My baby is 1!

I can’t help it: I find it fascinating to think that it is the fortuitous encounter of two tiny cells, 21 months ago, that allowed my daughter to be alive today. There were millions of possibilities. It could have been a different sperm, another egg. I would have had a different child. But here she is, alive and well, walking, communicating and showing her personality, a real little person already. All because on a sunny day, 11 years ago, her dad decided to go home early and sat next to me on a bus.

A year ago, I spent the day in hospital, most of it bored and waiting for contractions to get harder and for serious work to begin. Then not long before diner, she came, my little baby girl with her umbilical cord so short I couldn’t get her all the way to my chest. It’s hard, already, to remember how tiny a newborn is. For the first few weeks, she was pretty much glued to me, drinking 95% of the time, sleeping on me. It has been a while since she has slept on me now, but I still get that feeling of a completely abandoned child on my shoulder when she hugs me after I’ve been gone most of the day. And I savor it.

My daughter was not exactly an easy baby. She was never one to fall asleep whenever she was tired: we had to make an effort to put her to sleep. At first, she slept well (for a newborn) but cried a lot during the day (basically, any time she wasn’t drinking). That was ok, I could deal with that: solutions were obvious. Then she started being harder and harder to put to sleep and we would walk her for an hour or sometimes more to try and put her to sleep. I’m sure there must be a wear pattern on the bedroom carpet (in our old apartment). I sung so many songs to her, sometimes ending up in tears of exhaustion, until we changed our strategy and taught her to fall asleep by herself. Now she sleeps pretty well, although she wakes up early, but it was a long journey that took us there.

My daughter showed determination and a need to be self-sufficient at a very young age. She came out of the womb able to lift her head and after 5 1/2 months she was done with staying put: she wanted to move, so she learned the commando crawl. She could stand up at 7 months and walk by 11 1/2. She says a few words (mamamama, donne, meow, hi) but communicates extremely well with various techniques: pointing, grunting, etc. And as I watched a friend feeding her 9-month-old who wore a tiny little bib, I realized that her insistence on feeding herself is not typical. She won’t let us feed her at all, even if she has her own spoon. She will handle her food, then put it all over her clothes, her face, her hair… hence the full coverage bib she sports at the dinner table.

My baby has high highs and low lows. She smiles, laughs and plays a lot, but she easily turns into a pouting mess. She can get really mad when you refuse to give her something she wants. But she also gives the best kisses and hugs. She LOVES animals of all shapes and forms (real or stuffed). She likes biking. She loves to play with our clothes. She loves music and dances and claps whenever she hears someone sing. She loves water and will run up the stairs to the bathroom when I turn the tap on in the tub. She likes looking at books (and tearing them apart), although she is not too patient when it comes to us reading them.

Her brother loves her and she seems to love him back, although she also makes him mad when she grabs his toys. It’s hard to remember exactly how my son was at that age, but they are certainly different. I don’t think he was quite as intense as she is. He was a fairly easy baby and I think she’ll be harder to manage. Already, she rummages in the kitchen cupboards, empties the dresser drawers and bookshelves, whereas her brother never seemed to do that. She picks her nose intently at the dinner table, and when we stop her, she waits until we look at her again, then stick her finger back in with a smile. Yes, she’s defiant already. And she’s darn cute, so she often gets her way! She certainly doesn’t like to be told “no”, and that’s where trouble is a-brewing.

But she is sweet, sweet trouble. Having two children is certainly harder than just one, although the actual task of raising her seemed easier than that of raising a first child (less worries, better understanding, more realistic expectations and a few more tricks up the sleeve the second time around). Especially, having to juggle the schedule when you have an active 4-year-old who wants to go places and an active 1-year-old who doesn’t like to nap on the go is really hard. But we’ll figure it out. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. Because I love seeing my kids play together. I love it when I’m about to scold my son for being too rough with his sister and I have to shut up because I realize my baby is laughing. And I think he loves having a baby sister (especially when other kids ooh and aah over her, at which points he feels the need to remind them she’s HIS little sister).

All in all, she is an obviously bright, smart baby who will certainly be interesting to see develop. Happy birthday my sweet little girl. I can’t believe you’re one already. You grew so fast. But you’ll always be my baby.

Je t’aime!


One Response to “My baby is 1!”

  1. marie Says:

    bonne anniversaire petite fille
    j’aurais bien aimé te serrer dans mes bras, ou, à tout le moins te voir et t’envoyer plein de bisous!
    je t’aime!
    grand-maman Marie