Dear Baby: This Past Year

Dear Baby,

Your birthday completely snuck up on me this year. So much has changed since your last birthday and I feel like things are still unsteady. Will we ever get the hang of things?

This is the last picture I took of you before you turn two tomorrow. We were waiting for Dad to come by with the car to help me with some large and heavy items from a work event nearby. I feel like it's a good representation of this past year. We have been constantly juggling work obligations and figuring out how to keep being so-called "good parents." So far, you've been invited to two birthday parties and you haven't attended any because both your Dad and I were working. I'm so thankful that you aren't able to realize this yet.

I hope that by the time you're able to read this blog, we have finally got our act together and you know just how much we adore you.

Since your last birthday, you experienced a true Christmas where we went to church in the morning and you got to open up a ridiculous amount of gifts, especially since we had no family around. Your favorite gift was a Joovy tricycle and your new chair that we got you.

Since your last birthday, you grew obsessive over Bella. Every morning before we leave for daycare you say goodbye to her and on the way home you ask, "See Bella?" She is so incredibly patient with you. We have to work on your gentle pets. Also, if you drop food on the ground it is fair game. You can't be upset with her for eating it.

Bella's not doing too well, Baby. She's on daily medication now for her arthritis and goes through life with a limp. I don't know how she will be next year. We need to enjoy her company and treat her well.

Since your last birthday, we've moved back to California. Dad was incredibly unhappy at his old job in Illinois and we missed family terribly. Living in the midwest was also miserably cold and it was unbearable. We put our house on the market, Dad quit his job, and we sold most of our possessions. You and I tackled a plane ride on our own back home while Dad drove Bella the 30 hours on his own.

It was a risky move, but it was the right one. I can't believe we did it.

Since your last birthday, we went to Disneyland twice. You were not impressed. Like, at all. The first time we went, you peed out of your diaper and leaked right onto Dad's jeans since you were sitting on his lap on the Storybook Land Canal Boats ride. We had to leave early. You actually had night terrors after one of our trips...And yet, we are most likely going to go again this weekend for your birthday.

Since your last birthday, we started co-sleeping. I remember always wanting to sleep next to you when you were an infant, but you could never fall asleep while we were in the same room. When we initially moved to California, you refused to sleep in your crib so we gave in to you sleeping with us.

We tried letting you cry it out and it worked for a week. But then you came down with the worst cold that landed you in the ER with a fever of 104 at 2am. You had croup and it was the most heartbreaking thing. I didn't even mind it that you threw up on me in the waiting room. Three times. 

It was the most difficult five months of our lives. I would have to lie down next to you completely still in a dark room for at least an hour until you fell asleep. You always liked to sleep right against or on top of me. Let's just say that Dad and I don't do well on little sleep. We argued more during that time than any other. Thankfully, you went back to sleeping in your crib as soon as we moved into a home of our own back in July.

But at least I got some good sleeping shots of you. I never really had any last year because as soon as I would enter your bedroom you would pop your little head up, wide awake.

Since your last birthday, you have thrown more tantrums than I even thought possible. Some days you refuse to let me pick you up while others you cry out, "Up, please, Mama!" I can't wait for when you can actually express things verbally to me.

Since your last birthday, we took you to the beach. You were highly unimpressed and mostly scared.

Since your last birthday, you have started eating with utensils and will not consume anything green. You used to devour zucchini and broccoli. Now, I can only get you to eat vegetables if they're mixed with fruit in a pouch. Your favorite foods include macaroni and cheese, dino nuggets, eggs, and really any carb. I can always rely on you eating fruit, thank goodness.

Since your last birthday, you have grown to love butterflies. You often beg us to watch Flight of the Butterflies. You're also a fan of dinosaurs and at one point you were all about Winnie the Pooh. One time, Dad took you to Target by himself and he was going to buy you some bubbles. On the way to checkout, you had a complete meltdown right in the toy aisle because you wanted the bubbles RIGHT FRIGGIN' NOW and he had to carry you away, kicking and screaming. 

Since your last birthday, you decided that pumpkins are the most amazing things and you have to sit on every one that you see. We took you to your second pumpkin patch after daycare one day and you refused to let me put you down. Since you were obviously not having fun, we started to leave and you flung your body backwards screaming, "PUMPKINSSSS! SHHHIIITTT!" You're still having trouble pronouncing "sit." 

Since your last birthday, we went trick-or-treating and you were the most amazing pilot. I didn't think you would wear your costume that I had been saving for over a year in storage. I underestimated the power of bribery. Now, anytime we do something you don't like you think you're going to get a cookie.

Other things that I don't want to forget about my one-year old:

-One day you came from home from daycare demanding us play the "Fishy Song." I had to ask your teacher. We must have played it at least ten times in a row that night. You also love anything Frozen and recognize the voices. Itsy Bitsy Spider, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, and Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed are your other favorites.

-You like to pat me on the back and tell me to go "night night." If I try to sit up, you push me back on the floor. 

-You refuse to sit in highchairs and booster seats. You very much prefer real chairs.

-Anytime I ask you "how many" you say two. Anytime I ask "what color" you say pink.

How many mommies do you have? Two. 
What color is the sky? Pink.

And I don't even want to correct you.

-I love love love hearing you say "otay" instead of "okay." 

-You don't walk. You run everywhere.

Baby, there are some days where I just can't wait for you to go to bed. I'm sorry I have these feelings. Every night, though, I immediately miss you. 

Parenting is incredibly difficult. However, you have made me such a stronger and more selfless person. I can't wait to celebrate you tomorrow. And celebrate another year of surviving parenthood.