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.