Twelve Months Old = 1 YEAR!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Dear Nora,

We did it. We made it through your first year. I say that like it was difficult, but it couldn’t have been easier, honestly. I’m sure I’m biased, but if there was a dictionary definition for “good baby,” I’m fairly certain your photo would appear next to it. We have been so lucky with you, and we know it—in fact, we’re a little nervous about giving you a sibling some day, because we’re afraid he or she will be payback! Or maybe you will give us a run for our money in your teen years. All parents have to pay their dues sometime, right? Yikes.

It’s not to say you are perfect. It’s important for you to know that nobody is! You have reached the start of temper tantrums. I was thinking that it’s early, but I’m told it’s normal toddler behavior. For the most part, you’re still an easy-going kid, but sometimes you just want things your way, and you are TICKED if they go differently.
Guess what else we did? We accomplished Mommy’s goal of one full year of breastfeeding. I can’t believe it! It was one of those things that I always hoped to do for you, but I always tried to take it day by day, week by week, month by month. I’m so happy that it worked out. I’ve been working on weaning you the last few weeks, and now we are officially down to two nursing sessions—one in the morning, one at bedtime. This week, we’ll drop the morning one, and then we’ll work on dropping the evening one as well.
To make things extra challenging, you have decided to start refusing the bottle completely. No matter what’s in it—breast milk, cow’s milk, water—you want nothing to do with it. So, you aren’t getting much milk at all right now. Your pediatrician says that we don’t need to worry, since you love yogurt and cheese, and have been eating more food. You sometimes take a lot of water out of a sippy cup at dinner—but generally you only like it if I take the “spill-proof” mechanism out of the lid. What can I say? You are particular about it.

You have started accepting some new finger foods. We’ve learned that if we want to get you to eat something new, we have to give it to you BEFORE we give you any of your favorites (like cheese, or banana). Apparently you will only eat new things if you think that your favorites are not an option!
Your little mind is starting to figure out a lot of things about the world around you. You try to put keys into the lock on the door. You put the (empty) syringe onto the top of the (closed) medicine bottle, then put it into your mouth like you’re taking a dose. You know that a spoon needs to be dipped into the bowl for food before you put it into your mouth. You try to put the lens cap back onto the camera (I’m not even kidding). It’s amazing, really. I love to sit back and observe, just to see what you’ll do next.
Although you still don’t have a lot of real words, you continue to belt out “Tessa” on a regular basis. You “talk” all of the time, but we just don’t really know what you’re saying. Sometimes, you’ll hold something out to us to take and we swear that you say, “Here!” You wave and say “Hiiii” and “Bye bye,” which has been a super cute developmental milestone this month. Your little voice is so adorable; I can’t wait to hear more of it. You have continued to give kisses—sometimes you even give unprompted ones, which never fails to melt my heart. You kiss others, too. Mary said you leaned over and gave your little friend, Amelia, a smooch one day. You also kiss your lovey or stuffed animals.
You have officially graduated from the Army crawl to being up on all fours. Last month, you did a combination of the two, and sometime this month, you decided that the Army crawl was no longer cool. You are standing with greater frequency. You have been letting go of your support and standing on your own for a few seconds before sitting back on your butt. You will be a late walker, but we don’t mind.
You are learning to communicate, even if it is not with words. You hold up books in the air and try to crawl into our laps when you want us to read to you. You reach out for objects and open and close your hand when you want us to give you something. You point with exuberance at things that excite you. I love seeing the world through your eyes.
You weigh 17 lbs., 14 oz. and you’re 28.75 inches long. It’s such a weird dichotomy—you are so small and baby-like, while also looking so big and toddler-ish. Sometimes I look at you and it just blows my mind. One year ago, you were this tiny bundle of squishy baby, who couldn’t focus her sight, and didn’t know her hands were attached to her body. And now you’re asserting more and more independence every day.

We had a big first birthday party for you yesterday. We had so many family and friends here to celebrate with you. We worked so hard to get the house ready, and although it wasn’t perfect, no one else knew that. We had incredible weather, and everyone had fun. You were loved by everyone here, and LOVED your cake—so that’s all that really matters, right?
As I put you to bed last night, I sobbed. I don’t even really know why, but I just sat and rocked you, staring at you and reflecting on how far we have come in just 365 days. I looked down at you nursing and it was so easy to take myself back to that hospital room last September 11, when I held and nursed you for the very first time. I could feel your tiny little body up against my bare belly. And now you are big and stretched out across my entire lap.
Last year at this time, I barely knew you. I studied the features of your face. I familiarized myself with your crazy, funny little monkey toes. I tested out kisses on different parts of your face, neck, hands, and feet to see which places worked best. Now, I know you like I know myself. I have lived and breathed you for an entire year.

It just happened so fast.
Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to be a mommy. It is the one dream that was consistent throughout my entire life, and was always the most important to me. You made that dream come true. You ARE a dream come true. Every time I would try to picture myself with a child, every time I would try to imagine what my baby would be like—I never could have imagined a child as wonderful as you are.

Every night, I pray over you. That you will be kept safe and healthy. That you will live a long and joyful life. These things I will continue to wish for you, every day for the rest of my life. For the rest of your life. I thank God for the gift that you are.
It is a privilege to be your mommy. I can’t wait to continue watching you grow. As you do, I know that you’ll need me less and less, but I will always be here. I will hold your hand whenever you want me to. I will hold your hand as long as you let me.

And you will hold my heart.

I love you with every ounce of my being. Happy Birthday, sweet girl.



Erin September 14, 2011 at 9:40 AM  

What a beautiful post! Congrats on making it :)

Michelle September 14, 2011 at 10:49 AM  

Tears! Lovely words. Nora is just a doll.

Mrs. Lopez September 14, 2011 at 2:33 PM  

So sweet! Happy 1 year Norah!

nikinikinine September 14, 2011 at 9:35 PM  

cue. the. tears. Congrats on making it through the first year, mama!

Anonymous,  September 14, 2011 at 10:54 PM  

This post made my cry. I can feel the love you have for Nora. I'm not a mother (yet), but I hope I can be as good a mother as you seem to be. I think it is so nice that you write these entries every month, for Nora. She is going to really appreciate them when she is older. She is such a cutie!

Stephanie September 16, 2011 at 10:49 AM  

This is such a beautiful post. When I read your letters to Nora while I was pregnant, I decided to do the same for my daughter who just turned 8 months. I love looking back at the letters I wrote to her each month, so thank you so much for the inspiration! I cried reading your 1 year post because I can't believe my daughter is getting so close to this milestone already! Happy Birthday Nora!

Pie September 16, 2011 at 12:49 PM  

Congratulations Heather! I can't help but shedding happy tears for you and beautiful Nora. Love her curly hair and cute "lady" smiles!

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