14 December 2015

Baby Little P

Dear Baby P,

Today you are one year old! Meaning you’re not really much of a baby anymore, huh?

Last year on this date, I woke up grumpy because it was my due date and I hadn’t even come close to regular labor contractions. I knew first time mothers had long labors and first babies were often overdue, but dang it, Team P prides itself on promptness and I was not very happy about it.

Then my water broke and you showed up six hours later. Shows what I know!

I’ve admitted this before, but I’ll confess again today: I’ve never really been a baby person. Because of that, I haven’t spent a of time around babies, so I had little frame of reference. Perhaps that’s why I thought babies were unformed blobs upon which I had to very tediously imprint skills and personality and what it means to be a person. So when you were born, I figured we’d have a few years of that annoying business before we could finally get to the good stuff.

And I won’t lie, those first few months were hard, though not for those reasons I expected. You weren’t thrilled with your lot in life, like most newborns, but I was surprised and devastated to learn that google doesn’t have all the answers to help me teach you all those things I thought I was supposed to be teaching you. You had trouble staying asleep, you couldn’t keep your lunch (or second lunch, or third lunch) in your tummy, you lacked the motor control to get that toy you wanted SO HARD. Sure, you were generally sweet and cute, but I couldn’t solve all your problems, and that was frustrating for us both.

It was when you were about 8 weeks old, after weeks of google searches in the wee hours of the night, that I suddenly realized the best solution to your problems was simply to let you grow. There was no routine, no special foods, nothing that I actually needed to do. It sounds silly, but once I had that realization, I could stop fretting, sit back, and enjoy our time together. In a week or so, whatever had been making you unhappy wasn’t a problem anymore.

From this I took three lessons: first, you are pretty good at solving your own problems, if I could just leave you be and try not to solve them for you. Second, the frantic googling wasn’t actually helping you but it WAS making me crazy, so I could stop that and we’d be happier all around. And third? Growing up is a pretty amazing process.

Let me be clear. You have always been an incredibly good baby, from pregnancy to now. I don’t have a lot of experience with babies, but I’ve been assured that you are far above-average when it comes to eating, sleeping, and being chill. So the fact that you have actually managed to get better at those things as you’ve grown is even more stunning. And the most unbelievable part is that I didn’t do anything to help you grow. All I’ve had to do is sit back and watch. It’s all you.

From that very first day when you arrived spectacularly on time, you’ve shown me that all I should do is trust that you will grow into the person you need to be. I won’t have all the answers, but I don’t need them. You are a keen observer and, over the entire past year, you’ve been more than willing to figure out how to move, how to communicate, and how to make things happen for you. You just need a little time. And frankly, that is the easiest thing I know how to give you.

Being a mom is humbling in many ways. It’s humbling to feel so defeated by a newborn, to stop caring if you go out in public with vomit on your shoulders, to have a mind so muddled that you cannot function like you once did. But it’s mostly humbling to realize how much I’d underestimated you. There is no waiting around for the good stuff, this is it.

And now, I marvel at the little boy you’ve become. You aren’t afraid of new situations, but approach them cautiously, studiously observing and assessing the situation. You’ve figured out that signing is more effective than crying for telling us what you want, and you wave at any stranger who waves first. You love to dance, whether the music comes from a toy, the jazz quartet on the corner, or my own vocal rendition of the Sesame Street theme song. You are fascinated by tooth-brushing and know how to open the medicine cabinet to get your own little rubber toothbrush to brush your four teeth. You’re not so sure about standing unassisted, but goodness knows you’ll climb anything you can. And, my personal favorite: you give big, open-mouthed kisses while kicking your legs in glee.

From the day you were born and every day since, you have taught me that there is very little I need to teach you. You are the one with the inborn personality and skills to take you far. And every day that you need me a little less is a day that I am even prouder of you.

I love you, Little P.



Mechelle Dyer said...

OHHHHHH, so sweet. You're getting smarter every day mom ;) To have learned not to sweat it too much and that sometimes trying to fix it just makes it worse this soon is impressive.

The Misadventuress said...

High five, mama! (and daddy, too!) Happy birthday, little one. May the next year bring all three of you adventure, fun, and laughter.

Tina said...

Happy Birthday, Baby P! Gosh. I love you!
As I watch the clock this morning, I'm remembering what I was doing 1 year ago today... At about this time, I'd just gotten the call from your Dad that he and Mom were heading for, or were already at, the hospital. In my excitment, I cannot remember for sure or much more other than how impressed I was with your exact timing - and at such a decent hour, too! :-) Since I'd been getting ready for church anyway and rather than listening to your mother about the non-impending birth signs for the past several days, I was packed and ready to roll! You made your entrance into this world sometime between my entering the hospital parking garage and arriving in the labor and delivery waiting room, 4.5 hours later. You've been awesome since day one! This day. Today. One year later...
Little Boy, you've got awesome parents, too. They love you unconditionally but so far, you've been pretty easy to love anyway. Not withstanding, your parents are prepared to help you every step of the way for at least the next 17 years. I can see that. I recognized it on your birth day when your Dad did as the nurse told him and without hesitation, changed your first diaper while the others were tending to your Mom. Yes. They were a Team even before you were thought of and Papa and I are so thankful you've joined their Team!
from one of Team P's biggest supporters,

Miles said...

Happy birthday, sweet little guy!!

Richard said...

Happy Birthday, dear one, Happy Birthday to you. One year ago today you joined an amazing family filled with love. Your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins are looking forward to sharing the journey with you.
much love to you and your very wise parents.

Janice said...

Already a year old. You are growing and learning so quickly. Team P is indeed tops. This next year is going to be a big one with walking, continued climbing, more SIGNING, and you're going to surprise your parents with actual English words before the year is over. You're doing a fantastic job of growing. Keep up the good work! Can't wait to see and hear of all the amazing things you do and your parents learn from you. Love to Team P.