A year. A whole year!
One year ago, I woke up, as I had for weeks, heavy and uncomfortable. It had finally gotten hot after a cold spring, and your dad suggested we go to the pool to cool off. I waddled there slowly on swollen feet, and then I lowered myself into the cool water and you and I floated together for a while, turning and rolling and kicking.
We were so ready to meet you, to put a face to your squirming form. And what a face it was: beautiful and purple and topped with a shock of black hair. Slowly, imperceptibly, it has changed from the face of an infant to the face of a little boy. Your hair fell out, grew back, got curly. Your mouth widened for your new teeth. Your eyes grew more expressive.
This month, you started walking. The first time, you were so excited to see the kiddie pool I was inflating in the kitchen that you forgot you couldn’t walk. Keeping your eyes glued to it was so important that you couldn’t risk letting it out of your sight by getting down on your knees. That first day you walked across the whole kitchen a few times. Since then, you’ve kept your distances pretty short — three or four steps at a time — but your increased confidence is noticeable. You take off, rolling your whole body from foot to foot, not worrying about the fact that you’ll tumble down in a few steps. You’ll get there one way or another.
Most of the time, when you walk, you do it with this amazing silly new grin on your face, your giant cheeks pushing your eyes up into scrunched little half moons. You look so pleased with your self, and so excited about the world. You’ve been showing us that grin a lot recently. We went to a petting zoo last weekend, and you smiled wide at the baby goats and sheep, giggling as they nuzzled you, reaching out to them without any trepidation.
Each day you get more confident at mimicking sounds, and I feel like an explosion of words can’t be far away. Last night and today you said “dada” and “dad-dee” a bunch of times, almost but not quite using it to actually refer to you dad, and you’ve repeated “bye bye” a few times, too, even starting to wave. You are becoming an expert at saying “yes” and “no,” and practice all day long. You’re still not sure how to use “yes,” other than as a tool to make people giggle, but you’re a pro at using “no” to put a stop to unwanted blueberries or spoonfuls of yogurt. You’re also getting more clever about pointing at what you actually do want. I am looking forward to all your new words and gestures, especially since this month you’ve taken to saying it with your teeth when you can’t find the sound you’re looking for.
As you sunk your teeth into my shoulder (my arm, my calf, my collarbone) this week, I came to the the terrible realization that I’m going to have to start figuring out how to discipline you soon, how to teach you to think about the consequences of your actions, how to control your impulses. After a year of babying a baby, I am shocked to discover I’m now parenting a toddler.
But there is time to figure all that out. For today I will be content to stroke your curls, to tickle your armpits, to sing you silly songs, to giggle each time you make a funny face, to lick frosting out of your hair after you attack your birthday cupcake.
Eleven months ago, when you were just one month old, your dad wrote in his letter to you, “We got away with something world-changing here, and somehow we got to name it and take it home with us and call it our own.” You have changed our world, baby boy, and we love you more and more each day.
So many hugs and so many kisses,