Happy Birthday, my baby girl. You are twelve months old today, and a year ago right now I was holding you in my arms for the first time. You have grown so much, from just under eight pounds to almost 25. Your jet black, sticky-outy hair has given way to light brown that lies down calmly except for the riotous curls behind both ears. Your soft, gummy mouth is full of eight teeth. Your quiet, whimpering cry has become wails and screeches and hoots and hollers and giggles and grunts and babblings and even words. From a tiny swaddled bundle in the crook of my arm who couldn't stay awake for more than a few minutes at a time, you have grown into a sitting, rolling, clapping, pointing, crawling, walking, beautiful little girl.
This year has been the best of everything. I'm living a life I didn't even imagine existed, and I adore it. I adore you, my big girl, my toddler, my Mia, my baby bean.
This month you learned to walk. You still prefer to hold onto your truck or a nearby finger or leg, but you will take a few, tentative steps on your own. You also learned to stand up unassisted and to do so while clapping or raising your arms over your head or giggling at your own cleverness. With just a bit of support, you abandon walking in favor of running.
This month you also learned how to control your body and make it do fun things. You learned to climb onto a pile of blankets and get yourself stuck so you can flail around and giggle. You learned how to fling yourself over backwards, then sit back up and do it again. You are slowly learning not to smash your head into a wall while doing it. You have learned that when you clap or point or raise your arms or make a face, the people around you will do the same thing, and you revel in your new found power. You are in control of the world right now, beautiful girl, enjoy it.
You don't talk much, mostly mama and dada and the meaning behind those are hit or miss, but you babble non-stop and have learned so many words. You can comply when asked to point at the fan, the light, your tummy, nose, hair, truck, mama, and sometimes dada. You know apple, pear, avocado, water, cheese, up, down, nap, no, and the list goes on and on.
Your focus is incredible. You will sit and play for half an hour with a wallet you can take cards and tickets out of, anything with a lid, your blocks, your cups, your books, so many things that hold your interest. You delight in handing anybody anything and are learning how things work together, how to stack things, how to put blocks in and out of the bucket, how the world relates to you and to itself.
Your physical milestones are slowing down and your mental milestones are happening so fast we can no longer keep track. This month you discovered under, so we can no longer slide something under the couch and make it "disappear," now you will go right in after it. You have such a personality and an attitude and at times a temper. You are becoming yourself, becoming your own person, and I feel so blessed to be here to watch it happen.
You are napping now, recovering from your birthday party. You were attended by Grandma and Papa, Mimi and Grandpa, Uncle Erich and Aunt Kelly, Great-Aunt Bev and Big Papa. There must be a thousand pictures documenting those two and a half hours. You ate cake, which you enjoyed, and played with the ribbons and boxes and paper and bags from your presents. Mostly though, you just charmed your guests with your smiling and playing and flirting. It's always like that, though. When I take you out, people can't keep their eyes off you. You are magnetic and mesmerizing and more so every day.
It's been an amazing, wonderful, challenging, fabulous, difficult, gorgeous year. Thank you for that. Thank you for coming to us. Thank you for showing me that all the poets who describe love as an ocean, a chasm, an eternity were right, were telling the truth, were talking about their child.