One year ago today, my sweet little girl made her grand entrance out of me, and into this world at 9:18PM. She came out screaming so loud that even my OB made a comment–something to the effect of, “wow–I’ve never heard a baby scream so loud.” This was within 10 seconds of her being born, mind you, and I can truthfully say, I vividly remember thinking in that moment “holy shit…my kid is going to be a force”. I was right. To say that life has never been the same again is pretty much stating the obvious, but it’s one of those things that you can’t really explain. The realization of a major life change happens in increments: It starts with you, at 3AM with your (finally) sleeping baby, attempting to scratch a persistent itch on you nose with your pinky toe so as not to accidentally move your arm a millimeter and wake her. Then, you catch yourself taking one last whiff of the last bottle of breast milk you’ll ever give her…swishing it around like a 40 year old vintage Cab, trying to blaze every possible note of its sweet smell into your brain. 12 months down the road, you catch a glimpse of someone’s reflection in a window and truly wonder who that slightly pudgy, tired looking, slouchy person is. She needs a hair cut. And then you realize it’s you, and you’re both depressed, content, and humbled.
Because that baby next to that slightly world weary reflection is quite possible the cutest thing you’ve ever laid eyes on.
As a first time mom, I have no other child to compare Shira to, but I will say that as her mom, I just “know” certain things. I know that she is not an “easy” baby. Frankly, every baby has their challenges, so maybe easy babies are myths… but I know some people with babies who rarely cry, or who can fall asleep in the car, or who can be put down in chairs for more than 2 minutes… Shira has never been that baby, and her infancy involved a LOT of bouncing, pacing, and movement to keep her from crying until her face was beet red and sweating. Those early days and nights are captured in snippets–and when I try to explain them, it’s as if I’m trying to explain a dream that felt very vivid upon waking, and once I get around to explaining it, feels far away and nonsensical.
Shira is a force of nature. I’ve had a lot of people who make the “She-Ra” Princess of Power jokes, but the more I think about it, she’s kind of living up to that name. She came out of the womb basically wanting to walk. I believe that much of her early infant screaming was a result of being frustrated she couldn’t move her body in the way she wanted to. As soon as she could crawl at around 5 months, her world opened up. At 12 months old, she is not only walking, but basically running, trying to climb stairs, chairs, and toilets. If she bumps her head, she will cry with the same force she exerted at birth, and then 30 seconds later, she’ll be back with a smile, attempting to climb the leg of her high chair again.
Shira’s sweetness is infectious. She will smile and wave to virtually every single person in a room. I’ve seen her inspire laughs and smiles from people in a Starbucks line who look like they have not cracked a smile in 30 years. I get constant comments/compliments about how happy and alert she is, and I wish I could say it was something I was doing as a parent to make her that way, but I think it’s just who she is. This initially seemed counter-intuitive to me, in the sense that I have seen her lose her shit on me if I leave her alone to pee for 3 seconds and if you came into my house at any given day, you’d most likely hear her cry intensely at some point within an hour of you being there. The truth is, Shira absolutely loves being around people, and is happiest in a public forum (which is the exact opposite of her introverted mom). She rarely if ever cries when she is out and about or when we have guests.
You never have to guess if Shira likes something. If she doesn’t like something, she will cry intensely for as long as it takes for you to fix the perceived issue. Some things that inspire cries are: being left alone in her crib during the day for more than 10 seconds, being bored and cooped up in the house, no “baba” produced within 10 seconds of her requesting it, closed doors she cannot go through, poopie diapers, and car seats. No matter what I do, this kid screams bloody murder in the car after 15 minutes. It has made traveling with her one of the least enjoyable experiences I can imagine.
But then she runs up to me, nuzzles her head into my neck and gives me her 12 month old version of a “hug”, and shit…I’m a pile of mush.
There are too many things about Shira that I could write about at length, so I’ll bullet point now (for posterity, and also so I don’t forget!)
At 12 months, Shira:
- Is in the 95th% for both height and weight–she’s long and lean, around 30 inches long and weighs around 25 pounds. She is wearing 18 month-2T sizes now and has a 5.5-6 shoe size. Lord help me!
- Has a vocab of about 20-25 words, and understands about 75% of everything I say to her. It’s pretty insane, really. Her ability to communicate and understand things is completely incredible to me. She doesn’t quite have the mouth muscles to make all of the sounds required of a word, so something like “blueberry” will be “boo buh buh” but she consistently “talks” to us by pointing to things and saying words or sounds. Off the top of my head, her vocab list features the “words”: bunny (buh), fish (shhhh), more (mo), blueberry( boo buh buh), strawberry (buh buhbuh), apple (buh puh), banana (nana), cheese (chhh), butterfly (buh buh bye), baba, mama, dada, night night (ny ny), bird (buh), water (wa wa), bath (bah), Big Bird (buh buh), diaper (pie puh), poo poo, shoes (shhh), dog (dog), duck (da). Along with the words, she also makes sounds for horse, Sheep, duck, cat, dog, cow, train, car, and vacuum cleaner (random!). She just learned that she can put to words together, ie: “mama mo” when pointing to blueberries.
- Sleeps through the night!!!! FINALLY!!!!
- Will only nap in her stroller. I’ve toyed with crib training her for naps, but I’m scared it will make her hate the crib which I finally got her to love for night time sleep. So our nap time routine involves a baba in a stroller and a quick walk around the block until she passes out and usually sleeps in the stroller for an hour and a half. She’s only down to one nap a day now, though, and I think crib training may be in her future because I’d like her to take longer naps if she’s only taking one a day.
- Still loves her “baba” and demands one in the morning pretty much as soon as she wakes up, along with various times during the day. We’re working on transitioning her to whole milk soon (no more formula expense! Cha-ching!!)
- Loves bath time, but still hasn’t figured out that breathing in water makes you choke.
- Loves banana, cheese, and most other fruits–especially blueberries. Does not love broccoli or spinach, and has a love hate thing with turkey or chicken. I try not to sweat her eating habits and am pretty relaxed with what she eats and when she eats it, but try to sit her down for 3 formal meals a day, plus 2 snacks, plus about 4 x 6 ounce bottles.
- Is happiest when outside running around or in a very busy place with lots of people she can smile and stare at.
- Loves her bunny blanket to snuggle into at night.
- Has been doing the most adorable “joke” lately where she’ll say “ny ny” and pretend to go to sleep on the floor, and then I’ll say, “Oh no! Shira’s asleep??!!” and then she’ll pop up and laugh. Such a rascal.
Last year at exactly this time, I had a strange inkling to bake a blueberry coffee cake. By the time it came out of the oven, I had my first painful contraction, and called my gyno and doula. 6 hours later, I was 9cm dilated and racing to the hospital. 2 hours after that, I was pushing her out. I decided that every year on this day, I will make her a blueberry coffee cake for her birthday.
Happy birthday, sweet girl. I love you more than you love blueberries. And that’s A LOT.