Dear family and friends,
After our first year with Milo, we have calloused knees, an alarm clock gathering dust, and piles of tissues prematurely extracted from their boxes.
Milo is a sweet and energetic toddler. Even when he couldn’t crawl, he never stopped flailing his arms. We won’t forget when he first crawled to a cellphone, and walking hasn’t gotten old yet. At the sound of music – any music – Milo puts his hands in the air and jiggles his body to the beat. He’s a chatterbox, just like his mom. He babbles earnestly, even while eating, and loves to hold the phone (to the back of his head). Now he’s using “real” words, like kaboom, uh-oh, and hippo, and he signs for more food, more milk, more of everything.
Milo is very affectionate. He gives wide-open-mouth kisses and hugs goodnight and can latch on like a starfish. But we can’t get him to cuddle early in the morning when we would love to lie in bed just a little longer.
The hardest thing about parenting has been the sleep deprivation. For the first half of the year, we struggled to find a consistent sleep pattern and routine with our fickle sleeper. Only recently can we honestly say Milo sleeps through the night (and we don’t just mean 12 to 5). Our trick? Training ourselves to sleep through the crying. Still, we won’t say we’ve seen the red caboose at the end of the sleep train yet.
The easiest thing is getting out. Milo loves new places so we are always motivated to grab brunch with friends, go to the climbing gym (a playground for us all), or walk on 23rd and point out all the DA! DA! (dogs).
Annie went back to work in June when Milo was about 6 ½ months. She had more of an adjustment period than Milo who is really enjoying his daycare, Childroots. She called every day, even though we know Milo is growing up in an environment where his teachers care about him and whose positive and unconstricting philosophies we’ve adopted at home. Annie’s job was the same as she left it, and while it was nice to have adult conversations again, she still searched for extracurricular activities (i.e. planning). She’s looking forward to big changes in 2013 for Intel. Ben’s work on supercomputers is challenging and fun, except for all the planning which he wishes he could give to Annie.
Ben went to the 10th Gathering for Gardner conference which, as usual, entailed a sweatshop. Ben designed and made a 10-piece wooden packing puzzle – 400 copies, so that’s 4000 pieces. It was a good distraction during the sleep training.
Annie jumped back into tennis as soon as she could and decided to join a fancy club. Only a mile away, she couldn’t turn down the nicest indoor courts in town, with daycare.
These days we run only if talked into it. Ben raced a bunch of 5ks with his coworkers; for the first time Annie ran (and not organized) Intel’s 10k; and the big surprise: Annie did a half marathon with – you’ll never guess – her sister Chippy!
We’re really happy we were able to keep paddling with the Maniacs. It wasn’t easy making it to practice with the nursing and sleep schedule, but we managed to take turns and find help on race day. Maybe we weren’t as in shape as previous years, but the Maniacs still had another strong season, taking home a gold and competing in the top divisions.
Milo celebrated his first birthday at the climbing gym. He liked his birthday cookie but everyone singing “Happy Birthday” was a little scary. Following Vietnamese tradition, we gave him four objects/careers to choose from, and for the record, Milo is going to be…a doctor. (Ben: with help from Annie. Annie: he totally wanted it.)
We know everyone just wants to see Milo, but we’re happy all the same, because that means visitors! In May, Annie’s whole family came to Portland, including her sister and husband from France, and their 3-year old. There were a lot of photos of the matching cousins. Ben’s brother Mark and wife Rachel met Milo over Memorial Day weekend, and Ben’s parents visited over July 4th and Thanksgiving, just in time for Milo’s first word, CUP.
We also took Milo traveling. Our first road trip was to Vancouver, B.C. for a dragon boat race. Our poor 7-month old had his first fever the whole weekend, and spent most of it tucked in the stroller under an umbrella. We went camping twice. Milo loved the tent and eating the sand; he did not like going to bed in the sunlight.
Our first plane ride was this summer to the east coast. It was on this trip Milo truly discovered his love for water, splashing at Nana and Grandpa’s pond in Connecticut and crawling head-first into the wave pool with his cousin Yohan at the Chesapeake Bay.
We spent the holidays in Maryland with Annie’s family. Milo instantly got attached to his Tata Cookie. Thanks to Ba, Ong, and Tata Chippy for babysitting, we parents celebrated NYE in NYC with the cool cousins. It was our first time with both of us away overnight from Milo, and it was good for everyone involved.
Life with a one-year-old is awesome, but so different. Even though we’ve watched lots of friends raise kids, we couldn’t fully appreciate parenting until we lived and breathed it. We are thankful for our community of friends (and all their hand-me-downs) and love and support from the extended family. Honestly, we don’t know how you people with multiple kids do it. 🙂
We hope this letter finds you happy and healthy. Keep in touch!
BAM (Ben, Annie, & Milo)