Tiny Little Human, Happy First Birthday

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Dear Margaret-

Hey there, Jellybean. It's a week after your first birthday and I'm just sitting down to write this. I can assure you, that is absolutely a testament to how busy you keep me!

You're crawling around like a champ now, getting into anything and everything that interests you. We are living in Washington right now and are doing some home repairs. We widened a wall, but have yet to finish the sheetrock. I am constantly pulling you away from the end of that wall- the rough sheetrock that crumbles between your fingers must have a magnetic pull. On the opposite side of the wall that your crib is on is the couch. It scared the living daylights out of me to hear your fingernails on the wall behind me- you woke up so quietly! I walked in to find that you had been amusing yourself by pulling the outlet covers off the 4 sockets near your crib. Needless to say, my heart flew into my mouth as I pushed your crib to the middle of the room and swiftly ran into the living room to order some more intense wall covers via Amazon. They haven't gotten here yet. Your crib is still in the middle of your room. A sleeping island.

It's hard, little one, to discipline you. You know how to say two words "uh-oh" and "Dada." {People may be surprised to know that "uh-oh" actually came first.} So when you get into something you're not supposed to (frequently), it's generally a game of redirection (an all-day game). You have a few toys you love dearly, but your favorite things to play with (that we actually allow you to play with) are cups, keys, wooden and plastic kitchen utensils, books, and boxes. Pulling out those things are how we redirect you to a more suitable activity.

I wonder how to keep you independent, given that at the moment, you are an only child and have at least another year before some sort of preschool. I love being your constant companion, but I want you to realize that you can be your own companion. But even when I have those thoughts, I realize you're already so good at that. You can keep yourself busy in your crib with board books and soft blocks while I grab a shower. I can keep watch from the kitchen or the couch while you amuse yourself in your toy basket. I wish I could take credit for those things, but you've almost always been quite content to play by yourself. You even play in your crib when you wake up.

Notice I didn't say play quietly, because that isn't a word I'd use all that often to describe you. You have found your voice for sure, keeping up a constant stream of jabber almost all day, narrating your activities to me or to yourself. Going out in public or to church can be interesting, should you feel the need to make some sort of public announcement. "Shhhhh" is totally lost on you. Rarely are you mad, you're just... emphatic. Though if you could pare down the emphatic speeches you give for 45 minutes before naps, that would be stupendous.

Some of your peers started walking long ago, but you are content to wait until you feel the time is right. Just as you did with sitting and crawling, nothing will stop you once you put your mind to it, but nothing can persuade you if you're not ready. I like that about you, little girl. You love to pull up on things, peering to see what might be on a surface that was previously out of reach. I try to make sure that you won't injure yourself terribly or do anything that is inherently dangerous, but you've hit your head a few times. Much as it pains me to see you cry, it's nothing a cuddle and a kiss won't fix. But (lest anyone reading this think me negligent or lazy), after 2 hard falls, you became incredibly careful about pulling up and getting down. I won't let you crawl into the fire place or down the stairs anytime soon, but you know some consequences now, and have adjusted your actions accordingly.

Hey, some adults don't even know how to do that. :)

"...through the eyes of a child..." is one of those oft quoted, almost cliched phrases you'll hear once you grow up. It is true though. Your dad and I remind each other frequently (usually when you become fascinated with some object that is mundane to us), that you're new to this world. Only here a year! I forget that sometimes, tiny human. You're adapting well to this wide world. You might be a little wary if I were to pass you off to someone, but you're quick to smile at anyone in a checkout line. You soften the gruff exteriors of some humans who have been here a much longer time. I hope you continue to carry that with you. It doesn't hurt that you have two tiny bottom teeth, eyes that seem to have turned brown, and a sheepdog look (I swear, we'll go get your fourth haircut soon). The pigtails you've been sporting lately really seem to disarm people. And I feel a little justified when people tell me you're a really, really cute baby. Your personality is only strengthening by the day, and we are excited to see more of it in the coming year. 

Margaret, I love you. (And Dad says he loves you too.) I am so lucky to be your mother. I am truly grateful for the lessons you teach me and the joy you bring me. You are a delight. And a handful. I have no idea how I got so lucky. Coming to see you in your crib when you wake up in the morning makes it *almost* irrelevant that you've been waking up with the sun lately.

Girl, you (and your hair) are the best. I love you.

Happy first birthday.

love, love, all of the love,


(could you say that for me soon?! I've been waiting.)