My baby is one year old today. I’ve been looking forward to this day for several months and now that it’s here, I’m happy and sad. Well, not sad, but nostalgic I guess. I teared up singing him Happy Birthday this morning. I didn’t realize I was such a sap!! I miss the teeny tiny baby that he used to be, but I LOVE the grown up baby that he is now. I’m also so proud of Caelan, and proud of Bill and I for how well we’ve adjusted to becoming parents (and for keeping this baby happy and alive for a whole year – go us! :))
This is the 4th reflections post I’ve written this year, each one covering 3 months of Caelan’s life. Looking back, I think I can give a name to each phase: The Newborn Phase, The Sleepless Phase, The Mobility Phase, and now, The Understanding Phase.
In The Newborn Phase, we were just getting our bearings with this new little person. I don’t remember taking very much time to sit and just look at him because we were always trying to keep track of things (When did he last eat? How many diapers has he had today? When was the last time I ate or took a shower?). But I remember how he fit into the crook of my elbow. I remember the crazy facial expressions he used to make and how everyone said he had my mouth.
The Sleepless Phase was, well, sleepless, for all of us. We spent hours rocking Caelan to sleep every night and then another couple hours in the middle of the night rocking him back to sleep – pretty much every night for 3 months. He slept with us in our bed many times and my back would hurt from a night of sleeping sitting up with a baby on my chest. But still, there was something comforting about the fact that we knew he’d always sleep in our bed with us, even when he wouldn’t sleep anywhere else.
The Mobility Phase was a lot of fun. It seemed like every week Caelan would learn a new skill and Bill and I were thrilled to watch him master things like crawling and cruising. Suddenly, the baby who used to lay on his belly and fly was gone….replaced by the baby who was so very proud of himself every time he pulled up on the sofa.
In this most recent phase, The Understanding Phase, we’ve been amazed to discover that Caelan actually understands us when we talk to him! By 10 months, we’d name one of his toys and ask him to go get it and he would. He’d even bring it back to us (if we asked). He also knew Daddy, Beaker, and Jake by name but he took awhile to catch on to Mommy (taking me for granted already, sheesh!). It’s just been in the past week or so that he’s starting to know who Mama is. He’s also started repeating a lot of what we say and says things that sound like “goodbye”, “uh oh”, “ball”, “all done” and a few more, though none of them are spontaneous (except maybe “uh oh”). All the sudden, he’s talking…and it’s not all gibberish! Well, it IS all gibberish, but we understand some of it 🙂
Bill and I disagree on what Caelan’s first word was, but it’s a toss up between “dada” and “ba” (bottle). He says “ba” much more consistently and he clearly means “bottle” (though it also applies to his sippy cup or to anything you can drink out of). But around 11 months old, Bill came in the door and I asked “Caelan, who is that?” and he said clearly “dada”.
I cut Caelan’s hair when he was about 9.5 months old. I’d been talking about it for awhile and one day Caelan was in his highchair eating his dinner, so I just did it. One snip. His bangs had gotten ridiculously long (down to his nose!) and we weren’t ready to take him somewhere for his first official hair cut, so I thought a trim was in order. It’s kind of amazing how different he looked after…older. Now of course, it’s grown out again and he really needs a REAL first hair cut!
Caelan continued to get more and more mobile. It became impossible to leave him anywhere and expect him to stay there. Baby proofing became an ever-evolving project. We blocked of areas with gates or furniture and slowly we gave him more and more space. The goal is to give him free reign over the middle level of our house, but we need to do some baby-proofing in the kitchen first. We’re ready with fancy magnetic locks and somethings that look adult-proof too, but we still need to get them installed.
By 10 months, Caelan had mastered pulling up and cruising and started letting go and standing up on his own. About a week later (April 10, 2012) he took his first steps in our living room from me to Bill. He gained confidence and balance quickly and just 2 weeks later he was wandering around the room, picking up toys on his way. Around 11 months, he started running which was scary for me because it resulted in much more spectacular falls!
In addition to getting more and more mobile, we’re also wandering into the toddler realm when it comes to feeding. Caelan has all 8 of his front teeth and is working on his first set of molars now. He’s great at feeding himself and he’s doing really well with a sippy straw cup with water (he hates apple juice!). We are thrilled to leave formula (and the cost!) behind and transition him over to whole milk now that he’s a year old. We’re also starting to try to wean him off of bottles, but it looks like that’s going to take a little while.
Nighttime sleep continues to go well. He has been sleeping about 11 hours a night with no wake-ups for 6 months now! We’ve had a few crying incidents at bedtime in the last month, but usually he goes down without a peep. Naps, however, are a different story. They are usually a struggle and we are almost never able to get him to nap in the crib – we have to hold him. He naps in the crib at daycare, so I don’t know what his deal is! We’d like to get him to nap in the crib at home, but on the other hand, it’s nice to get some snuggle time in with him on the weekends. It’s crazy to look down at this baby who once curled up neatly on my chest and who is now sprawled all over me snoozing away.
It’s amazing, but I actually look back fondly on those newborn days. Up at all hours, nursing, trading sleepy emails with Leslie (who had a newborn of her own at the same time), and having nothing to worry about or focus on other than this tiny baby and our family. No work to deal with, no sick days to take, no daycare checks to write.
Our life now is very different than it was a year ago – busier, more stressful at times, more tiring. But those things are forgotten when Caelan has a laughing fit, when he smiles up at me after finishing a bottle, gives me a kiss, or waves and says “bye bye” to Elmo. I love his sleepy smiles in the mornings and how he squeals when one of us is chasing him around the coffee table. I love how he’s changed our life forever and for the better. It’s true what they say – being a mom is both the hardest job and the BEST job I’ve ever had, and I’m looking forward to what lies ahead.
Welcome to toddlerhood, baby! We love you meelions!!