Happy birthday, sweet boy!
You are officially one year old. How can I write about what that means to me and your daddy? It's a blessing to have made it through this exciting, challenging, fun year, and now we get to share a little more about who you are at twelve months old.
You are hilarious and so fun to watch. You still have these expressive eyebrows that dance around above your big blue eyes and clearly illustrate how you feel.
I especially love watching your facial expressions when you try a bite of a new food. Uncertain at first, but without fail those eyebrows relax and you point (or, more likely, grunt and yell) for more. You also melt my heart when you smile, and not just because you have one dimple on your left cheek like your daddy. Seeing those six teeth poke out from your little grin is just too cute. Your dad and I always wondered what you'd look like with teeth, since we adored your toothless, gummy smile, and now we wonder what you'll look like with hair someday!
You barely cracked a smile the first twelve weeks of your life, and while you've certainly made up for it now, you do still have your sweet serious expression that reminds me why it's so appropriate that we gave you your daddy's middle name. You seem thoughtful, observant, maybe a little reserved in some situations. A new toy, new people, new places: you're likely to sit back and take it in or quietly work it out for yourself before really opening up.
Despite that reserved side, you do love people. You'll hang out with anyone and love being held, up in the action with the adults. You know who all of your grandparents are, which warms my heart. While you really only see babies on occasion (MyGym classes and a few friends' birthday parties), you are learning how to play with kids your age, and I hope you'll continue to enjoy socializing.
You love making noise, usually involving banging some sort of a stick on a flat surface, the louder the better. A wooden spoon usually lies clutched in your grasp as you crawl around our new apartment, head down if you're really determined to get somewhere quickly. You'll replace the spoon with a ball (impressive!) or other toy on occasion, and I call you peg leg because you remind me of a cartoon pirate when you hobble around that way.
Other favorites: learning new words, though you haven't officially said any yet ("da" seems to be your word for dog, and "ata" is cat, "ee" might be tree, and "eye" might be hi), turning pages and lifting flaps in books, swinging, riding daddy's shoulders, going for walks, standing up, putting things into and taking things out of containers, pushing objects around while you crawl, being held while we dance and spin, being outside, swimming, taking baths, climbing stairs, going down slides, and more of course. You're generally easy to entertain and still seem to be pretty cool with playing by yourself, despite some bouts of clingyness this month.
These last few weeks, you've shown signs of LOTS of new knowledge! You have loved pointing for a while now, but you also proudly point to some objects if we ask you ("Where is Scout?" "Where is the dog?" "Where is Daddy?" "Where is your train?"), which also illustrates how quickly your vocabulary is growing. You also are starting to learn body parts, like belly button (your favorite!), nose, and toes. I love taking you for walks or even strolling through a grocery store and telling you about the stuff we're seeing. You really seem to love being out, no matter where we go.
Oh, and you learned to wave! Hooray! It's adorable. Of course.
Of course, we have our rough moments, too. I don't think we've officially entered tantrum territory yet, but you make your feelings known about waiting for food (our neighbors must wonder what the heck is going on at every meal when you YELL and grunt for more--we're working on it), not wanting to be put down or demanding to be picked up if you've decided you'd like to be held, and having an object taken away from you. Diaper changes are still often a battle, though I'd say they were worse last month.
You have grown and grown and grown this month. I packed away more of your clothes (now you're almost entirely 18 month sizes) and am certain you're nearing the mid-twenties for poundage. You're a tall boy for your age, so we'll see what the charts say at your appointment this week.
This month included our first move as a family. I'm sure you'll experience at least a few more in your lifetime, and you did great for the first one! Thanks for not unpacking everything I packed and for mostly sleeping through all the packing frenzies!
Your sleep was less than awesome this month, but we seem to be finding some better rhythms as you adjust to the new apartment. There's always something--teething, a cold, some development. We'll see if that all continues, but one wake up per night is fantastic in our books.
I'll write another postpartum update soon, but I have been reflecting on this year, as I'm sure so many mothers do when their babies reach new milestones. I remember those terrifying few days (weeks? months?) when you were brand new, when our lives had flipped upside down and we kept telling each other we wouldn't be sad when you turned one because we would be grateful for surviving that exhausting, stressful, anxiety-ridden time. Ah, but of course I was wrong. I am thrilled (thrilled!) that you are a healthy, growing, almost-talking little boy, but I see now how quickly it will all go. I see you running through the house in your soccer cleats (ugh, please don't choose soccer; can you do baseball instead?) next week and asking to borrow our car for your first date next month and graduating from college before this summer is even over.
I have to shake those thoughts and remind myself that for now, you are my little
baby boy, and you need me and your daddy. I have this precious time with you right now, time to read only every third page in books because your little fingers can't grasp the pages yet. Time to rub your sweet, still-kind-of-bald head to help you fall asleep. Time to laugh with you as you learn to use a spoon and make a mess all over the floor. Time to see the world through your pure, wide eyes as you take in fire trucks and trees and dogs and point them out to us to make sure we see them, too. Time to help you learn to walk and talk and swim and read and love your vegetables. Time to grab your (relatively) tiny body in a bear hug without needing a reason or meeting any resistance. Time to soak up your sloppy kisses and peaceful breathing and soft skin. Time to let you play without an agenda or lesson plan or intention other than hoping you'll find joy in the moment. Time to take you places we think you'll love so we can watch the wonder on your face before you snuggle into us in the Ergo and fall asleep. Time to give up trying to "get stuff done" around the house and just collapse on the floor with you to play. Time to hear you and your daddy reading or laughing or chatting and feel my heart swell because I love you both so much.
And I know it will never be enough time, because soccer cleats and dates and graduations are waiting, but I'll do my best to breathe it all in.
We love you more than you can imagine, and more every day, Marshall! Thank you for this beautiful first year. We are excited for the next one!
All photos are from our dear friend Sue, who kindly offered to document Marshall at one year. We absolutely love them!