Technically, it’s been a year and five days, but hey.
Grace turned one last week. And what a fast, happy, wonderful, challenging, beautiful year it has been. I snuck into her room at 12:16 last Thursday (she was sound asleep, a rare occurrence) just to see her and watch her and think about that first time we met her at that very same time, on that very same night.
Yes, that barrette is for real.
Becoming and being a mother has been overwhelming in the best possible way. It has made me tougher and it has made me softer. It has made me infinitely more in love with the Universe, and it has made me infinitely more worried about things I never paid attention to before. Like electrical outlets. And the measles (don’t get me started). Being Grace’s mother has made me so proud of myself, but it has also put my ego firmly in check.
Being a parent has made me appreciate my own parents in a way I wish I could have before. Because I would have been a more grateful, more delightful, better behaved (maybe) child. I am hopeful that whole “better late than never” thing applies here. My parents are just the best.
I used to wonder why people called their children 13-month-olds and 17-month-olds and whatever. Mostly, I have no idea how people keep track (so math challenged). But when I think about how much Grace changes each day, let alone each week or month, I kind of get it. When you’re nearly 33, you really shouldn’t give your age in months. Because whether you just turned 32, or you almost 33, you’re pretty much the same person developmentally. In my case: still bad at small talk, still pretty great at color coding, still hate most pants and cooked vegetables, still love checking the mail and taking naps on my yoga mat.
Our 1 year old/12 month old, on the other hand, has become such a person since being the born. All the changes are both amazing and a tiny bit bittersweet.
She started talking a few months ago and seems to know new words every few days. Right now the b-words (not the b-word, not ever I hope) are her favorites: bath, bubbles, books, baby, and bye. We’ve practiced some baby sign language (this book has been a great resource) — Grace has mastered the signs for more, eat, milk, all done, and book.
She has 3 teeth (and 4 on the way), 900% more hair than even two months ago and the teeniest, cutest feet that fit in precisely zero pairs of shoes. The only thing more confusing than women’s jeans sizing is baby’s shoe sizing.
Grace is starting to let go of our hands and the furniture when standing up, but hasn’t started walking yet. She likes to dance, climb, crawl, and sneak her way over to the printer and cable box. She can point to people when we say their names, turn pages in her books, nod when she says “yes,” and wag her finger when someone says “no” (I still don’t know where she learned this — it’s both hilarious and kind of strange).
She is obsessed with Clark and recently started feeding and kissing and hugging him… and trying to take naps on top of him. He likes the first three, and tolerates the fourth.
Grace loves to eat. She likes being fed, and really enjoys feeding herself. She has mastered drinking water through a straw, and will soon stop taking a bottle at daycare. I am still breastfeeding her in the morning, evenings, at 2 AM or 3 AM or 4 AM (or whenever Grace feels like it) and on the weekends, but I’ve stopped pumping at work (hallelujah). I never imagined we’d make it this long (and it hasn’t been easy), but I am grateful.
We chose to name our baby Grace because we loved the name, but she really is such a grace in our lives. What a year it has been.
Oh and P.S.: If you’re in the early part of the first year of parenting (or really any time, but especially in the beginning), be gentle and kind with yourself. You are doing a great job.
Also On Tap for Today:
What’s changed for your this year? How many months old are you (just kidding… unless you know…)?