The week before you were born was just as hot as this week has been. Hot and sticky. This year, instead of swollen feet, I have a little girl with sticky fingers climbing and exploring in nothing but a diaper. Trying to stay cool. Tossing and turning in her sleep, rolling from her back to her belly to her side and back again to find the most comfortable position. Racing (crawling) after me down the hallway, lifting her arms up to join me on my walk to another room. Protesting wildly upon being left behind to make her own way. But not always.
Tallula, you are one today. This week I walked by your hospital after we met your Papa-daddy for lunch downtown and I felt only happiness at the memories from your birth. The labor painful without pain medication but perfect as I felt each contraction and push as you emerged from the womb. The happy tears your daddy and I both shed at your birth, the cry you let out to announce your arrival. Your suckling on my breast within minutes of joining us. The ease at which you were swaddled and fast asleep in my arms. I carried you back to our hospital room as I was pushed down the hall. You came with me. There was no ripping you from my body and rushing you elsewhere. I didn’t have to find you in another room, wires attached to your tiny body. Your body was plump, I was pretty surprised at your size, 8lbs2oz. You were a big girl. As you are now.
I see you stretched out in your crib or on our bed or even in my arms nursing and you have grown so much. You have a few bumps and bruises on your forehead from bonking into the table: you love to crawl underneath and pull up on the chairs and shift towards one of us under the table. You are getting taller so there is less space between you and the table top!
You pretty much feed yourself your meals, allowing us guest appearances. You still throw everything off your tray when you are finished but you use a bowl or plate until then. You manoeuvre your spoon to get yogurt from a bowl but like to use your hands too. You’ve also started scooping water from the bath into your mouth at bathtime.
You are trying to climb onto things and can manage up onto Sebastian’s bed with help and down again on your own as it is low the the ground. The nearby wall isn’t as easy. Maybe Spider-Man can show you a few tricks. You are able to stand for a few seconds on your own and are walking with help, both hands attached to ours and sometimes only one. You still wobble unsure and need our security.
You went on your first huge roadtrip, though you’ve had practice travelling to Michigan since you were three weeks old. You adjusted well to your new surroundings and slept though museum visits and walks through old cities while attached to one of us in the carrier. Even the whales in Tadoussac couldn’t keep you awake. In the car you screamed your self to sleep; but only when I was holding your hand or your chest in the back seat, sad and angry to be required to fall sleep out of my arms and in your car seat while on the road.
You make us laugh with your strong, animated personality. You share your biscuits with Sebastian during snack time and crawl onto him during play time. We are still trying to teach you that biting toes is not okay. Sebastian forgives quickly. I love seeing you walking your little (stuffed) dog over to see him when he’s in the beanbag with your push toy.
You sing loudly into the microphone and squeal with delight and protest in pitches we never realized possible. You swim effortlessly and with ease during your swim lessons, reaching out to grab toys and blocks and build them onto the raft in the pool. You smile widely at me before being dipped under the water and come up for air, shocked but more familiar with the process each time.
Your favorite book right now is Dear Zoo, you lift each flap and replace it carefully once you discover the animal hiding beneath. You sit reading books in your car seat or in your reading corner in the living room. But bed time is another story, you have little patience for reading.
Celebrating your first birthday is a beautiful miracle. Thinking back on a year filled with joy and discovery I can only look forward with more excitement and anticipation to see what adventures we will have next. Your facial expressions delight and surprise us, as do the little things, like watching you hide your toothbrush in the back of Sebastian’s Red Racer. You are absolutely beautiful, very clever, and strong. Whether it be pretending to use all of your strength to crush a Cherrio or stand your ground for something you so badly want – like standing in the bathtub when the rules require sitting. We are so happy and thankful you made us a family of four. We love you baby girl. And now you are one year old!!!