This is the first time I’ve started with the word “dear” in these month letters (12 months is a big deal, it’s worth a little formality don’t you think?). You are ONE (…and 2+ weeks, but it wouldn’t be an official month letter if I wrote it on time now would it?), and I can’t even begin to describe how incredible and astonishing that fact is. But before I make a measly attempt at putting words to the thoughts and feelings I have about you being one, I at least wanted to note some of the events and milestones of your 12th month.
First, you made it through the whole year with no teeth kiddo. Way to go! (You have since popped one through, however). I have heard that the later the teeth come, the stronger they are, and I’m really hoping that’s true! I can think of at least 65 better things to spend money on then cavity fillings and braces, so I’m seriously hoping you got your dad’s teeth genes. (Although I WAS cavity free until I was 18, so I guess mine aren’t too bad either).
You are at this magical stage where you are desperately trying to communicate, but haven’t yet developed the words to do so, and mercy is it ever cute. You LOVE to talk on the “phone” (I use that word loosely….) and will hold it to your ear (or neck, or cheek, or head) and just say “Hi…hi…hi” over and over. This is then usually followed with a bunch of jabbering with all kinds of voice intonations and if we’re really lucky, you’ll hand the phone to us to have a turn at talking too.
You have expanded your actual repertoire of words to 4 now (Hi, Daddy, Uh-oh and hot), and rest assured that I make you say them as much as is possible. I also try and get you to say new words, the most popular one being mama. But you just grin at me and say dad-dy, over and over. Stinker.
Because you can’t really talk yet, the most common sound we hear from you, coupled with your ever-so-experienced pointing finger is “enh?” It’s your way of saying “can I have that please?” or ”Can I touch that please?” or sometimes it means “I just want you to notice the same things I’m noticing”. In any case, the novelty hasn’t worn off for me yet kiddo, so you can “enh?” away!
You are a very good natured baby, (This comes as no surprise to anyone….talk about me beating a dead horse…), but I’m not naive enough to think that you don’t have a feisty side. In fact, I know you do. (Anyone who has seen us try and wipe your face after a meal can attest….jeepers, you’d think we were tearing apart your limbs or something). I am fully anticipating that there will be many battles of the wills in this household, and kid, you come by it honestly. Sheesh, your poor dad. Anyway, this isn’t actually about that. But it IS about how lately, you’ve started to kind of test the waters a bit. And this comes in the form of meal time. You are a most excellent eater, and will still eat a lot of pretty much whatever we put in front of you. But this month, you started this thing, where, when you’ve decided you’re done with your food, will just drop it over the side. Now I know this is common baby/toddler behaviour. And I know this doesn’t exactly mean that you’re a holy terror. But the thing is, you’re just so sneaky about it! You’ll do it once, and your dad or I will tell you “No Ellie, please keep your food on the tray” and you just smile at us. And then you’ll go back to eating for a few minutes, and when you think we’re not paying attention, grab another morsel in your little pincers. You’ll then make eye contact with us, in hopes that we won’t notice your chubby hand slowly making its way to the side of your high chair tray. And then ever so methodically open your fingers, and let the food fall. You have no expression on your face, until the food is out of your hand, at which point, you’ll grin at us. You fully know what you’re doing, which in turn, makes us shake our heads in both astonishment and amusement. All I can say kiddo is you’d better milk this while we still find it entertaining.
You had TWO birthday parties this month. (You’re so popular). We had one on December 15th with friends and family, and then another one on the 23rd with our friends from church. Even though we told people not to get you anything, you hauled in quite the loot of gifts and even though it is SO not about the gifts for us, it was really neat for your dad and I to see how excited people were to bless you and be generous with you. We pray that you are always a part of a community that is generous, and that you, too, will be the same. I want to write an entire post about your birthday, so I’ll stop this one here, but just know that it was a joy to celebrate you Ellie.
And now, onto the sappy stuff. (Ellie, depending what age you are when you read this, that will determine the amount of eye rolling that you’re about to do.) 12 whole months Ellie. It is amazing to me – and I think a gift from God – that I can so vividly remember your birth day. So many details are etched in my memory, because how can you possibly forget the events that forever changed your life?
This has honestly been a year that I have lived the most fully, because your presence has asked of me to be fully present. Yes, even at 3 in the morning bouncing you on the exercise ball, bleary-eyed and sometimes on the verge of tears, your physical presence in my arms required me to stop and take you in. Your smell. Your cheeks. Your eyes. The way your mouth formed a pout-y “O”. All of it.
And that kept happening, day after day, week after week, month after month. And I sort of was afraid that you turning one would change that. That somehow the magical wonder of babyhood would wear off and I would stop taking you in as fully. But I really don’t think I can.
You are such a wonder and a gift to me Ellie. And although you are leaving babyhood behind at a pace quicker than I’d like, I can’t help but be excited for year 2. You are growing into a beautiful little girl who will forever be asking me to stop and take you in, detail by detail. And I will, baby girl. Forever I will.
Happy 12 months Elliana.