The First Year

Hard to believe it, but the first year of my son’s life is past.  No longer an infant, he’s officially a toddler.  He decided to take his first four steps on his birthday, and watching him wobble from the kitchen island into my arms was an amazing moment — literally walking towards me, but figuratively taking steps away from his babyhood and into the little boy he is starting to become.

What a year.  It’s been hard, of course… but not as hard as I feared.  Mostly, it’s been amazing and surreal.  I still look at my son every so often and marvel at this little human, this creature who now exists and didn’t before.  This person who grew inside my body.  I wonder what’s going on in his mind.  I wonder what his life will be like as he grows.  I delight in watching him discover the world, discover his new capabilities, discover communication and connection.

He is his own little person, developing his own quirks and preferences.  He snuggles by rubbing his forehead against us (where “us” refers to my husband and me, our dog, his stuffed animals).  We discovered on his birthday that he has a healthy skepticism of helium balloons, which appear to defy all the laws of physics that he has come to know through experience.  All week we’ve watched him come to terms with the unnerving balloon in our living room, first glaring at it while pressed into my shoulder, then eyeing it warily while he played, then gradually moving closer, then touching it and recoiling as it drifted back towards him, then eventually grabbing it and giving it a good shake.  He’s cautious, but becoming an explorer.  Those first steps have been followed by an occasional one or two here or there, but he still prefers the speed and certainty of crawling.  He’s not saying any words yet, but he’s demonstrating that he understands a surprising amount of what we say to him.  He knows who Mama, Dada, Goldie (our dog), and Nana (my mom) are, he knows how to clap his hands (even if we just tell him without showing him), how to shake, how to dance, how to put one block on top of another, how to give us a toy (even if he doesn’t always want to), how to “come here,” how to “go get it,” how to snuggle, and how I ask if he wants to nurse.  He makes his wishes known if he wants us to read a book again, or press the button so that his stuffed elephant will sing again.  He is eating a wider variety of solids, and strongly prefers to finger-feed himself, generally refusing a spoon (unless it’s mommy’s spoon with mommy’s food on it). This week he ate blueberries, kiwis, clementines, quesadillas with beans, cheese, and avocado, polenta, toast with peanut butter, graham crackers with cream cheese, and a ton of fruit and veggie puree.  He is still skeptical of squash and green veggies that are not in pureed form.

My attempt at gentle night weaning has been a rousing success this week — after his birthday, I started nursing him for one minute less each night, and after the night when I fed him for only three minutes on each side, he just… stopped waking up.  Last night was night three of a solid 11-hour night without a feed, and without any fussing that required us to go in to comfort him.  All of a sudden my little guy is sleeping on his own, and it’s glorious.  He seems better rested and is sleeping longer too!  Now if only he’d nap longer than 30 minutes at daycare…

I love this little guy to the moon and back, and can hardly remember life without him.  Sometimes it takes my breath away how much I love him.

And… we are officially trying to have a sibling for him.  That’s probably a subject for a whole other post, but I am fully expecting it to be a long haul.  So we’re getting started now, planning to try on our own for a while before going back to the RE when he’s somewhere around 18 months.  I’m approaching this attempt much more like a marathon than like the furious, desperate sprint to get pregnant as quickly as possible after his sister died.  I just turned 34, so we don’t want to wait forever, but we can afford to take it slowly for a little while.  To be honest, I’m not exactly eager to jump into having two kids right away, even though we know it’s something we want in the longer run.  We’ve just hit our stride with one, and rewinding back to the newborn days looks daunting, to say the least.

In the meantime, we have an amazing little boy to enjoy and to care for, who fills our lives and our hearts to the brim.  We are so fortunate.  What a difference a year makes.

12 thoughts on “The First Year

  1. jwhitworth7

    Loved this post! Happy Birthday!!! He sounds like he is a sponge these days! And how exciting that night weaning has gone so smoothly! I’ve almost deciding building things up in my head to be horrible (as a parent) has helped me prepare and when they go well it’s like this amazing surprise! And yay for sleeping through!!! Such lovey wonderful and exciting steps he’s making (literally and figuratively). And I think you approach to trying again is a good strategy. I am so hoping the process goes well for you guys!!

    1. lyra211 Post author

      Aw, thank you! Yes, I’m definitely with you in the camp of agonizing over how awful things will be in advance and then being pleasantly surprised when they’re not as terrible as I had imagined. 🙂 Sometimes life is just easier that way! He is a little sponge these days. He’s learning new things all the time, and just cracks me up with his personality. One funny little thing that he can do this week that he couldn’t do before is that he’s figured out how to crawl under furniture — we have some hilarious pictures of him trying to crawl under our kitchen chairs a few months ago when his head got stuck on the rungs and he just had no clue what was going on and got frustrated trying to push his forehead through the rungs (which didn’t work, obviously). Today he ducked his head and crawled right under the rocking chair, and then a few minutes later he went into the kitchen and crawled under the kitchen chairs as if to say “Ah ha! I have conquered you, chairs!” 🙂 So funny to watch them learning new things all the time. And pretty soon you’ll get to do it all over again with a different baby — I imagine that it must be fascinating to watch siblings figure things out in different ways and at different times.

      1. jwhitworth7

        That is adorable! I love it! It’s crazy how they really can apply one learning experience to another. It is so fun watching them figure out the world in which they live in! Luke is such a sponge too. Apparently he has watched us sweeping because yesterday he went and grabbed the broom and dust pan and got right to work! It’s amazing how much latent learning happens with this toddlers.

  2. My Perfect Breakdown

    Happy birthday to your little guy!!! It’s truly amazing to see how much and how quickly they learn and explore!! I love how he hugs! Little MPB hugs by standing in front of us and throwing his entire body into ours. It’s almost like we catch him, I love it each and every time! ❤
    Wishing you the absolute best in your pursuit of a sibling!!

    1. lyra211 Post author

      Aw, the full-body hugs sound adorable too! I find it so fascinating to see how babies can get the general idea of something but still do it totally differently from how an adult would do it (like hugging). For example, S was eating waffles this morning, and it was really fascinating to watch him figuring out how to eat waffles. I’d given him a quarter of a waffle to munch on, and he could see that he wanted to bite the corner… so he picked up the corner in his fingers. Not a great idea, because then when he got it to his mouth, he couldn’t bite it without biting his fingers. So he tried to eat the side of the waffle instead, but that was harder to get in his mouth. He managed it, though, and then you could see his tongue trying to get at the waffle, but he hadn’t actually bitten a bite off yet. So he kind of mashed it between his teeth, but the bite didn’t totally come off, and then it sort of fell out of his mouth, and you could see that he didn’t quite have the idea of coordinating his teeth and lips so that he could bite something and then kind of grab it with his lips before it fell out of his mouth. 🙂 Something so simple that we take for granted, like hugging or eating, is a whole multi-step process for babies to figure out! I never get tired of watching it!

  3. hopingforatakehome

    Happy birthday!!! That is so exciting that he took his first steps right on his birthday. How great that you got to be the one who saw his first steps. Was your husband there too? Very cool that he is stacking blocks already. Baby O is definitely still solely in the destruction phase at the moment. lol And that’s great news on the night weaning! I was wondering how it was going. Sometimes babies will surprise you with how well they adjust to a change!

    1. lyra211 Post author

      Yes, my husband was standing right there and saw them too! It was so cool! S took four steps towards me, twice in a row, and my husband saw it both times.

      Ha ha… the destruction phase. S is definitely not out of the destruction phase! He is more interested these days in destroying paper than block towers, though. 🙂 It’s so interesting watching him learn to stack — he’s actually pretty good at getting one thing on top of another. The hard part is mostly letting go gently, leaving the block in place and not knocking over the other blocks as he takes his hand away. It’s always so funny how we take these complex skills for granted!

      I love that you’re not calling O a toddler yet. I still call S my baby all the time, and I’m not ready to give it up either. 🙂 There’s plenty of time for them to be toddlers, and not much time left for them to be babies!

      1. hopingforatakehome

        What a great moment for you guys to share. With S learning how to stack – I love that part so much about having a baby, watching the transitions on their way to mastering something. I loved the transition months ago of Baby O learning how to get into a seated position by herself. It was so slow and so cute and so awkward and she would allllmost tip over and then somehow she would be seated. Now if she wants to sit, she flips to sitting, no big deal.

    1. lyra211 Post author

      Awwww… thank you! It really feels that way to me too — like he was just born yesterday. McLovin will be a year old before you know it!

    1. lyra211 Post author

      Thank you! I accept your birthday wishes on behalf of all three of us: my husband, my son, and I all have birthdays within two weeks of each other. 🙂


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