Dear Sweet Baby Grasshopper,
You are ONE! You are amazing! You are suddenly so BIG and it breaks my heart and is simultaneously so. much. FUN!
Where do I start? You have been a whirlwind and trouble since you were still in my belly. The events of my pregnancy with you turned me from someone who suffers from a slightly elevated level of neurosis on a daily basis to a woman in constant risk of totally losing it. And to be honest, there are still days where things are like that between us. For me, that pregnancy journey was about really learning to trust God, and not just to fix a trial, but to trust that He would carry me through one that couldn't be fixed. I had a lot of fear in the weeks leading up to your birth, but I learned that the ONLY thing that conquers fear is faith, and that sometimes faith is hard work. But always, it is worth it. Your father of course, was a perfect example of exercising faith. He always has been, and was my steady rock (along with the healthy sounds of your NSTs and the oft-counted kicks) through the uncertainty.
You are my "Koala Baby" or "Velcro Baby"--the vast majority of your life has been spent in my arms. While I am exhausted by the busyness that your recent ability to walk has brought on, I am also glad for the respite it brings at times--for the personal space I regain while you destroy something besides me. You are now a year old and you still wake every 2-3 hours in the night, and a 45 minute nap in the day is practically a miracle. There were probably too many lazy days, too many dishes left undone, and too few sweet moments captured in all my sleep deprivation, but what I do know is that I wouldn't trade you for anything, even if it meant a year of uninterrupted nights! First of all, you are the only of my three babies who will actually snuggle me. Your brother and sister never had much interest in snuggling, and I am so grateful for the way you will sit quietly in my lap sometimes or fall asleep on my chest.
You are so funny! And I really do think you know it. You have this funny little "Huh-huh" laugh that you use when you've done something that you know if funny. I love the little glint in your eye when you catch my attention--that infectious smile and one little raised eyebrow get me laughing every time. That same pensive quality you have lets you know when people will be surprised by your actions, I think, and you anticipate that you'll get a reaction. Sometimes, you like to poke me or stick a finger in my nose or smack me while you nurse, and you get a mischievous little smile, and laugh your little giggle. You'll peek around the corner at someone and giggle, you'll throw away a piece of food to get your brother and sister to laugh at you. I'm so amazed that such a little guy already has his timing down so well!
In just the last few weeks, your growth in every area has simply exploded. In the last month to six weeks, you have started to fully walk on your own, to reliably say a few words, to clap, to eat a variety of solid foods of all textures, to color, and to point. You got your first two teeth around six months, but haven't had any more come in for a while. Now, in just the last few weeks, your teething has been nuts--right now you are working on six teeth. At least three of them have finally broken through, and I think the next few will be just days behind. You'll have a mouth full of teeth in no time.
You say "mama" and "dad-dad" with knowledge of what they mean. My favorite expression you say right now is "HUMM" which roughly translates to "That looks yummy! Can I have some?" Any time someone is about to eat something, you will wander over and expectantly repeat "HUMM! HUMM!" until we share (or in the case of your brother, until he says, "No! No HUMM!").
In the last couple months, you have also become a much bigger fan of your Daddy. Where before, there may have been times when you didn't even want to let him hold you, you have now learned the great secret about Daddies: they are super FUN! You've learned to wrestle and roll about, to be tickled, to giggle and laugh with Dad and that it is a blast. I love this special relationship that your dad gets to have with you.
You absolutely adore your siblings. Squirrel comes in to the bedroom where you sleep with me most mornings, and you are always so happy to see her! I think your favorite part of the day is when she comes in and talks baby-ease to you and then drags you off to play with her. She's always my first up and always happy to rise, and so she's always good to carry you away for play time in the mornings. And you laugh and giggle as she carries you happily into the hallway or her bedroom.
When it comes to Little Bird, his feelings are not always as warm--I don't think he quite understands that you're just a baby, and so now that you're busy enough to do things like climb on him and pull hair, he'll push or yell at you, and we're working on that. But he does love you so! In fact, his love for you and his desire to help with you has been an unexpected, but delightful, surprise. He loves to wrestle with you, to play with you and your toys, even to help me out by taking out diapers or attempting to make you bottles. He's always looking out for you! He will be an awesome big brother, and I can picture the two of you on many adventures as you grow!
You are becoming more independent--with your recent mobility, you seem to experience less frustration and boredom than in the previous months. There is more trouble for you to get into and that really delights you. Even with your new independence, I am still home-base, and I love the way you'll wander off to check something out, and then return to sit in my lap and observe from afar. I love this relationship we have, this push and pull. I can see it being the type of mother-son relationship that helps you explore your world safely and learn new things in a deeper way because I hope you'll always bring back what you've learned and allow me to help you process it. I know that the bigger you get, the less time you'll spend with me as your "base," but I hope there will always be time spent there, no matter how little. To me, it will always be meaningful. And as difficult as it sometimes has been to give up so much of myself to being your mom, I wouldn't change it for the world. Because in the end, I'm getting all those pieces back, and they are so much richer and better than I could have hoped.
I love you, my sweet little Grasshopper. Thank you for coming to me and for being you. I'm so grateful to have you (constantly!) by my side and a part of our family.