Sunday, March 07, 2010

One Year

Dear Samuel Benjamin,

Exactly one year ago today I headed out on a long walk. I was experiencing some labor pains and I wanted to get things moving even more before we headed to the hospital for your delivery. As I walked, I prayed. When I stopped to breathe through a contraction, I prayed.

At 5:01 p.m. on March 7, 2009, you entered the world after a short labor. You were covered in vernix, white and slippery, and your little ears were smooshed down from your cozy position inside me. You had a full head of dark hair, long fingers, and spindly, long newborn legs. I was positive that you were a smaller birthweight than your sister, because you looked so much smaller. But you were essentially the same size, 8 pounds, 5 ounces, 21 inches long.

There is no moment, no emotion, no love like meeting your baby for the first time. My heart was filled with love for you from the first second you were placed on my chest, arms reaching, eyes searching, heart beating. And there you were, perfect little boy. My boy.

By one month we were spiking your long, dark hair into a faux hawk. You were sleeping in your own crib, 3-4 hours at a stretch and wearing size 1 diapers. You experienced a lot of digestive distress, grunting and gagging and spitting up constantly. But you hardly cried.

By two months you had gained 5 pounds and 4 inches on your frame! You were sleeping more like 6-9 hours at a time and were alert, interactive, and full of smiles and coos.

At three months you were sleeping through the night, smiling constantly, pushing up with your legs, and grabbing my face. Your chubby little frame provided hours of kissing pleasure.

You rolled from your front to back by four months. I gave you your first haircut (in Oregon, nonetheless). You were eating like a champ, smiling, laughing, and making our lives so full of joy.

Five months was a lot of fun: rolling back to front, trying rice cereal, smiling, reaching, sitting in a tripod. You also had your first bottle and your first trip to the swimming pool!

Halfway through your first year your first two teeth made their appearance. You were barrel rolling across the floor, scooting on your tummy with your toes tucked under, eating all kinds of yummy vegetables, babbling and banging toys together.

At seven months you were army crawling like a pro! Nothing was out of your path, and you started leaving a path of destruction in your wake. You were standing up and just starting to crawl on all fours. With all those physical developments, your language took a backslide and babbling turned to grunting (for the next few months!) After a few months of night waking you started sleeping through the night once again, much to your Mama's delight. One of our favorite things was watching you blow raspberries with your lower lip stuck out. Darling.

At eight months, you were into everything. Your favorite activities were climbing into the dishwasher (still a fave!), pulling cords, and crawling into small spaces. You started to wave, "Hi!" and screamed and squealed to your heart's content.

Two-thirds of the way through the year you got your 3rd and 4th teeth. You were cruising the furniture, dancing to music, and following your sister everywhere. You continued in your squealing/screaming/grunting phase, cracking us up with your assertive communication techniques.

10 months brought a lot of funny faces and tricks: inhale-whistling, blowing raspberries all the time, dancing with your booty a-shaking, and making fish faces. You had your first overnight (and Mama and Daddy enjoyed their own) at Grammy and Papa's in Oregon. You played in the snow and tread circles in the carpet around your grandparents' coffee table.

By eleven months you became a major contender in the Joyce Household Grocery Budget. Your enthusiasm for eating is nearly unrivaled. We stopped nursing and you took to the bottle at nap and bedtime like a pro! You loved music, Maddie's mini cooper, riding on the trike, playing outside, splashing, and anything involving your big sister. A fifth tooth showed up and you started talking again, saying "Mama" for the first time and waving bye-bye!

At one year, you are a delightful, funny, engaging, easygoing little boy. You love anything that has wheels and can usually be found, in the garage, honking the horn of Maddie's electric car. Just last week I walked into the garage just in time to see you hurl yourself head-first over the side of the car, land with your forehead on the accelerator, and drive yourself, upside down, across the garage. I contemplated grabbing my camera to get it on video but instead rescued you from your legs-in-the-air joyride, plucking gravel and dirt bits from your scalp.

You and your big sister are constantly playing together, and she can get you laughing like no one else. You love to see her first thing in the morning, and she can't wait for you to wake up from your naps. The two of you are a hoot in that mini cooper, driving down the street, or side-by-side on your bikes, helmets on. It is such a joy to see you enjoying each other's company and really engaging one another throughout the day.

I often joke that I'm not ready for you to grow up, that I want you to stay my baby forever. But as hard as it is to lose my baby, I am gaining a sweet, loving, exploring, engaging boy. Each day I pray that I will know how to parent you to as child God had destined you to be, to raise you up to know Him and serve Him, and to live your life for Him. I pray that others will come to know Christ because of your love for Him. I pray you will be loved, cared for, affirmed, encouraged and admired here at home and out in the world.

You are a dream child, full of life and love and enthusiasm. I can't imagine my life without your tender snuggles, sneaky bites and crazy tackles, that gap-tooth grin, those long batting eyelashes, the way you call out my name from your crib, or the deep belly laughs that crinkle up your face and take over your whole body. I praise God for giving you to me. You are such a gift, sweet boy, to me and to the world.

I love you.



1 comment:

mel @ the larson lingo said...

Happy 1st Birthday Sam! You are one of the best babies I have ever known. It has been so fun watching you grow the past year!