Friday, October 15, 2010

Letter to Lucia: ONE YEAR

Dear Little One,

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Happy birthday Happy birthday Happy birthday. I feel such a sense of achievement today. I have kept you alive for one whole year—not only alive but healthy and happy. And I have not gone off the deep end with being both a first-time mom and a stay-at-home mom. Really, it’s a day-by-day thing, but so far, so good. I’m proud of myself, proud of you, proud of Daddy. It’s truly a day to celebrate.

You are cuter than ever at one year old. Your new love is stuffed animals—you hold them and snuggle them and bite their noses. You love anything that makes noise. You seem to love chaos—our living room, always neat first thing in the morning, is very quickly a whirlpool of whipped-about newspapers, swiped-off items from the coffee table, and strewn toys and books.

You move about with determination, your little hands slapping the ground, and you still love to stand up. You are now “cruising” along the furniture, and sometimes walking when we hold your hands, but so far walking independently does not seem to be high on your list of must-do’s. Many of the other babies your age we encounter in our daily activities are walking, and I try not to worry—this is how it’s been with every other milestone, sitting up, crawling, pulling to a stand. You just watch and bide your time, and then one day you just decide it’s your turn, and there’s no going back. So we will wait.

You’ve learned that if you sit on the floor and reach your arms up, we will pick you up, and you’ve been doing this nonstop for the past few days. Wednesday, in Music Together, you crawled into the middle of the circle, then sat up, turned to me, and raised your arms—I’m ready to be held now, please. You are delighted to see us when you wake up from your naps, and you do a cute wrinkled face when we turn a light on. Sometimes when I go into your room, I see that the toys in your crib have been strewn around, and I try to imagine you in there, in your sleep sack, quietly playing instead of napping while I am none the wiser outside your door.

You love playgrounds. Swinging, crawling around, watching other kids, everything. And you are happy most places—restaurants, airports—unless you are restricted in your movements. You just want to be free.

With this birthday comes a challenge: weaning. We are still nursing five times a day, and you show no sign of wanting to stop. You are a champion eater of regular food—you love meat and pasta and veggies and bread and, above all, fruit—and I think, for you, nursing is simply a way to unwind, a signal for naptime. Perhaps I’m wrong to affix a date to weaning; but I am ready, and so I will try. With no little push from me I think we’d be nursing for the whole next year, and this just won’t do. It does for a lot of people, but not for me.

That said, speaking of nursing: We made it to a year. Another reason to celebrate. A year was my goal, and at times it seemed impossible, but here we are. Since I plan to wean slowly, we might even make it to thirteen or fourteen months! I think back to our rough patch, around three to five months, I think, when you simply refused to nurse. You’d cry, I’d cry, etc. It was awful. But then we took a trip to San Francisco one weekend…and you suddenly just did it. And we’ve been fine ever since. Except for the formula they gave you in the hospital (I was so engorged I couldn’t pump any milk, and your head was too sore from the vacuum to get into nursing position) and the two tablespoons I tried unsuccessfully in your cereal a few weeks ago, you have had only breastmilk (and food, of course) for this year. Having done it, it seems impossible that I’ll ever be able to do it again. This was, hands-down, the most stressful part of having you, oh new one. Yet here we are.

To celebrate your milestone birthday, you are getting another tooth—a top tooth this time—and you are suitably miserable. But I hope you find much to enjoy today, and this weekend, when you’ll see Grandma and Grandpa and Aunt Moils and Uncle Ian and a host of friends. You are one! You are one! You are one year old! My little baby is one.


Sara said...

Happy Birthday Lucia!!!

Julie magee said...

How Mont teeth does that make. What did you all end up doing for the big day?from some reason I thought the girlas were only 3weeks apart not5weeks. Crazy time how time flies.happy birthday Lucia 1!!!! We still miss you.