking gymnastics lessons you were swinging on the rings so long you even impressed your teacher. But I know I will tell the reporters how I knew you were in love with the sport when we were late for our first class because you were so busy hanging from the bar in the car that I couldn’t get you dressed!
Still not much of a talker yet but I enjoy getting to see little glimpses of how your mind works. You know over thirty signs so that we usually know what you want or think. At 15 months you told me that the planes in the sky were birds and just last week you rushed in to blow on the stove because I told you it was hot! I cannot wait until you are willing to tell me more about what you are thinking!
When I think back on this year I picture you flashing by me, pigtail flying and giggling maniacally. I remember you rolling over in your sleep, giving me kisses and then rolling back saying “mama” as you drifted off to sleep. I picture you curled up in your daddies arms as you make him hold you like a hammock to watch Elmo. I think of laughing with you as you made Elephant and animals noises and how you pretend to be a cat so you can eat your food from a bowl on the floor.
I’ll always remember how you curled against me and stroked my back (something I do for you) while we watched Tangled for the 437th time.
You are even more than what I listed here… artistic, compassionate, funny, unique, stubborn, clever… the list goes on. Everything I could have dreamed a daughter would be… and blessings I never would have expected.
I feel the same as last year about you growing up. It is a strange bittersweet journey to be a parent. I strive and reach every milestone with you and I am so happy for you, so proud, and yet a part of me mourns the loss that goes with the achievement. Every achievement is wonderful but means that another part of your babyhood or toddlerhood has passed…. and I’m not always ready. To be honest I still miss your toothless grin 😉
Part of me just wants to keep you this way forever and another part can’t wait to see what adventures are in store for you next. I do want to keep you my dancing, singing baby toddler and yet I’m so excited for you when you act like a big girl. Especially since a sweet, clever, kind big girl. Watching you put on your helmet to sit on your tricycle in our living room made me positively teary.
I feel so honored to be your mama. You keep your Daddy and me laughing every day and we both talk about how lucky we are to have you. It sounds trite to say, although it’s true, you reaffirm my belief in this world. You are so pure and so good and I am so proud that I had anything to do with you.
I love you so much baby girl…. I hope you always know how special you are.
PS…. thank you so much for my first flower gift… it is safely pressed in your baby book.
A lot of adventure…
What a smile….
Learning and loving…
What a sweet goofy girl you are…. I love you
I can’t believe it’s been a whole year since I wrote about the 50 things I learned in my first year of parenting. Rereading it made me tear up a bit, in a good way. And I was surprised by how many of the lessons still apply for the second year 🙂
I actually wrote most of this list as things happened throughout the year. After reading last years list I have repeated myself! Totally unintentional. I guess that just makes it all the more true! (and I deleted some of the ones that were repeated… so I could get that magic 50 number. Wouldn’t want an uneven blog post list!)
So this year, in addition to writing about what we’ve learned as parents I wrote about what having a one year old in the house has taught me about life… You can learn a lot from a one year old!
We have learned as parents:
1. I have to say it, even though I said it last year, you will be amazed by how much you can love.
And just when you thought you couldn’t love any more….
2. A two day runny nose for a 1 year old will turn into a deadly lieonthecouchalldayandsuffer week long cold for Daddy. (and sometimes mama too)
3. Be prepared for repetition. Be prepared for repetition. Be prepared for repeition.
If Wheels on the Buss was annoying for you/fun for her the first time…. just wait till you have heard it 50 times!
4. Poop still happens, less frequently but more stink and stick!
5. Just when you think you think you’ve got a handle on this walking thing they go vertical… Or at least mine did. Little monkey!
6. You have to reevaluate your baby proofing when your toddler becomes a mountain goat and a hanging monkey.
7.It is amazing how in the middle of the night you will find yourself in your childs room and not even remember getting there. And if you are like us and room shared for the first year, it is amazing how far away their bedroom seems when they begin to sleep in their own room. So very, very far away….. sniff…..
8. It’s incredible how excited you can be for the sound of pee hitting a toilet!!
9. They will make you laugh…
again and again….
….. and again…
10. Toddler’s are a lot less easy to change than they were as a baby. Which means when they have a poopy diaper it still gets ALL over!
11. If it was your child’s favorite food last week and you just purchased/prepared a lot of it…. they probably don’t like it anymore.
12. You will find yourself more excited than a child to go to Disney world (or theme park or zoo)…. only because you know what is coming (and they don’t!)!
And it will probably be the last time that you are more excited than they are!
13. Someone will say something like “Oh you have a little girl?” When she isn’t around. You will marvel at their perception until you realize your shirt is covered with flowery stickers.
This will also happen to your husband and his golf bag earning him the nickname Princess from his buddies.
14. If a crawler shows you just how dirty your floors are a walker shows you just how slow and old you’ve become!
15. Nothing in the world is sweeter than a full body, baby monkey, toddler hug (you know if you’ve had one of these… if you haven’t, you are missing out!)
16. It would be easier to try to put an octopus in a tuxedo than to fully change, wipe and dress a toddler who doesn’t cooperate.
17. Your dogs are no longer just dogs, they are pillows, pony substitutes and excellent toddler lunch clean up devices.
18. You brush your dogs hair to discover that the root of the matt is….. a sticker!
19. Tears and tantrums are an excellent way to reduce stress… This explains why they are so smiley immediately afterwards. It sometimes works for moms too 🙂
20. Those things you said you’d never do. You’ll do at least one of them.
We are still holding pretty firm on the no junk food, but sadly have relaxed a bit on the TV rules, although from what I hear we are stricter than some 😉
21. Mama spit works.
22. Just when you think “I’ve got this” they will change it up on you.
23. You suddenly are sure that she will be a veterninarian or a doctor because she loves to play with a stethescope!
24. Sleeping through the night feels so good.
25. Not sleeping through the night feels even worse when you have recently been reintroduced to sleep.
26. As they develop that amazing personality you will also run into some differences of opinion….
…And you learn what a tantrum is.
Oh did I mention tantrums already…. get used to them. They happen, more frequently than you’d like.
27. You learn that it doesn’t make you a horrible parent if you find some tantrums kinda funny.
28. You hate when they get hurt but you love how they immediately come to you for comfort.
29. You will marvel as you see their own unique personalitites develop. They are truly their own person… my little one has a “thing” for sunglasses 😉
…. and unique…
…and oh so cool 😉
30. You’ll want to swoop in and do things for them, but if you give them a minute they will do it…..
31. They will amaze you with what they can do. 🙂
32. I know I said this last year but watching your husband bond with your child just makes you love him all the more, especially when he puts aside his dignity to do it…
and just for how he loves her…. and how she loves him…..
(And housework is still an aphrodisiac… in case you were wondering. Men take note!)
33. I can’t speak for little boys but little girls will start being little girls. LA now has her baby that she carries around and kisses. She wants to brush my hair, daddy’s hair and the dogs hair… she is just so very girl 😉
34. You will want to beat another child for taking a toy, hitting your child, or just being a “bad” kid.
35. You will cringe and want to crawl under a rock when your child takes a toy, hits or just generally is misunderstood 😉
36. If you planned a meal made up of things that they previously loved to eat and that has some nutritional value they will not touch it. Here is an actual example….
btw… this is an after picture… notice how it is completely untouched.
and this is a bowl of apples she attacked, just a few bites each 😉
Oh and you will spend weeks trying to get them to try something (in my case chicken) only to have them crawl up on their Poppy’s lap and down his chicken curry of all things.
I swear to get her to eat more I should just leave food around on the floor… then she’d be sure to eat!
37. You will learn all of the characters on their favorite show. In our case we know all of the Sesame Street characters. Steve jokes that he now knows what a gerbicorn is, he never knew he would need that information.
38. You will find yourself thrilled when an episode of Sesame Street (insert your child’s favorite show) comes on that you have never seen before.
38 part two… you will also become very appreciative for all that Elmo (or other character) teaches your child. Here is LA wearing her helmet, she has to have it on because Elmo does…. Go Elmo as good role model!!!!
39. Your house has been hit by a TOYsunami! It’s amazing how one little person can make so much mess.
We have about 497 balls in our house… we live with a ball addict 🙂
40. In your pre child life you got catchy songs from the radio stuck in your head. Now you will wake up singing “There are Three Primary Colors,” “The Wheels on the Bus” or “Potty Time”… or something else hip like that.
41. I did know I had OCD until puzzles entered my life. It drives me crazier than I can describe wanting to keep all the pieces together.
42. You will come to hate stuffed animals.
43. If you have just cleaned a room and/or put all the toys away understand that to a toddler this is the equivalent of waving a red flag before a bull. Try not to cry as they trash all of your hard work (or at least try to cry privately).
44. You may have spent big money on that gift you just got them but it is guaranteed they will prefer the Styrofoam it came in. One of LA’s favorite things at the moment is a rock she found at the park, she carries it around and kisses it. Baffling.
This looks like a loving picture of the two of us…but is actually kissing a rock, her new best friend.
45. You will learn about creepy toys. Toddler toys start to sing in the middle of the night… for no good reason!
You will struggle between wanting to hire an exorcist because you are just THAT creeped out that Oscar the Grouch is asking if you want to play at 2 am and being seriously angry that it may have woken your toddler. And you are angry enough that if it is some malevolent force playing with your child’s toys it should really run and hide….
46. You learn what toddler problems really are. At the beginning of the year LA decided she had to have her pony to go to bed. One pony quickly became two…..
…. then we added baby….
…. another pony, a baby Elmo, a stuffed doggie, and now a musical baby Minnie Mouse. Other animals make the “list” from time to time. Remember when I said you will hate stuffed animals, yeah, well your child will not. They will develop problems concerning how to hold all of their precious babies in one go. Or even bigger crisis like how to carry them all!
Thank God we have not had to deal the tragedy that is losing a favorite friend. Knock wood!
47. I cried watching the Olympics because they had those adorable/sappy commercials concerning how the parents supported their child to get there. And how to a parent they still look like a two year old standing up on the high board, track,etc….
For the record my LA is currently training for the Olympics 2024… or so she thinks. 🙂
48. You will appreciate your parents more… and love watching your family and friends love your child.
49. Having a child will teach you the true definition of pride, love, wonder and definitely joy.
50. You get to do fun things because you are with your kid! Steve and I love jumping on the trampoline and going to the bounce house place 😉
…. apparently I stink at sticking to 50… here are a few more….
51. They will develop a skill you don’t love. LA has the ability to ignore me (or anyone else) that rivals the most petulant teenager. I shudder to think how this skill will have developed in 10 years or so.
52. You won’t mind sharing your favorite foods (at least not as much!)
52. They will want help. When this involves helping put lotion on me (or her) I smile and laugh. When it involves helping me “sweep” or writing on my work pad I struggle to smile 🙂
…. although it is still pretty darn cute.
53. They will force you to think outside the box!!
54. They will teach you a sense of wonder you didn’t know you had forgotten.
….and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t learn from your child. Just watching her grow up has taught me so much about life….
What my one year old taught me about life:
1. If you’re happy show it!
2. If it was exciting to do the first time…. do it 50 more times!
This is LA washing her hands for the gazillion-th time in a day….the girl loves clean hands!
3. Even if you look or sound silly people will be happy if you try (example when mama sings “lalala” and LA sings “Wawawa” everyone is delighted, even if it’s not “right”)
4. Toddlers don’t hold grudges … Neither should we. They forgive.
5. If mommy or daddy like it… I must have it.
6. It is just as exciting to see your good friends (the dogs, the fish, Imma, Poppy) today as it was yesterday…why not show it?
7. Do everything at full speed and 100%!
8. It doesn’t have to be a real toy to be totally awesome! (i.e. water fountains, pens, boxes, water bottles, pans, etc)
9. Forget mistakes and just move on.
10. Nothing is better than snuggling with one of your favorite people.
11. Life is one big adventure… enjoy it!
Just like I said last year parenting is an amazing journey. I can’t even begin to describe how blessed I feel. Parenting is a rewarding experience for all of the joy and love you receive. It is terrifying because you want to protect them so very much. And it is bittersweet as you look forward to the future while missing the past. I wouldn’t miss it for the world!
But how did we get from this…..
to this….(a year)….
To this little girl who breaks my heart with her beautiful heart and smile….
Happy birthday baby girl!