12 months old - 1 year old

Well Bean, we made it-one whole year.

This is your last monthly update. I may do one every now and then, maybe every 3 months? We’ll see. Perhaps we’ll try something new to document your changes. I don’t know. I haven’t thought that far ahead yet. Right now, I am still trying to wrap my head around how quickly this day snuck up on us.

It seems just like yesterday I was sitting at the kitchen table, finishing up my work from home as I watched the snow fall outside. They told me to stay home the last two days before my maternity leave since we were getting another snowstorm that weekend and I took advantage of it. I sat at the kitchen table in my pjs, making final design changes to projects, sending last-minute emails, skyping all my friends, cleaning the house, folding and rearranging footed baby pajamas and relishing my last few days of life before motherhood. My belly and entire body, as swollen and stretched as humanly possible, was anxious at the thought that the day was near, but relaxed in knowing I finally had the time to take care of all the last-minute errands I had to do before you arrived. I was happy, content and finally ready for your arrival.

And true to your sweet nature, you arrived right on time. At 5:30am Monday morning, the first scheduled day of my maternity leave, I went into labor and you were born 13 hours later. And with the passing of my motherless existence, a new existence emerged, one I never knew how much I wanted or needed until it finally happened.

Everyone always says that you will never really understand what true love is until you have a child and after awhile, it gets a little irritating to hear this. Of course I know what true love it. I love my husband, my parents, my family, my friends, my dog, sometimes, my cat…

But people are right - this is different. It’s a primal love. Not the kind of love you fall into once you get to know someone, but more of an animalistic love that comes instinctively from inside your soul.

I remember the first week we were home from the hospital. I felt like a wild animal. Getting in the car with you, I wanted to scoop you up and hover over you to keep you safe. I didn’t trust anyone. Every car was a deadly missile shooting towards us with ferocious speed.  I couldn’t cross the street with you in your stroller without hunching over you and scurrying in case a car came out of nowhere. I needed to protect you. I would do anything to ensure your survival.

These random, morbid thoughts went on and on and of course, over time, eased up significantly, but they are always kind of in the back of my mind. That’s the primal love of a mother for her child. The kind of love I have for you, the same love my mother has for me, and the love her mother had for her. It’s timeless. I’m part of this club now. I finally know what my mother has been worried about all these years.

These past 12 months have been filled with happiness, heartache and milestone after milestone-every single one, bittersweet. Every day you do or try something new. You amaze us with your strength, curiosity, intelligence, sense of adventure, sense of humor and beauty every single moment. We always knew you would change our lives, but somehow it was always about how much less sleep we would get, how we would never be able to go out anymore, how hard everything was going to be. We never imagined how all of those things, the instant you were born, would suddenly not matter anymore, at least not as much as we thought. You trumped every single one of them.

You have taught me more about myself this past year than I have ever learned in the 34 years before you existed. Thank you for teaching me to be patient, loving and kind, especially in all those times where it seems there is no patience, love or kindness to be had anymore. Thank you for teaching me to appreciate every moment I am alive. I never understood the importance of human life until you entered mine.

Thank you for teaching me how to appreciate all the little moments again – the smell of a flower, the first taste of a different food, the sound of a new song, the sight of the snow falling for the first time. It’s easy to take these things for granted as you become older and jaded. Having you with me and watching you experience these things has given me a newfound appreciation for all the beauty in life I take for granted every day.

Thank you for teaching me that every thing in life does not have to be a big deal. That sometimes it’s ok to just say, “Forget it, it’s not worth stressing over.” Once you came along, every priority changed.  Every insignificant thing in my life that I always thought defined me as a person, seemed to fade away and only the important things remained. The love for you and your father, taking care of our family as well as myself, the love for our family and friends, making sure to enjoy the things we are doing in life, the way we are spending our time, the choices we are making – these are the things that matter. Not the clothes I am wearing or how clean my house is, not keeping up with the latest music or movies. Those things are great and they add value to your life, but they do not define it. You have taught me that.

Like all your months before, this one has been filled with many new adventures. You’re walking around like crazy, always holding onto something of course, whether it’s the coffee table or your wagon. You are always on the go. We finally had to hussle to get the house baby-proofed because you will not sit still for an instant, which of course, is a blessing and a curse all at once.

Your conversations these days are filled with more sounds inflections and meaning. The words don’t make sense to us, of course, but in your head, it’s obvious you know exactly what you’re saying and why. You shake your head yes or no when we ask you a question and it seems like you always know exactly which one you mean. And you are always adamant about it.  Always.

You are a sweet soul who loves to give us kisses (and your ladybug nightlight, your teddy bear, sometimes the switch plate on the wall…you actually kissed my bare foot this morning. Wish I would have caught that one on tape). You don’t whine (yet), you don’t get upset too easily (unless we put you on the changing table, change your clothes or suck out your runny nose with the nasal aspirator). You love to share things with people and are always handing other kids your toys to play with.

You love to be around the older kids and watch them play. At daycare, they said they have to allow you into the room where they have toddler story-time because if they try to keep you with the babies, you come bang on the door until they let you in. They allow you, and only you, to come crash the party, because you are their  “Quinny-mini” and they love you to pieces. You have them all suckered.

These days you are also dancing up a storm, bouncing and spinning to your hearts content in your bouncer, sleeping like a champ still (unless you are sick) and have pretty much given up 90% of your favorite finger foods and have gone back to wanting to be fed pureed foods all the time. Oh and blueberries. No matter what, you always love the blueberries – just like your mama. It’s all crazy, mind-boggling and the most fun I have ever had in my entire life. It’s hard, but I love trying to figure out your enigma every month. 

There where however, many times where I didn’t think we would survive the craziness of our new existence. For months, we were all living in some thick fog and we wondered how we would ever navigate our way through it to the other side. I remember the first week you were home from the hospital, up crying for the millionth time in the middle of the night. I was bouncing and shushing you as well as I could and your father looked at me without me saying a word said, “We’re going to get through this, don’t worry.”

At the time, I thought our lives were going to be like that forever. I couldn’t recall at that sleep-deprived moment how everyone said it flies by so quickly. Of course they were right. When you are in the thick of it, those days seem like they will never end, but they do, quickly. Today, they seem like they were just last week, but also a lifetime ago.

Every crazy moment: the first four months of a non-stop crying baby during the day, the eight months of sleepless nights, the anxiety over how I was going to get out of the house with you, the proper way to give you a bath without drowning you, how to feed you what foods and when, whether you could you eat something without choking on it, what to do when you got sick, bumped your head, what the hell was going on in your diaper, I wouldn’t take back one single second. It’s all been so much fun.

Becoming your parent is without a doubt, the hardest, yet somehow, the easiest thing I have ever done, if that makes any sense. Actually, I know it doesn’t make any sense to you, and it wont, at least not until you have your own kids one day.

Thank you so much for finding us. Thank you so much for crashing into our world, flipping it upside-down and rearranging it to be a better place. Our life isn’t perfect, but it’s perfect for us. A lot of that is due to you.

Your daddy and I love you with all our heart, Quinny. Happy first birthday.

P.S. This month update, by far, has been the easiest one I have ever written. The words all come out in one fell swoop.