Alden: 1 Year Old

One year ago, I was laughing in the shower, in a state of mild shock, as my water had just unexpectedly broken. One year ago I was reaching down to pull you out of me and greet you for the first time. One year ago I was trying to wrap my head around the idea that I was no longer pregnant, as everything had happened so fast. One year ago, I was holding your tiny, beautiful body to my chest, encouraging you to nurse and wondering who you were, what should we name you?

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It seems only moments ago.

Your newborn days flew by in a blink – all the floppy cuddles quickly replaced by bright, inquisitive eyes and a delicious giggle. Before I knew it, you were sitting up, then standing, and now, suddenly, you are walking and climbing everything in reach.

Alden one month

You only nurse to fall asleep now. I try to offer it occasionally for comfort but you push me away. Nap times, bedtime, and whenever you wake during the night; those are our special times to snuggle close together, your blanket wrapped around you, and I nurse you to sleep while we rock.

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I’m constantly in awe of how much you can eat, sometimes even more than your sisters. You are officially eighteen pounds and five ounces, putting you within only a few pounds of Eleanor’s weight. At twenty-nine and a half inches tall, you fall squarely into “average height” territory. Yet I’m still amazed at all the things you grab each day that I thought were safely out of your reach. Soon we will have to lower your crib mattress to it’s lowest setting.

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You are teething again, working on two more bottom teeth that will bring your total up to six when they come in. It’s been a doozy this time, preventing you from being your usual happy self and keeping us both awake for long parts of the night. I hope they break through soon.

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You love to push the little ride-on car around the living room. Chewing on your sisters’ backpacks is one of your favorite pastimes. They adore building cup towers for you to knock down. Zoey lifts you up so you can see out the front window, which makes you very happy. When she isn’t there, you try to climb up on the heater and pull yourself up with the windowsill to see out. We had to move the bookshelf that was there because you were using it as a ladder.

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We’ve put you in the baby swing in the backyard once or twice, but you’ve still never really played outside. The weather is quickly becoming nicer, though, and as soon as it stops pouring rain all the time I think we will fix that. Now that you can walk a bit, I don’t have to worry about you crawling through all the mud and dirt. You’ll probably still try to eat the sticks and leaves though.

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We have a routine to our days and you love it. Wake by 7:30am, breakfast and take Ellie to preschool, then nap from 9 until 10:30. Then it’s off to pick up Eleanor and back home for lunch. You play for awhile and then another nap around 1:30 until whenever you wake up, which is usually between 2:30-3. Snack and playtime, then dinner and finally bedtime around 7. You love this routine and it works great when we stick to it. Any time things get changed up, you get a bit grumpy and over-tired.

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There are so many little moments that come to my mind as I think back over the past year, most of them a blur. I never would have imagined time could pass so quickly. What I remember most though, is all the smiles and laughs. Yours and mine. You “kissing” all over my face with an open mouth. You trying to blow on my belly like I do to yours. The way you insist on yanking your socks off in the car and chewing on them until they are drenched with drool. The insanely proud and happy smile on your face whenever you are walking. The sweet, sweet way you suck your thumb. The Pavlovian response you’ve developed with your blanket: the moment that blanket comes in contact with you, your thumb immediately pops into your mouth. Every single time.

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I have found more joy in your babyhood that I ever believed possible. There is a deep part of me that aches to see it go, that weeps at the thought of you growing so quickly. Your babyhood has truly been a magical time for me, and I wish I could experience it all over again. It probably still wouldn’t be enough for me. I know there are many more wonderful moments to come: soon your babbles will turn into words and I’ll get to hear you call me Mama and say “I love you.” You’ll learn to run and leap into my arms. You’ll laugh at jokes and feed yourself. Still, there is a magic to that first year that is just so very precious.

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I hope, someday, many years from now, you will have that magical first year with a child of your own. Then, you will understand just how grateful I am that I got to be a part of your first year. That I got to be here for every kiss, every cuddle, every smile. Because, oh, there were so many of them and yet, still, never quite enough of them.

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