Family Ties

Reflections on a Year

My sweet baboo, my baby M., is a year old today. So much has happened this year, good and bad and indifferent, but the biggest life change we’ve had has been living with a whole new person. She delights me and frustrates me and makes my heart swell a million times over and causes the greatest anxieties I’ve ever felt and makes me want to play again for the first time in years. I’ve lost some of myself, a little bit, but I’ve gained so much more than I’ve lost. I don’t even know how to express how incredibly complex my emotions are when I think back on this year with M., but I’ve got to give it a go because that’s what I do here.

Brand-new Baby M.
Brand-new Baby M.

First, some milestones:

  • Weight: At birth = 8 lbs 2 oz; At one year = 18 lbs
  • Height: At birth = 21 inches; At one year = 31 inches
  • Clothing size: At birth = newborn for 3-4 weeks before moving into 0-3 mo; At one year = just barely moved into 9-12 mo
  • Teeth: 7 and counting
  • Words: Mama, Daddy, book, dog/doggie, hi, Delia
  • Favorite things: Books, balls, Mozart music cube, laptop computer (both her toy and my real one), iPhone games, music (especially the ABC song, Twinkle Twinkle, Patty Cake, and the Itsy Bitsy Spider), Sesame Street (especially Elmo, Grover and Abby), watching our dogs (especially when they go crazy and run circles around the room – that is, to M., HILARIOUS), climbing on her parents like we are jungle gyms (this is the most fun when we are lying or sitting on the ground)
  • Things she hates: having her face or hands wiped off, not being picked up and carried around immediately when she decides that’s what she wants, being told no, going to sleep, clothes going over her head, anyone grabbing or holding her hands
  • Physical abilities: Crawling and cruising, clapping, waving, giving kisses, feeding herself chunks of things
M. at about 3 months
M. at about 3 months

And now I’m going to bombard you with a list of random thoughts* that have occurred to me when I think back on this Year of M. Actually, I suppose that should be Year One of M., because I imagine every year from here on out will be about her in some way or another. I sure hope so.

      • My baby’s kisses are the sweetest and best thing to happen to me every single day.
      • My husband is rocking the stay-at-home-dad thing, despite the fact that it is simultaneously the most exhausting and the most boring and the most wonderful thing he could be doing.
      • Hearing tragic news of any sort is approximately one trillion percent more horrible than it used to be. In the past year there have been so very many heart-wrenching news stories about children in school shootings, accidental shootings, rapes, abductions, natural disasters, horribly abusive homes. Just yesterday there was local news about a six-year-old who was hit by a car and died. It has all always been heart-wrenching, of course, but now it’s magnified beyond comprehension. I’m terrified for the day I have to let M. leave the house without me or Dave or one of her grandparents right next to her.
      • I am completely fascinated by every moment she figures something out, or even just tries to figure something out. Sitting there and watching her study something, the little wheels clearly turning in her head, is endlessly entertaining.
      • M. at about 6 months
        M. at about 6 months

        My body sucks in a way I didn’t understand it would. I’m about a size and a half bigger than I was pre-pregnancy, and about a half-size bigger in shoes. I have stretch marks and belly fat I did not have before. My back and my pelvis have mostly recovered but are still not the same as they were.

      • On the flip side, I am developing KILLER arm muscles from toting around 18 lbs of baby all the time.
      • I did not understand exhaustion before M. However, lack of sleep was my greatest fear about being a mother, and I’ve adapted far more easily than I thought possible. Yes, I’m tired pretty much all of the time, but it’s OK.
      • What in the world did I do with my time before I had a kid? I thought I had no free time then, and now I have multiple hours of time LESS than I did before and I still manage.
      • Please, please let her love of books continue. It seems like a no-brainer to me, because Dave and I both read so much and have read to her pretty much constantly since she was a newborn. She loves books right now, and her first word after Mama and Daddy was “book.” But I know a lot of kids love books at this age and outgrow it when they get old enough to read on their own. I hope so hard that won’t be her.
      • When your kid is 4 to 12 weeks old, it is TOTALLY okay to watch Deadwood while they’re in the room.
      • M. at about 9 months
        M. at about 9 months

        Netflix streaming and Hulu are lifesavers when your child needs to eat, or just refuses to sleep, in the middle of the night.

      • Baby gear is expensive. But if you wait to have your first kid until after your friends have already had a few (but not so late that they’ve already given away all of their baby stuff), they will beg you to take their stuff from them, and you get free stuff.
      • Babies grow way too fast. I’ve spent about an hour in the last two years managing my own wardrobe. I’ve spent probably 12 hours in the last year managing M.’s wardrobe.
      • Making real baby food (as opposed to processed purees in jars or pouches) is actually super-easy. It takes very little effort or planning. But the pouches are quite handy for traveling.
      • Breastfeeding is really, really hard. We are going to make it to a year and beyond, but I don’t know how much beyond. I am just…I’m done. I’m so tired of pumping, and now that she has all of those teeth, I’m tired of being bitten. Frankly, I don’t know how much she’ll care – she has never once asked me to nurse, and lately she seems impatient to leave my lap and go explore when she does nurse. She only stays because she’s hungry; she’d rather have something portable to eat, I think. And have I mentioned just how over pumping I am?
      • M.'s 1st birthday - special shirt!
        M.’s 1st birthday – special shirt!

        I’m going to cry when she’s weaned. Hormones aside – and nursing has made me super-hormonal at times – I will be so sad and so relieved at the same time when nursing is done. It is so hard, especially as a working mom with a full-time job out of the house that requires me to travel periodically, but it’s also so sweet and perfect and bonding.

      • One is enough. I would not trade M. for anything. Having her and raising her are the hardest and best things I have ever done. But right now, you could not convince me to have another baby for all tea in China.
      • Despite seeming like she is living, breathing chaos, my child totally thrives on structure. She is at her best when her routine is followed to the letter and everything is totally predictable for her.
      • Who ever knew that the best part of every day for me would be sitting in the floor clicking two plastic balls together and making goofy faces in an effort to make another (quite small) person laugh? WHO KNEW?
M.'s 1st birthday - first cake ever!
M.’s 1st birthday – first cake ever!

*Sorry for how very random and disorganized this list is. I just…I couldn’t figure out any way to organize it. And this is why I will never be an author. I can’t put together a coherent narrative from my disjointed thought-lets.

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