Today, you are one year old.
You say "Mama" and "Dada" and starting last week, you say "buh" for "ball" and "buh-bee" for "baby." Although I know that you know "Mama" means me, you also like to use it to express a variety of emotions, such as the "I'm finished eating someone please take me out of here Mamamamamama!" or the "I'm tired someone please put me to sleep Mamamamama!" or the "I'm happy to be alive Mamamama!"
I can't wait to hear what you wind up calling Finn. I swear I've heard a "vvvvvv" or "fffffffi" sound from you when Finn comes into the room, but that is probably coincidence. Finn called himself "Tin" until a few months before turning three. The "f" sound can be tough.
You are a speedy up on all fours crawler, but you also like to do a hilarious "one-legged butt scoot" that I have yet to capture on film. This is totally foreign territory for me, but....you just aren't that interested in walking yet. If we hold your hands you will take 5-6 steps, but you'll bounce your legs and let go and immediately go into a crawl. I think this, among other things, is why I forget that you are almost to the toddler stage and think of you still as my little baby. Break it to me gently when you decide to start walking, okay?
Climbing is a different story. You climb up and down stairs, which is fun but also terrifying. You can scale most anything very quickly, which is not fun and also terrifying. I was once occupied with Finn for a moment and turned around to realize I had left his step stool out. You were on top of it in two seconds.
Even though your features certainly have their differences, you remind me a lot of your dad, most especially when you do your signature look, which is to lower your head and peer out seriously at something. You have his mellow demeanor and you take a moment before reacting to something. When Finn thought something was funny, he Laughed Like Nothing in the History of Existence Had Ever Been So Funny the moment it happened. You wait a few beats before delivering your soft little chuckle.
Yours and Finn's favorite thing to do together is to crawl over to a few pillows on the ground and bury your faces and roll around on your tummies together in them. You do this on any kind of soft surface, like a couch or in blankets, and Finn loves to mimic it. You also love to "chase" him while he crawls in front of you. And then, of course, there's the screaming game.
You are slowly coming out of the peak of separation anxiety...hurray! Although I loooove you wanting me and only me at all times, it was also a tad hard that handing you to anyone else elicited heartwrenching, screaming sobs. You let Havee and Mare Mare hold you this weekend with no crying and I took two showers. Two!
Even during your separation anxiety peak, you have always had a great many admirers out in public. As long as you are safely on my hip, you will smile your little smile, laugh your little chuckle, and scrunch up you face and your body in mock-shyness at any stranger who engages you. "That's a sweet one!" or "What a sweet baby!" are things I have heard over and over and over again about you.
I think you are gearing up to transition to one nap a day. Maybe it will take a few weeks or maybe it will be a couple more months, but depending on when you wake up in the morning, you'll either go down easily for the morning nap or you'll fight it for a long time and then I'll give you one midday nap. You have never been a long napper. There has literally been one time in your life (after the first 6 weeks) that you took a two hour nap. A long nap for you is an hour and 20 minutes, which you had been doing steadily in the morning for a long time, and then a short one in the afternoon. We won't get into your night sleep. I know that anyone who has had a "good sleeper" would think you were a horrific one, (and oh how I wonder sometimes what it is like to have a true good sleeper!) but I consider you a good sleeper compared to, well, you know.
You love being outside as much as Finn does, although your outdoor antics are a little more the way of "sit in the grass, quietly explore, and chew on a stick" rather than "hang from a tree upside down while holding a rope and screaming." The outdoors definitely calms you.
You eat a very light breakfast and lunch but take in quite a bit at dinnertime, which is really encouraging. You will try anything but definitely express your opinion with a "dear god what is in my mouth??" face if you're not a fan. I am really trying to introduce you to a variety of foods, although it is very tough when the fact is that I just don't have a lot of time to prepare food these days. Your number one favorite food is buttered spaghetti, but you also like peas, rice, tofu, eggs, kale, yogurt, blueberries, canteloupe, and watermelon. Cheese and black beans have elicited the strongest "excuse me while I puke" faces.
You've learned to use a sippy cup! Yay!
Your ability to play continues to astound me. You love to explore our piles of toys and, unless you are tired or hungry, contentedly play while I do some chores. You make a "vroooo vroooo" sounds and move trains and cars back and forth with your hand. It kills me. You love Finn's Melissa and Doug fruit pieces and often suck on one while playing with the others. You still love to sit on the dishwasher door while I put dishes in, and since I'm a horrible mother, I let you do it. It's been through playing with you that it hits me, how much you are growing up and how much you are able to understand, since if I say "press the button" you will press it, or "may I have that?" and you will hand it to me.
You have always loved bath time. You play and I wash you and when you are ready to get out, you pull up to the side of the tub and wave your arms and say "ah! mama! ah!" and I ask, "are ready for me to wrap you up, wrap you up, wrap you up??!" And you squeal with excitement.
While you are playing, you'll often take a break and climb into my lap for a moment and snuggle. Or, you'll come over and dive face first into me, bury your face into my chest, and go back to what you were doing.
Although you are mellow about most everything, the one thing you are NOT mellow about is getting your diaper changed and getting dressed. Your brother intensely disliked it (and still does). You wiggle around like a maniac and although you are usually my cuddly, soft baby, you turn into a very strong wild animal while I wrestle with you. I sing the same song every time we do it and I'm sure one day it'll catch on.
It is May again. There are flowers in our pots out front again, yellow and orange this year. We are past the weeks when the neighborhood is blanketed in pollen and not yet to the weeks when the hazy heat clears the park. People are out walking and playing, like they were when you were born. They still wear layers in the morning but are sweaty in the afternoon. This is the sweet spot, and it is more than fitting that this is when you came into the world.
I remember that morning, I always will: your dad eating a bowl of cereal in the dim kitchen at 4 am, the thud thud thud of our tires on an empty interstate, the quiet hospital, and that excitement--oh, that pulsing excitement that you only get to feel a few times in life. When you were born, I looked at you and thought "this is my child," and for one moment I wondered how could that be? My child was at home with his grandparents. But then something big in me heaved over and made a place for you. And it doesn't seem possible that anything had ever felt full before.
You were maybe two days old when I realized that you knew me. That there was some taut, invisible string running tight between us. You cried and squawked and fussed, but when I brought you to me, you were calmed. It was like magic, the ease of it. I was your safe place. You did not care about anything that up to that point I was proud of, that I thought made me me, my best traits or achievements. I was just enough. It was among the best gifts I'd ever been given.
Your babyhood has gone too quickly. They all do. I knew it would, and so I enjoyed it, I breathed it, as much and as deeply as I could through this year's joy and sadness. I held you while you slept for most of your first four months. And now, I sit down with you in the dark and I hold you while you are sleepy, memorize your smell, and lift you up, eyes half open, and put you on my shoulder for a few seconds before laying you down in your crib. When I am old, I will remember those quiet moments as some of the most precious of my life. You've given me much more than I have you. I will be forever grateful.
Eamonn, you have a spirit that anyone who has been around you has noticed. A sweetness that seems pure and untouched. There is something accepting, and content, down deep in you. I hope it will anchor you all your life. We will always wonder how we got so lucky to have you in ours.