How do you measure a year in the life of a precious new baby?
In snapshots, most likely. In bald heads that begin to show signs of some fuzzy hair, toothless grins, one silly dimple instead of the normal two. In tiny missing shoes, Ritz crackers, and the countless times such a tiny person has literally pulled the pants right off my body.
This is my Leah.
While March 6, 2013 has come and gone, I would forever regret not typing up a letter to my fourth-born on her first birthday. Here it goes -
My dearest Lee-Lee,
We didn't find out your gender before you were born. When we went into the hospital to meet you on March 6, 2012 (3-6-12 is the coolest birthday, don't you think?), we didn't know who you would be, but we knew we would love you. We also didn't know that your birth would mirror, almost exactly, that of your big sister Abby. You were determined to greet the world face-up, ready to show us those big eyes and that bald head and those perfect pink lips. It made your labor more difficult (or maybe that was your Mommy's bright idea to do it without an epidural), but it didn't make it any less worth it to get to hold you in our arms. Your little forehead was battered and bruised, but your precious little spirit was fully in tact.
Daddy and I weren't the only ones instantly in love with you.
Even though Ben had another sister, he was enamored from the first time he laid eyes on you.
We battled a little bit of jaundice, but you nursed like a champ and by your 3 day check-up, you were perfectly pasty-white like the rest of us. By the time you were 10 days old, you went on your first trip out of state to a homeschooling convention in Spartaburg, South Carolina. You slept almost the entire time, excepting when we were actually in sessions trying to glean wisdom and encouragement from the seasoned speakers. Apparently, you weren't too interested in what they had to say.
We celebrated your one month birthday in Maryland where we happily introduced you to our extended family, some whom we hadn't seen in years. It was lovely. Babies have a wonderful way of making every situation a little less serious and a little more precious.
On your two month birthday, Mommy got a kidney stone. You spent the night apart from me out of necessity, and, somehow, we both lived to tell about it. When I woke up the next morning, you and Daddy were there to pick me up and take me home. I might as well have just given birth. It was that wonderful seeing your sweet face. This is about the time we realized you weren't completely hairless, after all, as we started to see little eyelashes growing. At the time of this writing, they are long and gorgeous (oh Mommy of little faith).
By five months of age, you'd been to two different beaches. By seven months of age, you'd been to seventeen different states. We took you on a tour of New England when you were a well-practiced crawler, just learning to pull up and cruise, spending night after night in a new place, and you went with the flow. Maybe you were such a willing sidekick because you weren't given the option not to be or maybe that's just your personality. We'll never know.
One thing I do know. You are Mommy's girl. You are the first baby that I've had the privilege of staying home with. That means you are
You are the happiest, most contented baby I've ever met. Unless you're not. We hear about it. It seems the shrillness of your distress cry could shatter glass, but we have in-tact windows on all of our vehicles to disprove that theory. You happily roam about the house, just doing your thing, while the rest of the gang runs amuck or does their schoolwork. Unfortunately for the person responsible for keeping the house in a habitable state (ahem, that would be me), your recreational activities are somewhat mischievous. You have a regular circuit you run through that includes hijinks ranging from throwing books and DVDs off the shelves, ripping the magnets off the fridge, emptying the towels out of our cabinets, searching for snacks in the pantry (onions included), removing the wheels from the dishwasher and depositing them in other parts of the house, and, your personal favorite, unfolding clean, folded clothes and emptying Mommy's dresser drawers. The important part is, you do it all with a smile.
You are so sensitive. Being told "no" just breaks your heart. And you aren't too fond of loud noises either, which doesn't bode well for you in a house with three older siblings and a mommy who sneezes and laughs [obnoxiously] louder than most.
To keep you happy and entertained, we provide continuous snacks (mostly string cheese and crackers, your favorites) and let you turn the pages of age-appropriate board books (instead of Mommy's reading material that you can too easily shred into a thousand pieces).
You are simply precious, Leah. We love your smile and your snuggles (however briefly you lay your head on our shoulder before you pop up and need to move on to other things). We love your happy little walk as you explore your surroundings. We love the things we see in you that we haven't necessarily seen in your other siblings that remind us you are all so unique and that makes you that much more lovely.
You are beautiful. And happy. And sweet. With a little side of spicy.
And we are so glad God chose us to be your family.
Happy First Birthday, Leah! (Don't let the name fool you. You are anything but weary.)
Love & Snuggles,