Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Happy Birthday, LL!

Time moves in odd ways when you have a baby. The old saying goes something like, "The days are slow but the years are fast." I don't think that I ever really internalized that sentiment until LL was born. But this weekend, faced with the fact that I now have a one-year-old, I couldn't help shaking my head at how quickly the year has gone, yet how far away the time before LL seems. Being pregnant was ages and ages ago, yet surely he was a tiny squawking newborn only yesterday. For the last few weeks, I've been working on putting together LL's baby book, covering his whole first year. Going through old photos month by month has been fun, but seeing the passing of time lined up in front of me has been startling. It really hits home how much he has grown and changed. His face is different, his hair is different, his eyes are different. No longer helpless, he can now move where he wants and reach for what he wants and smile and wave and share toys and share hugs to show us that he loves us.

This past month alone, he has developed so many new skills. He pulls himself up on every piece of furniture in our house, and has begun tentatively taking steps as he cruises along. He loves opening drawers and cabinets to discover hidden treasures. Faced with a room full of toys, he ignores every age-appropriate thing around in order to play with drink coasters and shoes and tupperware and VHS tapes. After a week or so of pinched fingers, he has learned how to properly close drawers without hurting himself. He is growing increasingly adept with a spoon, and insists on feeding himself a few spoonfuls of food at each meal. And his random babbling is starting to become remarkably ordered, organized into sentences with beginnings and endings, intonation and emphasis, with real words occasionally shining out from the randomness. After a week of babbling the same syllables over and over and over, we discovered that he was actually saying something in Russian, phrases that he picked up at daycare and uses in context-appropriate ways. We wonder now whether he has even more words than we think, split among English, Russian, and Spanish.

He has always been a very social baby, and continues to love large parties and being among friends, both old and young. He crawls after babies his own age, he tries to imitate the behavior of toddlers and preschoolers, he happily shares toys with kids of all ages. He never went through a real "stranger danger" clingy phase, but he has started crawling over to me and just resting his head against my leg for a few moments when he feels overwhelmed. After a brief mommy recharge, he goes back to playing. When I walk into a room, he immediately gives me a giant smile and crawls over to say "hello!" before returning to his activity. I love that he is social, that he immediately started playing with his grandparents when they arrived even though he hadn't seen them in five months, but deep down it also warms my heart to know that he knows I'm his mommy, and that he sees me differently than he sees everybody else. It's great that he'll let new people feed him and play with him, but he knows that I'm Mommy. We're not all interchangeable after all.

He is increasingly aware that people bigger than him have the ability to do things that he can't do yet, and has begun asking for help when he wants to do something beyond his capabilities. He hands blocks to me, pointing at a tower to indicate that he wants me to keep building it bigger. He loves the buttons and levers on his activity box, but doesn't quite have the dexterity to turn the nob, so he gently takes my hand and places it on the nob with a "dah!" command, requesting that I turn it for him. He hands me his caterpillar pull toy, then giggles and gets into crawling position, waiting for me to start pulling the caterpillar around the room so that he can chase it.

He had a wonderful birthday weekend, playing with grandparents and great-grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins and friends. At his party, he happily ate a collection of his favorite foods: kiwi, watermelon, cantaloupe, grapes, cheerios, cheddar cheese, and crackers. He was enthralled investigating his first helium balloon, and clapped when he saw the "Happy Birthday!" banner. He wore a birthday hat without complaint. And the highlight, his first dessert, provided all the smiles and giggles and mess that I had hoped for. I made him a vanilla cake with lots of gooey frosting, and he happily ate some and played with some and mashed some and rubbed some into his hair.

LL had a great visit with all of his family, and is spending this whole week with S's parents. (When they found out that we were having daycare problems, they made plans to stay the week to help out. They were very very excited to have him all to themselves for the whole week, so when we solved the daycare problems and didn't need them anymore, they were crushed. So, we told them that they could stay anyway. I love my in-laws, but having them in the house for the whole week is stressful, and it's only Tuesday. But LL is loving all the attention.) He had his one-year check-up, where he weighed in at just over 22 pounds, maintaining his below-average weight class. He shot up in height, though, to the 85th percentile, which means that he has officially outgrown his infant carrier. And he still has a big head.

Most important: he's healthy and happy and learning and growing. He eats and he sleeps and he plays and he laughs. My baby is one year old.

4 comments:

HereWeGoAJen said...

Happy birthday, LL!

Jennifer said...

Aw, our babes are 1 already...wow, where has the year gone? Happy Birthday LL!

Jen said...

One year old. How did this happen?

Sunny said...

Happy first birthday, LL!! And congratulations mommy on your anniversary of motherhood. You are doing a great job with him!