Happy Birthday Penelope Joy!

Dear Penny,

I have been putting off writing this post because I have been afraid that once I finally started putting down in written word all of the changes that have taken place, all of the ways that you have amazed and delighted me in the last several weeks, all of the things that make you the one year old that I suddenly find you to be, the force of this realization may cause the flood gates to open. You probably already know this, but beneath her calm and steady facade, your Mommy is a very emotional person who is having a hard time saying goodbye to her cuddly baby girl even as she embraces her quickly growing toddler.
Still, the longer I wait, the more monumental the changes taking place seem to become, and so, with a deep breath and fluttering heart, and a first birthday already behind us, I am finally documenting all of the wonderful bits and pieces that make you the Penny we have come to know and love.

As of today you are 23 pounds and 29 inches long. You still have your deliciously plump baby thighs and arms, your protruding tummy that you like to pat when you are full, your chubby cheeks that beg to be smooched. Your hair has grown so long that I often have to pull it into a pony on top of your head to keep it out of your eyes (and because I adore you in a pony). You still have the thick dark hair that you were born with, the first thing I noticed about you when when we met for the very first time, but now fine blonde hairs are sprouting up and filling in, making me see more of myself in you than ever before.

You are still a great eater, but are showing more preferences in what you like to eat. You are my dairy queen above all else, and have never met a cheese you didn’t like. The same goes for carbs and meats. You also love most fruits, but veggies are finding themselves on the floor more than anything else, especially the green ones. I remember having a difficult time eating things like broccoli and asparagus when you were in my tummy…perhaps a coincidence, perhaps not.

As of yesterday, you have officially weaned from breastfeeding. You started showing less interest in breastfeeding as you began eating more solids, and we slowing cut down feedings until we were down to one a day, first thing in the morning. Yesterday I decided to have Daddy bring you downstairs and give you some milk with your breakfast instead of nursing, because I knew if I decided to have a final nursing session with you it would make me too sad. I still cried anyway as I sat with you at the kitchen table, watching as you happily drank your milk from a sippy cup and then offered me some. I know I will come to appreciate the freedom that comes with being over with this stage in our lives, but it still makes me sad that you are clearly no longer a baby. I know you will still need me for snuggles and kissing boo boos, but you will no longer need me for milk, and that makes me ache a little bit inside.

You are still a great sleeper, and are even starting to sleep in a little later, until 8 am most mornings (thank the sleep gods for that!) You have also started sleeping on your tummy, often with your legs tucked under and your cute little butt up in the air. After a quick snuggle, you prefer to be put into your bed to play and go to sleep on your own. Sometimes you get carried away standing up in your bed for far too long, and mommy has to tell you to lay down and go to sleep over the intercom on your video monitor, at which point you immediately drop down on your stomach and go to sleep. It’s our favorite trick and I am hoping this lasts.

You still favor the one-legged crawl, but will use both legs when necessary, like when you are squeezing through your tiny tunnel or are in a big hurry to get to something super exciting. You have also started pulling up and cruising along furniture like a pro. You get the biggest grin on your face when daddy holds your hands to help you walk toward me. I can only imagine how much you will beam with pride the day you take your first steps, which I’m sure are not far off.

You love to wave hello and goodbye, clap your hands, nod and shake your head, point to things, give high fives, and share. You try to share everything that finds itself in your possession, like your milk, food, toys, bits of dirt off the ground, even your pacifiers. It’s one of the sweetest things about you. You also give the best sloppy wet baby kisses of anyone around, and I’m not at all biased.

Your favorite toys are ones that involve smaller pieces, like puzzles and shapes, and you adore books. Nothing makes me happier than seeing you crawl over to your book shelf, pull a book off of the shelf, and start reading, carefully turning the pages as you go. You have some clear favorites, and always give those to us to read at bedtime. Your other favorite thing to do is take baths. You often try to lure us into the bathroom, and would happily play in the tub for hours if we let you.

You are constantly imitating us, making the sounds and gestures that we make. You try to comb your hair with your comb and put your hair clips in, and try to buckle your belt in the shopping cart if mommy doesn’t get to it right away (try being the key word!). When we read about those five silly little monkeys that jump on the bed, you point your finger in a stern manner when the doctor says “no more monkeys jumping on the bed!” just as Mommy and Daddy always do.

You have the sweetest disposition, and love nothing more than to be silly. When we laugh, you laugh, and you are always trying to get our attention by making goofy sounds and faces that makes us crack up. You especially light up when you have lots of loved ones around, and always seem to be the center of attention. And it’s not just because you are the first and only baby in the family- it’s because you’re you. And you’re amazing.

I hope you know that even though Mom may seem a little sad from time to time over you getting to be so big, it’s a happy kind of sad. It’s a sad that’s rooted in love and wonderment that she could ever love anything so much. It’s the kind of sad that can only be cured by a smiling giggling little girl that continues to surprise and bring joy to her family every day.

Happy first birthday my growing girl! You are more loved than you will ever know.

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One thought on “Happy Birthday Penelope Joy!

  1. Oh my god, this is such a treasure that I’m sure Penny will love to pieces one day. For me, however, it makes me so excited to be a mother one day and experience a beautiful child grow up! You are a wonderful writer!!!

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