Here it is, the first birthday. It’s the day that’s over planned and under treasured by the guest of honor. I’m willing to admit that these outlandish shindigs are for the parents. The new toddler is speculative as to why people are singing to him, clapping at him and encouraging him to smear this gooey, yet intensely delicious, cake all over his face. It’s fine that he’s in the dark, mom and dad see the gratifying light.
Caring for this tiny little baby with itty bitty hands and toes, a little heart that beats, and a petite nose that breathes is frightening and extremely intimidating. That first night at home, you don’t sleep. You wonder where the little button is that makes the sweet nurse rush in, alas, it’s not there. All you have is your equally panicky husband and perplexed dogs. You get through that first night and realize, “Ok, we did it. Onward.”
Your baby then reaches one month and he’s able to lift his head and fully hear. He’s eating a little bit more and his newborn onesies are growing snug. You blink and it’s been 3 months, he’s smiling and making noises. He’s a master at tummy time and staying awake longer. You’re still greeting daily challenges, but it’s gotten easier and more manageable.
6 months, if you’re lucky, your baby is sleeping in his crib for 10 – 12 hour stretches. You’re getting your life back, you’re remembering what sleep is and you’re loving every minute. He’s laughing and he’s babbling, he’s sitting up and interacting with family members, he’s scooting and you’re starting to research baby gates and cabinet door latches. You and your husband look at each other and simply can’t believe the accomplishments that have been made by all of you. You may even cry.
10 months old and on the move. This is when I created a playroom, a vital space for this little guy to exhaust his forceful drive. While your baby is crawling, saying mama and pulling himself up; you’re still hitting challenges. Cue separation anxiety; a condition that every child faces at some point in his life. While I love being the light of his life, it can be tough. However, we’ve learned that this is an important phase and should be treated with diligence. (Tip: If you visit Marshall, don’t rush to pick him up or become overly roused at the site of him. He thrives when people simmer next to him and quietly play. Touch him and, well, you’re put on the long list of people he’s suspicious towards).
The stages of that first year are angelic and inspiring. You’ve had countless sleepless nights, tearful days, teeth ripping through gums, pacifier weaning and bottle weaning. You’ve enjoyed the firsts and you’ve patted yourself on the back, you understand what it means to breathe deeply. You as a person have changed. You’re a parent now, you don’t go out to dinner as much (come to think of it, I went out to dinner once in April and it was with my girlfriends), you don’t party on the town and going to the grocery store is quite the calamity.
We deserve a celebration. This is the largest milestone of all the milestones that we’ve hit, we survived the first year and look at our not-so-baby baby (I’m crying right now as I write this)… Marshall, Matt, Bo & Dexter, WE. DID. IT. This was the BEST year of my life and we couldn’t be stronger than we are today. And you better believe this party will be lavish and delectable.