Sunday, September 14, 2008

Newsletter: 12 months- no, scratch that – 13 months

Dear Georgia,

Don’t give me any credit for the originality of this idea, but in the tradition of Dooce and other blogging parents, I wanted to write you a little recap of your first year of life. I think in the future I’ll do these more often and probably keep them to myself, but on this, the occasion of the 1st anniversary of your birth, I figured I’d share your newsletter with the world, you know, all of your adoring fans.

What’s that, you say? You were born in August 2007, not September? Yes, I know. Thing is, it’s taken me over a month to find the time to sit down and do this. You have your ways of keeping me rather busy, you know. Besides, since you saw fit to show up over a week past your due date, I think I should be allowed to be a little behind, too.

Everyone always asks your father and me whether parenthood is what we expected. I guess that for the most part, yes, it has been. But it’s the little things that we never could have imagined, and that no one tells you about beforehand, that have caught us by surprise. Like, who knew that cutting baby fingernails could be so difficult, and that I’d accidentally make you bleed so many times? And teething? Now, there’s something that is conveniently left out of all baby shower conversations, and then we come to find out how puzzling, and sometimes painful, but mostly slooow and drawn out, in your case, that it really can be. (I think we first started speculating and blamed a fit of your fussiness on the tried and true “could be teething” in late December; your first tooth appeared in April.) More than anything, though, we could not fathom until we had experienced it how you could make our hearts grow a thousand times bigger in an instant. Your first volitional smile brought tears to our eyes around week 5. You’ve turned your dad and me into a weepy lot. Just last night we watched the movie Juno, and I was full-on bawling during the birth scene and when the adoptive mother first held the baby, sniffling to your father, “I thought this was supposed to be a comedy!” I don’t know, something about motherhood just makes me susceptible to tidal waves of emotion that can’t be contained. (For the record, I’m not the only one, though. I happen to know that your Aunt Beth started crying at March of the Penguins before the opening credits were through. The sight of a mama penguin and a baby penguin was all it took.)

I have a million memories from your first 13 months, but in other ways, a lot of the details have become blurry with time. Like, it’s easy to forget the times that I had to put you in the bouncy seat in the bathroom, just so I could shower. Or your father, incessantly pacing and bouncing you near the running washing machine, with the lights off, pleading with you repeatedly in the most gentle, loving, rhythmic fashion, “Why the hell won’t you shut up?” (Um, or something to that effect that I cannot repeat here.) And then there were the sleep-deprivation induced hallucinations, like when I came back to bed in the middle of the night after nursing you, and he bolted up, convinced that you were somehow squished in the middle of the bed with us, and started poking my leg, my arm, my torso, saying, “That’s the baby!” No, that was me. Not that I was doing much better in the middle of the night – can I tell you the number of times I ran into the door? It wasn’t ever even closed, but I managed to hit the two inch cross section. Add that to the list of this year’s discoveries - apparently, I have poor night vision.

It’s funny to think back to the very early days when getting you to fall asleep was more of a chore. Even then, once you fell asleep you were a fantastic sleeper. I have been afraid of jinxing this by speaking of it on this blog since you were about 10 weeks old. So, I haven’t, and have probably also spared myself the wrath of many frustrated, sleep deprived, jealous parents by doing so, but the truth must come out. We got lucky and hit the sleepy baby jackpot. We sometimes refer to you as our little koala. At your 6 month checkup, between your nap schedule and your overnight sleep, your veteran pediatrician who sees dozens of children a week said, and I quote, “I have never seen a child her age who sleeps that much.” (At that point, we were talking up to a max of 7 hours of nap time, plus a solid stretch of 12 at night.) Aunt Beth’s comment upon seeing the photo collage I made for your birthday was, “I’m surprised you have that many photos of her awake.” Hardy har har. At least you made it easier for mama to return to work back in January; I could rationalize and tell myself I wasn’t missing all that much! But let’s move on before I truly, truly jinx this all. Actually, I’m surprised you haven’t started screaming from your crib even as I type this. Let us never speak of it again.

So, where have we come to?

  • You’re still taking baths in the kitchen sink.
  • You’re not walking or even cruising, really, but you pull up to standing all the time and just recently started letting go to try balancing on your own, with this wondrous, “Look, Ma, no hands!” look on your face.

Getting to be such a big girl - practically ready for school with your new backpack.

Okay, maybe not. You still fit in it.
  • Your favorite games right now are peek-a-boo, the night-night game, and horsey.

  • You truly love cheese of any kind, which is a little sad at the moment, because I think we’re cutting it out of your diet due to allergies, but that’s a story for another day.

  • You are serious. No other way to put that. Especially when you first meet someone – you really need to take them in and assess the situation. You may have picked up your mother’s talent at “stone colding,” as your father would say. It took you FOREVER to laugh on a regular basis, and even now, you’re a pretty tough cookie to crack up. (The horsey game gets you, though, and I think you’re getting more ticklish with age.)

  • You clap, wave, and show us how big you are. You love to dance by sitting and bobbing and rocking back and forth.

  • You eat like a Roman. Seriously, you need to calm down about food. Teaching patience to a 1 year old seems to be a futile exercise, but honestly, we could do without the grunting, moaning, and out and out yelling while we get your food, or the next course, or the next bite ready. We are sincerely hoping that mealtimes get more peaceful as time goes on. Can you please be more like Harry?

  • You love, I mean LOVE tubes. As in, tubes of lotion and other various creams. If I were you, I’d be sick of getting coated in thick, greasy emollients, but if you hate the lotioning, you sure do love the tubes. You’re crying? I’m handing you a tube to play with. Don’t want to have your diaper changed? How about a tube to pass the time?

  • When feeling inspired you can say: purple, cat, dog, puppy, cheese, yellow, orange, zebra (1 time only), baby, shoe, flower, block, ball, chicken (um, sort of), goose (very recent addition), vroom, car, night night, and duck, and you can quack, roar, hiss, and woof. Maybe Steph will let me know if I’m forgetting any. As a Northwestern grad, I could not be happier that your first two words were purple and cat. Unbelievable. My friends are going to think we were trying to train you.

  • You also say dada pretty frequently, enough now that we think you know what you’re saying. Sure, you can make the syllable sounds of "mama" and will parrot them back to me when prompted, but you don’t really say mama and intend it to mean me yet.

  • You can sign: milk, more, books, change (kinda, if I do it first), eat, help (sometimes – but you’re still working on that one), and hear (every once in a blue moon).

  • You've stopped putting everything you touch directly into your mouth. In fact, you often find crumbs, or fuzz, or other tiny particles on the floor and hold them up to hand to us. Using a similar motion, you like to "share" your food by holding it out to the person who's feeding you until they pretend to eat it, at which point you snatch it back and eat it yourself.

How nice of you to "share" with your aunt.

Despite this photographic evidence to the contrary, you seem to be left handed.
  • You love books – holding them and being read to. You are particularly fond of Five Silly Monkeys and enjoy wagging your finger along with the doctor’s admonitions of those mischievous primates. You’re also partial to books with pictures of babies, and any books with flaps to lift.

  • You loved nursing this year, and your father and I will never forget the “air pony” – our name for the leg pumping move you frequently did to try to thrust yourself over to me faster as he stood holding you, ready to hand you over, while I got myself situated and ready for your visit to the buffet.

  • All things musical are high on your list, but Farmer Tad is currently beating out the mirrored music stand, your first long-lasting love.

  • You have 4 teeth, 2 on top, and 2 on the bottom.

  • In your first 6 months you lost most of your hair. In the next 6 months, you grew it all back and then some. I think you’ve settled on blonde for its color for now.

  • You have the most beautiful blue eyes I’ve ever seen. I know I’m biased, but I think they really are something, because everyone always comments on them, even strangers at the grocery store.

And to think we ever pondered whether they'd stay blue.
  • You love giving kisses, but oh man, not as much as we love getting them. When you’re 15 and being a little snot someday, I will remember these kisses. If I could bottle them and sell them as a drug, we’d be rich. You give kisses to kittens and puppies and babies and Elmo in books, and it’s adorable. You kiss all manner of stuffed animals. Recently, you’ve started giving kisses to Harry. What, are you trying to kill us with the cuteness?!

  • At your 1 year doctor’s appointment you weighed 19 lbs. and measured 29 inches long, with a head circumference of 46.8 cm.
So, those are your stats and your favorites. My current favorite is this: at bedtime, after stories and a duet of “Goodnight, Sweetheart”, you pretty much lurch from my arms to be set in your crib. You then wriggle your way over, pull yourself up, and stand with your little hands clutching the rail. We bend down to get on cheek level with you. And then you plant ‘em on us: big, wet, toothy, Georgia kisses. And as if that weren’t enough, it gets better. As we turn off the lamp and say sweet dreams, you actually wave bye-bye as we close the door.

What else is there to say? Your birth was the single most life-altering experience of my life. You can bring me to tears of frustration and tears of joy all in the same day. I have to watch myself at work not to blather on about you and how great you are to other less interested parties, although I’ve obviously taken the liberty of indulging that impulse here. Bobinx, Dad and I love you unconditionally, more than you will ever know.



Anonymous said...

Boy - I wish I'd checked this at home.... now I have to explain to all my co-workers why I'm crying in the office!!! Tom T.

jessica said...

This is the most beautiful post I've read. Georgia is so lucky and of course you and Joe are too :)

Crystal said...

Forget March of the Penguins, this is making me choke up! (Weird. I watched Juno last night and totally balled.)

Anonymous said...

Her first love letter! Makes me love all three of you even more (and I didn't think that would be possible). Gran, Mom, Marsha

Danni said...

This made me teary eyed! I want one of these every year.

Kate said...

okay, pull it together now, folks! this was not even intended to be a tear-jerker. glad you all liked it.