A huge part of Mommy feels at a complete loss for words. Her baby boy, becoming not-so-baby by growing up on her and turning a year old! How can this be happening? It feels eery and surreal.
To say that this last year has been the best year of Mommy’s life is an understatement. You bring Mommy and Daddy more joy than anything else in our lives. You add balance and completion. Before you, we always felt like something, someone, was missing. You have done more than “fill” that hole, you have enlarged us, grown us into new and better people. You are a miracle, not just because of your life, but because of what you’ve done to ours! It’s been amazing to watch such a tiny person make such a huge impact.
Over the past year, there have been so many things I’ve grown to love about your character. You are filled with such a passionate zest for life. You don’t just let things happen, you make them happen. If you want the dog to play with you, you chase and “beat” her with stuffed toys. If you want an object, you don’t stop trying until you get it. Today at lunch, you didn’t just eat the corn on the cob, you grabbed it with both hands and DUG IN ferociously with your teeth. I think this sums up your personality well.
This passion also shows itself when you are happy. If someone comes home, you don’t just smile, you throw your hands up, shout, “HII!” and giggle with the biggest grin on your face. Every time. As though you can’t contain all the happiness inside! If someone comes up and laughs nearby, you can’t help but join in, usually out-doing them in volume. You are hardly every cranky or morose–when you are, it’s almost always easily explainable.
You are also very smart. You can color with crayons, you can sort toys and leaves and you already have a small vocabulary of words. You can match with singing any note that you are hearing, and when you flip through books you babble away, just like you’re Mommy or Daddy reading to you. Today at church, you even grabbed a songbook and pretended to read from it (LOUDLY, I might add!).
You love animals. This could get you into trouble in the future, because you are so fearless. Not every doggie is as kind as Claire, however, so there is some definite training in the future for you. You make a high pitched whiny sound whenever you see a cat or dog (imitating Claire’s bark), and can’t wait to get closer for a better look.
Physically, you are still very small– just shy of 18 pounds. You have a big belly, skinny arms, and nearly-stocky little legs. Your feet and head are actually what’s big for your age– none of your 12 month hats fit, and you already wear a Size 3 or 4 in baby shoes!
Your “Dadda” has become your favorite person on the planet. When we drop lunch off to Daddy at work, it’s “Dadda”-this, and “Dadda”-that the whole way home and for at least an hour afterwards. When Mommy feeds you a bottle in the morning, you take a while to get over your “sleepy crankies”, but when Daddy’s there, you are belly laughing and playing peekaboo and wrestling him immediately.
You still don’t like walking very much, although you can take several steps at a time. You had a couple falls that scared you, Mommy thinks. But you will walk someday when you all of a sudden decide you want to– when you put your mind to it, nothing gets in the way. That’s always been the kind of kid you are.
You always seem to find yourself in precarious situations! Mommy and Daddy joke that your favorite game is “Sandwich Head”, where you get your head lodged in between two pieces of furniture and HOWL until we come and pull you out. You have found a way to climb into the most awkward positions and spaces, underneath tables, through chairs, under the sofa (sigh…yes).
You are such a GREAT sleeper. Seriously, it’s the single greatest gift you’ve given Mommy on a logistical day-to-day basis. 12-13 hour stretches every night (I can’t even remember the last time you woke up prematurely!), and 4 hours of napping by day. Once or twice a week, you even sleep in until 9am (bless you child, BLESS YOU)!!! And it takes us no more than a few seconds to lay you down to sleep– you just grab your blankie, suck on your pacifier, and roll over.
You’ve made huge dietary strides. Today at lunch, you drank 10 oz. of normal milk– no formula needed! You eat anything we are eating, so we hardly need to carry baby food around anymore (and you don’t really like the watery texture very much anyways). We have to be careful though– the last few times we’ve let you eat bread on your own, you’ve found a way to immediately stuff the entire piece in your mouth at once, resulting in choking episodes. NOT COOL. We are now careful to only leave a few pieces of something on your tray at a time to keep you from over-filling your mouth (if we leave too many, you find a way to gather them all in your palm and shove it all in at the same time!). Again, it’s that zest for life, affecting even how you eat your food. You can’t wait to get it all in there! We sometimes call them “Cheerio Grenades”.
Something that Mommy really wants to let you know (in case you ever wonder!), is that you have never been a duty. You aren’t holding her back from a career, getting in the way of her chores, or cramping her social life. You are a joy, someone that Mommy is privileged to spend her days with. She wouldn’t have it any other way– she feels so blessed to get to stay home and play with you. At night, after you’ve gone to bed, she can’t help but think through all the fun times you both had together throughout the day, all the cute smiles and looks, all the crazy antics you got yourself into. In other words, even though you’ve only been asleep for a few hours, Mommy already misses you, every night, without fail. Please, don’t ever ask Mommy if she resents having to be a “stay at home” mom. You already have your answer.
Mommy may have lost her temper here and there throughout this year, as you broke something special, clawed her face, or had a huge poop explosion all over, but it was always her lack of patience, her shortcoming. You have been a GREAT baby, even what most would call “easy”, by most counts. You have only been sick one time with a chest cold. One time, in an entire year!!! That’s amazing! You are easy to please, you play independently for over an hour (especially with grandma’s kitchen, just waiting to be torn up!) and you are so so so loving.
And that, little Gregory, is what makes Mommy happier than anything. It’s not just that we love you– it’s that you clearly love us in return. From your sweet baby kisses and hugs, to your sighs of contentment when we rock you, to the huge greetings you give us when we walk through the door, you have made it clear that you know how to love, and that you do it effortlessly.
And we will NEVER stop loving you,