My dear Milo,
You are one year old.
Since the day you were born three weeks early, you’ve been ready to go. One might even say impatient.
That first night we brought you home was the hardest. No one slept and everyone cried. I was a mother who couldn’t console her baby. Finally, I sang you to sleep in my arms, but made the mistake of putting you down.
People said it gets easier and it has. Now your cues are obvious. When you’re tired, you get clumsy and fussy. You ask to be held and tuck your arms in. When you want milk, you chew my shoulder (and no longer my face, thank you) and recently you started signing. When you’re all done, you wave your arms in disgust because you are D-U-N, with diaper changes, the bottle, sitting at the table…
You are very physical. You never, ever stop moving. At least you’re pretty coordinated and cautious, so we can watch from afar. Once in a while you’ll come over to rest on your exhausted parents, but then you bounce right off, as if to say to us, “Sleep is for the weak!”
You are curious. Every day you learn or try something new. Today, you went up to Daddy’s laptop and started typing. Yesterday, you successfully fed yourself with the spoon, repeatedly (then you got excited about it and flung yogurt everywhere). Last week, you tried going down steps forward instead of backward. And now you’ve realized you can demand for a bath:
You are sharp. It often feels like nothing gets by you. Just because things are out of sight, they’re not out of your mind. We redirect you to cabinets you can open, or things you can chew or bang or climb on.
You talk a lot, just like your proud momma, but at least I’m (slightly) more intelligible. We’re not sure if you have words yet. Maybe you’re saying “DADA”, “TATA”, or “BALL”? The latest sounds like “GOBBLE”, just in time for Thanksgiving. We’re eager to know the meaning of your long, passionate speeches and grandiose gestures.
But you understand: You come into the kitchen when I ask if you’re hungry. You only resist me when I say it’s time to change your diaper or time for a nap. You know we leave things, like the fire and the nightlight, alone, and we don’t climb over the couch. But that doesn’t mean you don’t try.
It’s gotten easier but I wouldn’t say it’s easy.
Meals are challenging. You like to eat but you cannot sit still. You want our fork and the bigger piece on our plate. Your daddy and I have resorted to eating strips of foods with our hands and on the floor next to your small table so you can get up from your chair and move freely. But we’re determined to win this battle! You know food stays at the table, or close enough. Your favorite food is pretzels–more than Cheerios, grilled cheese, crab, bagels, pears, and pureed carrots. At school, you “heart” kidney beans, parsnips, and their homemade bars, but refuse quinoa or kale (we hear ya). At least you share your food with me. It’s sweet and messy.
We can bribe you with cellphones, pacifiers, things with lids. For awhile the sunscreen bottle worked in keeping you still during diaper changes. Otherwise, we hope we haven’t made complete fools of ourselves with our circus acts of singing and entertainment.
You’re not so great at sleeping. It’s been a roller coaster ride of sleep training. Many tell us 10 hours straight or a 5am wake-up is normal, but we still stand by STTN means 7-to-7, which you’ve probably done less times than we can count on our fingers. It’s ok, we love you.
Every night after you’re asleep, I look at your pictures and rewatch your videos. I talk about how cute you are, how I love you, and how I miss you. Daddy thinks he’s clever with his additional verse, “The mommy on the bus says I love him, I love him…”
Every parent thinks her child is the cutest, but you are! At least I’ll admit you were a funny looking newborn and I wonder what you’ll look like with hair. But your face has developed into a round, blue-eyed one with gentle lips. We’ll try not to embarrass you when you’re older but we do think you’re beautiful.
And you are so, so sweet and affectionate. I love it when you pause while nursing to whisper a few words to me. I love it when you hug me, look at my face, and then hug me again. I love the slobbery kisses, the head taps, and the moments when you’re in need of comfort. You cling to our backs and we call it our “Milo shadow”. I love how our whole house–you, your parents, your tata–is always laughing. Your wide, squinty-eyed grin is worth every minute of this past year.
Happy Birthday my little Milo!