January 9, 2018 by 8junebugs
Dear Alexander Stormborn —
Daddy reminded me recently that we called you this when you were born. Much like that week, it is rainy and cold right now. Personally, as a 40-year-old lady who likes to read and knit, I’m less bothered by the inclement weather than a 1-year-old boy who loves to be outside. But today you were able to walk the dog with Daddy, which made you very, very happy.
Speaking of walking, YOU CAN WALK NOW!!! On your own. In fact, you’re getting pretty close to running. After doggedly refusing to crawl a damn inch without an epic fuss, you creeped around on the furniture for a while and then, within the same hour that Mommy got some bad news on December 14, you decided to let ‘er rip. At this point, you’ve almost dropped your arms down from their adorable balance positions and I’m a little sad to see that wobble work itself out.
I can’t believe you’ve been here a year, little one! It’s been a fast and furious year in so many ways, and 2017 has you thank for any warm feelings I have left toward it. It was a year of loss and cancer and growth and love and you were the very best thing about it. You and your big brother, who is your biggest fan, your staunchest ally, and your occasional quiet nemesis.
Your relationship with your brother has gotten a bit adversarial lately, mostly by your choice. You’ve gotten very jealous of him and anyone else who has Mommy’s attention. When he sits on my lap you scream and demand to be picked up. You frequently try to nurse once I’ve got you both on my lap, too, and you kick him until he moves or I grab your leg. You pull his hair. You push him away. But you’re his little shadow as often as not, you scream with laughter when he makes faces at you, and the first thing you do when you get up in the morning is try to get him up, too. (Please stop doing that.)
Our sleep situation with you is…in transition, let’s say. You’re napping twice a day in the crib in what is now the Kids’ Room (as opposed to the Grown-ups’ Room) and sleeping most of the night in there. But when you won’t settle after a middle-of-the-night waking (bad dreams? teething? regression? who knows?) or wake up at what will eventually be 6am again, Daddy brings you back out to the Pack ‘n’ Play in our room so you don’t torpedo your brother’s sleep, too. Honestly, our system is not ideal by any means, and we kinda wish you’d settle into this new Kids’ Room routine a little faster, boo.
On the other hand, that quiet morning time with me is pretty nice. I’d like to have it back for erging at some point when you drop a nap and sleep more at night, but I will miss the semi-quiet cuddles.
You just had your very first Christmas! You were much more interested in your brother’s toys than your own, which is fair. And he would like to commandeer the ball-popper that Santa brought you, because brothers.
I’m very, very sorry that your first holiday season was so overshadowed by Mommy’s thyroid surgeries and diagnosis and absences. I know you won’t remember, and I know you’re in good hands when I have to be away, but boy, this is not what I had planned for Baby’s First Christmas, you know?
The upside, though, of Mommy’s weirdly eventful year, is that you’ve gotten to spend a lot of time with Grandpa that might otherwise have been spread out more under different circumstances. He was here for your birth and here in the summer and here again for that first thyroid surgery, and that feels pretty worth it to me when so much of my family is so far away.
Bright sides, kid. We’re all about bright sides in this family.
You continue to love regular food and you’ve gotten the hang of getting most of it in your mouth. You still love pouches and I still have to hold on until the goo is gone or face the clean-up. You’d be happy to live on graham crackers, but you always want a bite of whatever I’m having and your love of my mother’s “goulash” continues warms my heart.
You’re working hard on language and communicating beyond loudly squawked syllables. If I ask you to go get your “agua cup,” you toddle off to find it and bring it back. If I say I need to go potty and ask you where we go potty, you take my hand and lead me to the bathroom (still a place of magic and wonder for you). If we say it’s time to eat, you head off to the kitchen and go straight to your high chair.
You’re happiest when we’re holding you, although you’re still a wriggly little imp who tries to pick my nose while you nurse. You’ve shown zero interest in weaning, even though I’ve been trying for about 6 weeks to dial you down because of everything going on. (Pumping in the hospital really sucked, dude.) The day is coming, though. Mommy has a date with nuclear medicine coming up, and that, my little boo, means no more milk from me.
I’m okay with that…except when I’m not.
I still can’t believe it’s been a whole year, little one. Happy 1st birthday to my last baby!
I love you,