Saturday, November 24, 2012

A whole year old

Hey baby girl!  You turned a year old this week.   I think you're technically a toddler now, but when I ruffle your peach fuzzy hair and kiss those full cheeks, you are and forever will be my little baby.

I’m starting to see flashes of the little toddler you’re becoming: serious but charming, a girl who knows what she wants (and often how to get it, uh oh), friendly and curious and getting into everything, and a kiddo who loves dissecting how things work.  You can be very deliberate and intense fiddling with your toys: your father thinks you’re a little engineer in the making and he couldn’t be more proud.

Nothing has changed between you and your dad: you're two peas in a pod and he is, without a doubt, the fun parent and you guys are always getting into mischief together.  He’ll say things like, “Mommy can be such a drag, don’t you think Annie?!” and you both will look at me and you’re grinning your wide-mouthed two-teeth little smile and I say, “You can’t say things like that!  She’s going to understand you sooner than later!”  And then your dad laughs and then you squeal and then I sigh and the whole charade begins again.  It’s you two against the world and you are a Daddy's girl through and through.   It's such a privilege to see the two people I love most in cahoots together.  

You’ve been our health champion but man oh man, it’s been a trying couple of weeks.  Two weeks ago I got a call that your temp was nearing 104 and I took you to the doc: you had your first ear infection!  You've never been a big cuddler - you always must be seeing, doing - but that day you just snuggled up against me, your hot head and crimson cheeks on my chest.  A week later you were covered in hives.  And this week, lord almighty, you might just have ringworm (pending the lab results).  Forever our trooper, you took it in stride.  You are often so very even-keeled!  When you had your ear infection, you were a bit more fussy but also quieter, more serious.  Your dad and I think you'll be an introvert like your two parents: I can't imagine you hamming it up and putting on a shtick for the crowds.  Perhaps this is just your ol' parents projecting and we can't wait for all the surprises as you grow and blossom.

You’re getting pickier when it comes to food.  Oatmeal is out and cantaloupe is in. Today.  You still have a healthy appetite and have been given me these fuming little looks when I’m chomping on something delectable and you have a very mushy entrée.  You’re just not buying it anymore and damnit, you want salad and whole fruits too!  You recently discovered graham crackers and you went bonkers.  It was love at first bite and you snarl and fake cry when I cut you off.

I’m making you sound like my little tormentor!  But the truth is, we love your willful side and it cracks us up.  We just hope you use your powers for good.  Take physical therapy: you can be very obstinate when it comes to your exercises and crawling: you know exactly what we want you to do (and you can do it), but you often out-and-out refuse.  We're supposed to dissuade scooting and encourage crawling to develop those weaker arms, and when I spot a tell-tale scoot, I shuffle over to put you in the crawling stance, but by that time you're already in a sitting position looking at me innocently.  "What, me scoot?" you seem to say.  "I was just playing with this here block, jeez."  I sit back on the couch you and you commence scooting again, sometimes even looking over your shoulder to see my reaction!  Some babies might just oblige  but we can do this back-and-forth exercise, well, forever.  Lately, your father and I just don't have the energy and we let you do your half-gorilla, half-crab scoot all over the place.  You, dear, will not be deterred.  And lordy if it just doesn't make my heart soar to see you beamin' and scootin' your little heart away.

And, on a very positive note, your torticollis (your weak neck muscles that made your head favor one side) is almost gone and you have much better alignment.  I am so grateful.  I pictured you, walking around as an adult, with your head tilted to the one side, cursing Matt and me for not getting this corrected when you were a kid!  And the whole image would spiral downwards: you would often be homeless and warming yourself by a burning trashcan ranting about your upbringing.  I'm not sure how a slight tilt to your head equates to homelessness  but I guess this is just what mothers do.

Your father and I haven't been encouraging "mama" and "dada" too much, but "dog" (strangely enough).  So I guess Penny wins.  You say "daw" when you see Penny and often a muffled "hi" after we say hello, so I'm not sure if we count these as your first words.  Does the dog need the G sound for it to count?  Sometimes you mimic our sounds if I say mama, but I know you don't equate it with me, so Matt says that doesn't count, either.  (I think he's just bitter.)

Your now cruise along furniture and often scoot over to us and pull yourself up on our pant legs.  It's very sweet and you just love standing tall.  It's also annoying when you cruise around the ottoman knocking things off, or shuffle over to where our laptops are sitting and begin pounding on the keys.  You are out-and-out obsessed with our laptops!  I got you a baby laptop for your birthday and I honestly think you find this childish gimmick of a toy insulting.  "I have a lot of work to do and don't throw that juvenile toy in front of me, I need Daddy's Mac Book NOW!"  One time you erased lots of your father's work (jibberjab to me, code to him) and I found it hilarious.  So that's a win.

And last week we celebrated your birthday: the party was a success but your dad and I decided next year it's a pizza or Chinese take-out type of gig.  Sorry, kid: your parents were exhausted and we got everything on the table just in the nick of time!  It was a fall spread: pumpkin soup, lots of bread from the bakery, braised brussel sprouts with bacon, a pecan and pear salad, a pomegranate champagne punch, hot cider, and lots of other nibbles.  It was wonderful to spend the day with the people who love you most - and who knew intimately of our struggles to get you here.  You are one lucky little girl to have so much love surround you.

Which brings us to today.  I'm writing this post - uninterrupted - because you spent the night with your Granny Nanny and Poppy Hoppy.  Your dad and I went hog wild with our free night.  First, your father called around to get quotes on a new hot water heater as ours is leaking.  (Like I said, it was wild.)  Then we saw Lincoln (I know, you're in a tizzy, like, "How could they do all of this stuff without me?!").  Then we picked-up some Chinese takeout and went home and I watched Nightline.  Seriously.

Your dad and I are excited to pick you up in a couple hours.  Even when you're not here, you're on our lips and in our thoughts.  When I had you I won the lottery.  It was a windfall that just keeps on giving and giving.    Eternal dividends.

Happy birthday, my darling girl.  My serious scientist.  My charming child.  Your father and I love you so very much.

And now, onto the photos of the bash!

The gang, from L to R:
Cliff and Lorene (Annie's paternal great-grandmother), Danita (my dear friend who is the "Ebony Aunt" to Annie's "Alabaster Niece"), Annie's paternal grandparents in the foreground - Poppy Hoppy and Granny Nanny, Annie's maternal grandparents in the background - Mimi and Grandpa, Me, Matt and the birthday girl, my sister Kristen and her boyfriend Chris in the background, then Matt's brother Joe and his girlfriend Kristen in the foreground, Matt's aunt Cindy, then his sister Priscilla and her boyfriend Royce, and Matt's cousin Laura.  Whew!  A lovely group.


  1. Awwwwwwwwww! Now this makes for the best addition yet to the memory box.

    (OMG speaking of which--totally didn't finish mine, and in the midst of doing something or another, I lodged it in my purse! Blame it on the pom punch BUT at least you'll get some fun mail!)

    Also, according to Mags--totally a non-partial party since she's not met Annie yet--this girl's a bright-eyed beaut! "Gonna be a heartbreaker with that smile, those eyes and that li'l eyebrow of hers."

  2. Thanks, love! So very sweet (both you and Mags). And yes, I demand your memory box note stat! Can't wait for our Love, Actually fest...gotta go fetch the bubbly!