You are too young to read any of this right now, but I hope that someday when you DO read this, and you'll look upon this post with a certain fondness. Today is your first birthday! I can't believe how the past year has flown. I still remember the day you were born like it was yesterday! I can't remember ever feeling as elated as I did when you came out. You were so tiny and so innocent. So new to this world! Your father and I were both excited and scared. I couldn't even change a diaper before you were born, let alone swaddle you. We had no idea what we were doing half the time, but we tried really hard. We somehow managed, in spite of initial breast-feeding issues, initial lack of sleep, and the emotional blow dealt to me by the death of your great-grandmother Vera. It has been a roller-coaster of a year, but I wouldn't trade it for the world.
It's hard to believe that you're that same helpless baby from a year ago. You've gone from spending all of your time on your back, to being able to roll over, sit up, crawl, and even walk! Heck, you're even managed to climb up a few steps on your own! Your walking has improved significantly since you took your first steps two months ago, and now you're on the verge of running. I love how you now toddle around like a little drunk alien, run to my open arms when you're on the other side of the room, and hug my legs when I'm working away in the kitchen. Right now, as we attempt to potty-train you, your enthusiasm for walking is getting a bit in the way, since you like to get up from your potty and walk around. Usually carrying the cushioned seat with you. You are such a source of amusement!
You've gone from relying purely on breast milk and/or formula for sustenance, to eating chunky foods and drinking water. I think you'll have a sweet tooth like your daddy and your maternal grandma. You definitely like your applesauce and your yogurt, and you're always eyeing mommy's home-made cookies. You little rascal! You've mastered with your hands, though you miss on occasion. I think you really enjoy feeding yourself, especially if the food that you're eating is cheese. The mess around your highchair drives me crazy. I am constantly having to pick up chunks of food and crumbs from the floor. I think you take great pleasure in dropping food from your high chair, partly due to your recent discovery of gravity and partly because you like pulling on my hair as I pick up food from the floor on my hands and knees.
When you were born, the main sound you made was crying. Oh, what a distinctive cry! It still sounds the same as it did a year ago! Then you added cooing, gurgling sounds, screeches, lip-buzzing, and even some distinctive "da", "ma", "ba", and "va" sounds to your baby vocabulary. You're still into your screeches, though your new thing is trying to say things with a deep raspy voice. So funny to hear! It's hard to believe that as I write this, you're trying to say your first words.
You are SO ticklish right now, especially on the bottoms of your feet and on your armpits. You giggle so much when I tickle you there. I often tickle you just to hear your laugh. Oh, and how I love that laugh. I will never forget the day when you laughed for the first time. You were about 2.5 months old. We were getting ready to go out, and we had you in the bassinet in our room. Daddy went over to where you were, and started going "Hehehehehe". For some reason, that made you crack up. There was such gusto to your laughter. We were able to capture this on video, and I'm grateful for that, because whenever I feel sad, I put on that video. You were so tiny back then!
We took you to the library for storytime when you were almost 3 months old. After months of singing songs and doing rhymes with you, you finally started recognizing them. I remember how much you delighted in hearing a familiar song or rhyme. Now you even ask for certain songs, like mom and dad's home-grown dragon song, or "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" by opening and closing your hands, just like I used to do for you at storytime. Speaking of storytime, you sure like your books. You usually can't sit still enough for me to finish reading you a book, but you definitely like flipping through books, upside-down, right-side-up. You're really into touchy-feely books, and into books with flaps on them. Your favorite bed-time book is still "Goodnight Moon". We've read that to you every night since you were 2.5 months old. You also really like "Pat the Bunny", especially the peek-a-boo page, and the page with mummy's ring. Speaking of peek-a-boo, you've really gotten into playing that these days. You use your hands, toys, and even your bib to play peek-a-boo with us. I think you could go on and play that for hours!
I still can't believe how this year has flown by. I feel bad that I have to go back to work when you're just beginning to blossom into a beautiful young lady. I know that we'll be spending less time together from now on, as I transition into full-time work and you transition into daycare, but I promise to make the time we spend together count.
I hope that you have a wonderful first birthday at home with grandma. I can't wait to see you tonight and to give you a big hug, tons of kisses, and lots of tickles!
Here's to you, my darling little PK. My wonderful little daughter who has brought so much joy and love into so many peoples' lives. I love you very much. Happy Birthday, my little munchkin.