Dear Banana Face,
I’m still in shock that I’m the mother to a one-year-old. I feel like I was just writing these posts to you during my pregnancy and now here you are a toddler staring back at me with all your big girl cuteness. This month’s post is taking me a while to put together because I’m feeling a little nostalgic about our time together and a little sad to know that my “baby” is so grown up.
This month has been pretty crazy from a health perspective. Unfortunately, we’ve been passing the same flu bug around our house and I think we’ve all been sick about four times since the new year. You also came down with your first high fever and double ear infection which was pretty miserable for all of us. All in all, we’ve seen better days but I can’t complain too much because it could always be worse!
I feel like some months you change more than others and lately when I look at you I see such a big kid! You have completely perfected the art of crawling so much so that if we look away for a split second you’re down the street. Okay, maybe you’re not that fast but you do make it from room to room in no time flat. You’re also getting really sturdy on your feet and gaining more and more confidence “cruising” or in layman’s terms: walking while holding onto furniture. I still think you’re at least a month away from taking your first steps but who knows. You may do it tomorrow or it may not happen until this summer some time. We’re letting you work at your own pace so whenever you’re ready I trust you’ll let go.
You love to go up and down the stairs and are always amazed at how high you’ve climbed. You also love the new slide your Nona and Poppy gave you for your birthday. It’s a lot like the climbing toys at school so you get to practice your skills all the time now. Lately, you’ve had a strong desire to sit down…on everything and anything. You’re favorite chair is poor Lola. She’s very patient and just lays there while you adjust and make yourself comfortable. You also try to sit on your toys but they usually end up collapsing underneath you. You just got two new baby sized chairs which will hopefully, fulfill your desire to sit and give Lola a break!
Your doctor said you are right on track developmentally and even a little ahead on your speech. You’ve never been incredibly advanced or delayed so I wasn’t surprised by her assessment. Your favorite words are Dada, Dog, and Uh Oh although I’m proud to report that you now say Mama about 100x/day. For the longest time, you only eked out a Mama in the middle of the night when you needed me. Lately, it’s your new favorite word and that makes me very happy.
You are eating pretty much everything now except for nuts. I’m so nervous about introducing peanuts but realize it’s about time to make that leap. You still love beets and berries more than anything and you have a healthy appetite so you rarely reject anything we give you. You moan with such delight as you try new flavors and absolutely insist on feeding yourself most of the time. I can’t tell if you prefer sweet or savory because you react with the same level of excitement whether we offer you asparagus, cantaloupe, mashed potatoes, or pineapple. It took you a few minutes to understand what was going on but you really enjoyed your birthday cake and I fully suspect you’ll love desserts as much as every other kid I know.
I’m starting to wean you off of breastmilk and working hard to cut you back to two nursing sessions per day. We’ve started to introduce cow’s milk to your bottles during the day and you’ve adjusted to it quite well (which means no more pumping sessions for me – woo hoo!). As far as I can tell, you haven’t really noticed a difference in the flavor. The nights are another story though. Because you nurse for comfort, restricting your access has proven to be tougher than we expected and last night, we had our first truly sleepless night since you were born. You literally cried from 1:45 – 4:30 this morning and the entire time I knew that if I caved in and nursed you would fall right back to sleep but we stayed strong. Your Daddy gets most of the credit because he rocked you for about two hours straight. I’m hoping tonight gets better.
I’ve been looking back at video and pictures from the past year and I keep finding myself alternating between tears and laughter. You’ve grown and changed so much from the dark-haired, orange (thanks, jaundice) baby we first met. You are now this little blond with chunky thighs and a big personality. You love to laugh and delight in sharing that laughter with us. In fact, one of the first words I would use to describe you is “silly.”
You are also so loveable and one of your sweetest tricks is the special way you give kissies. Sometimes you actually plant a big, slobbery, open-mouthed kiss on us but most of the time you kiss with your forehead and it is so awesome. I think I’ve waited my whole life for those kissies. When you wake up in the morning, you alternate between your Daddy and me giving us kiss after kiss and sometimes you even share the love with Lola or your babies too. Of course, you follow-up your love fest with a big round of applause. You are frequently very proud of yourself.
On your birthday, your Poppy asked me if I like being a mom and without hesitation I responded with an enthusiastic “yes!” I frequently talk about how much I love my job and the career I’ve created for myself. I love the adventures I’ve been on and the ones yet to come. I love my family, my furbaby, my home, and my life. And I love being a wife to your Daddy. Still, there is one thing I love more than anything else.
I love being YOUR Mom.
You have challenged me in ways I didn’t expect. You have shown me that I’m stronger than I knew I could be – both physically and mentally. You have taught me that I can, in fact, survive off of minimal sleep (although I would love it if I didn’t have to). And because of you, I am a patient, more tolerant person. I have also become an advocate for women’s rights and a passionate supporter of working moms – and by work I mean both inside and outside of the household. Likewise, I have gained a profound respect for active and supportive dads and literally want to give them all a big high five – starting with your own Daddy who doesn’t get thanked nearly enough.
I am seeing the difference between being everything to everyone and finding the balance in life. I am trying to understand the meaning of harmony while also continuing to be true to my own ambition and dreams. And I am actually starting to understand and apply the phrase “happy mommy, happy baby.” I am worrying less about other people’s opinions of my parenting choices and more about forming a united front with your Daddy.
Without even knowing it, you have been a game changer for this little family. You are at the heart of everything I do and you motivate me to work harder, and be better. I want desperately for you to grow up with choices and opportunity and to view life as a limitless array of possibility.
You can have it all, baby girl.
Getting there may be exhausting but I vow that I will do my best to set an example and pave the way for you. Be true to you and trust that whatever you decide to do with your life, you will have our full support.
We will always have your back and we will lift you high as the sky until you can carry your own load with ease.
You are my girl face.
We share a heart.
12 Months At A Glance
Weight: 21 lbs 7 ozs – 65th percentile
Length: 32 inches – 95th percentile
Cool Things You’re Doing: Moving, moving, moving. Eating everything. Giving kissies. Drinking out of a straw, Thinking about walking. Talking a lot. Pointing, pinching, sharing, and being all around the most loveable little monster in the world.
Likes: Going anywhere, being outside, your wagon and your bicycle, bath time, cuddles, dancing and music. And lately, you love love love books which makes me happier than ever!
Dislikes: Having your face washed, being forced to wear headbands or hats, and we’re beginning to think you dislike the dark.
Nicknames: It’s been a year and some nicknames have stuck more than others. Our regular rotation includes: Bananza, Bubbles, Banana Face, Girl Face, Pooz, Poppy, Mommy and Mama, Babycakes, Savi, Savs, and Sweet Pea. Oh, and your cousin Riley’s favorite name for you: Baby Vannah.
Loving you always,