It is almost impossible for me to believe that it has been an entire year. It seems like it was just yesterday that we were in the delivery room. . .maybe we brought you home this morning. But no, you are a whole year old. A whole year!
We celebrated your birthday in high style, by taking you to Paris for a long weekend. You've long been walking inside the house, but because the weather has been a bit off where we are living, you had not really spent time walking outside. Daddy wore you around Paris in your Ba.by Bj.orn for most of our trip, which you love. You are perfectly content seeing the world from almost-eye-level, and you love to engage people from your perch. You wave and smile at almost everyone you meet. You were a big hit with Asian tourists in Paris, who wanted to photograph you at every turn. Daddy set you down in the Jardin des Tuilieries so that you could walk a bit, your first time really stretching your legs outside. We were right near a fountain filled with birds, and you made a run for it. Unfortunately, you aren't quite as stable on your feet when you run, and after a short bit, you fell. That's when you discovered that unlike carpet, gravel hurts when you fall on it. You pitched a fit unlike anything we had heard before. But of course, you are so good-natured that you got over it shortly after we picked the gravel out of your palms.
We walked 8 miles each of the first three days in Paris, and 5 miles the fourth day, and you were a joy for every bit of it. You and Daddy snacked outside of Notre Dame while Auntie R and I toured it, you smiled alongside the Seine as the sun peeked through the clouds, you soaked up the magic of the Eiffel Tower by day and by night, you snoozed your way through the grand Orsay museum, you chowed down on fancy French cheese that cost us 7$ for a slice, while we ate a leisurely Parisian meal and sipped red wine. . .you were just so easy to travel with. You charmed the most cynical Parisians on the trains. And, you fell in love with Minnie at Disneyland Paris. We had a magnificent trip. As we walked through the Swiss Family Robinson treehouse, magically lit after dark, we were the only ones there. It was the day of your birthday, and I was carrying you then. You fell asleep on my chest. As I paused near the top of the tree, surrounded by lights and looking out through the dark at the lit fairytale castle, it was a magical, perfect moment for me. One year earlier, I was working to bring you into the world. And there I was, a year later, having a moment with you that I could not have dared dreamed would exist. I love you. You mean the world to me. You have brought me more happiness than I ever imagined possible. I hope you had a happy first birthday. I had the best first birthday with you that could possibly be.
Our first ride on your birthday, your first Disney ride ever, was on the fancy merry-go-round. You were in the carrier with your father, and he and Auntie R and I were on these giant old-fashioned horses that bobbed up and down. I have wonderful pictures of you. We have some perfect photos of you and I and Auntie R on the Dumbo ride, too--Daddy took them, and did a marvelous job. You loved the ride. You loved rides in the dark significantly less so--you screamed when we took you on the Haunted House ride, which we realized two minutes too late was our worst parenting decision to date. You also hated the Pinnochio ride (also dark). Lesson learned.
One of your most notable features at 12 months is how flexible you are. You are happy to meet new people, you can sleep anywhere at all, and you're happy to eat now, or to maybe wait until later. As long as your favorite people (mommy and daddy) are by your side, you are good to go. People are always commenting on what a happy, smiling, outgoing baby you are, and it's so very true. You just love to engage people.
For Christmas, you got a sleigh-load of presents, and our living room now resembles a plastic jungle. You delight in playing with all of it. Dressy Bessy is a current favorite, but you play with everything you have. You are walking and running around. You say a few words, your most favorite being no. You point at things that you want. You clap. You wave at everyone. You dance when you hear music, and you wave at cartoons on the television who are waving at you. You have started to figure out that if you pile things, you can climb. You try to go places that we don't want you to go, simply because we don't want you to go there. You are persistent, and remember that things are certain places, even when we try to distract you. You still have only two teeth on the bottom, although three more appear to be coming through on the top.
You are a picky eater, though. We discovered a few weeks back that you LOVE cheese, and it remains the only food that you will eat yourself at any length. You shovel it in. You're pretty good about eating yogurt and cottage cheese, too. You like apples and pears, still, and we get plenty of fruit mixes into you (including those that are mixed with things like pumpkin and sweet potatoes, so you get a bit of variety). You aren't a big fan of chicken or beef. We made it a whole year nursing (yay for mommy on that one!), and we are in the process of weaning. You like whole milk just fine--no problems there. However, you are not so keen to give up nursing at night, even when there is little or no milk there. The problem is that you don't want to fall asleep without the milk. Tonight we are going to try to have a bottle of warmish water on hand, to see if that helps you when you wake up in the middle of the night.
You are still sleeping in our bed, although you've had a few naps in your crib this week. The one night I put you to bed in your crib, you woke up and freaked out because you were by yourself. I didn't have the heart to make you sleep alone. You were sobbing. We'll get there, but I'm not going to make it awful for either one of us. I have faith that you won't be a teenager and still sleeping with me. You roll around a lot at night, and frequently end up sideways, so I am looking forward to the day when you sleep in your own space, I must confess. Although, at least I generally get your head near me. It's your daddy who spends a lot of time getting kicked in the face!
You have taken to growling at us, and other people, to try to get a laugh. You'll dance to make us laugh. You love an audience. You are a big ham sandwich. I love that about you. I love to watch you laugh and giggle.
Your friend R lives far from us right now, but she and her mom came to visit this week. It was the first time you've played with another child your age. R is two months or so younger than you, but she weighs more than you, and she is just starting to crawl. It was a delight to watch the two of you together. You would go over and give her hugs, which was so cute. (You've started giving us kisses, too, spontaneously, which we can't get enough of). Twice as you sucked on your binky, you saw her eyeing it, and you offered it up to her, right out of your own mouth. Yuck! We stopped you from doing that! You shared toys beautifully. The two of you really seemed to get along well. As we fed you in two separate high chairs, you yelled across the kitchen at each other. It was priceless.
We had your 12 month doctor's visit, too. You are in the 50% percentile for height at about 28 inches, but weighed in at about 16 pounds, which means you fell off the chart for weight. The doctor wants to see you in six weeks to check you again, but isn't overly concerned at this point. He said babies grow in fits and starts, and I am thin, so he thinks it's probably no big deal. You really aren't a great eater, and we told him how you eat until you decide you are done, and then yell at us if we try to feed you more. When you are done, you are DONE. Hopefully, now that we know of your love of cheese, by supplementing your meals with it, we'll put a little weight on you this month! You are at the top of the charts developmentally; the doctor told us to start saving for Harvard. You also had your MMR shot this month. For all of the fretting I did over it, you weathered it beautifully, with no apparent side effects at all. You've actually had other shots in the past that caused you more trouble than this one did, thank goodness. I haven't heard you speak as much this week, but hopefully that's got nothing to do with the shot.
You have received many beautiful birthday gifts, including a special personalized fairy book from your grandpa and C. It has your full name in it, and I"m sure it will be one of your favorites soon. Mommy and daddy bought you books, as well, and daddy got you a pair of shoes that look just like his--too funny!
We love you enormously, and can't wait to watch you grow over the next twelve months and beyond.