A letter to my one-year old
May 30, 2012
Lonán, you and I have been together almost every day for the past five months. As you probably know, Mum went back to her graduate work and I took parental leave to be with you from eight months to just past your first birthday.
Today you’re just two days past that first birthday and I’m getting ready to go back to work. I wanted to write this note to you to share with you some of my reflections about our time together.
I have to say, first and foremost, it has been amazing to see you develop a personality over these weeks. During your first few months of life, you were an infant, busy figuring out just what this world is all about. You had your hands full with the hard work of getting the things you needed in life. Lots of time spent learning with Mum how to feed, move and perceive the world around you. With those basics figured out, I’ve been blessed with having the opportunity to begin to see little bits of just who you might become. And while I don’t want these words to ever feel like a prescription about what you have to become, you should know just how much of a person you are now and how much I, and your Mum, love who you are. I think we will always love who you are, whether you’re one, eleven or one-hundred and eleven.
You love food. You’re a ham. You have a real sense of what’s funny. You can be stubborn. You love your dogs. You love to watch; you love being outdoors. You have a strange affection for ceiling fans. You have a real sense of curiosity.
When given a new food you like or a favourite food to eat, you growl and grunt your satisfaction. As you’ve grown older and older this year, you’ve been more and more interested in the foods that Mummy and Daddy eat. And while you’re less interested in Bananas and Broccoli now than you were a few months ago, you’re always interested in having what we offer you. We love that about you.
Since we’ve spent these past months together, I’ve seen you develop your own sense of humour. Beyond just finding things funny, you seem to work at getting others around you to laugh. You’re a one-year old ham. Poppa and Mormor remarked just earlier this week that you were working hard, while they were over watching you, to get them to laugh. You growled, pointed, smiled, mimicked sounds, coyly tilted your head and generally did the best you could to be a funny little boy. We all love that about you.
You have a good sense right now of what you want. And when what you want doesn’t jibe with what Mummy and Daddy want, you let us know. Most often, this has to do with going to sleep at nap time. There are some days when it seems like napping is the last thing you want to do (even though you’re rubbing your eyes and yawning). We put you down to sleep in your crib and you proceed to make all kinds of noise about how this is the last thing you want to do: you throw out all your crib company on to the floor and cry (sometimes it’s a wail). Its clear to Mummy and I that you’ve made up your mind, this isn’t what you want and you’re going to get us to change the decision we’ve made. Its my hope that this kind of determined spirit sees you well through your life — rather than letting it become a wall between you and what you want, it becomes a tool to let you achieve the goals you set. (Just as long as those goals aren’t in opposition to what we say :D ) And while it can be tiresome to struggle with you, we love your spirit of determination.
Doggies. This could easily be your first word. You certainly light up when you see Ollie and Griff. You love it when they lick your hands and face (and seek them out to do so). You’re slowly learning that pulling dog ears isn’t a nice thing, but you also crawl up to Ollie and Griff, stroke their backs and rest your head on their bodies. Its something of a symbiotic relationship as they’ve come to love it when you drop your food for them. They love that about you.
From an early age (your first week of life, really…I have a memory of walking for hours with you in your stroller so Mummy could catch up on sleep) you’ve found being outdoors to be an interesting and engaging place. You love to come along as your dogs are walked. And when you’re outside, you’re happy as can be — busy watching the world slowly stream by you as your pushed or carried. I’ve often said in these past months that you could spend hours outside in your stroller, walking, exploring, and you would still be happy. That you have this apparent affinity to the outdoors warms my heart. I really love that about you.
Mummy and I aren’t sure why, but you love ceiling fans. This is one of the first words that you were able to sign (along with milk, more, dogs, eat and hungry…that in itself is an excellent summary of your interests to-date!). As we took you from place to place, you would often notice fans before Mummy and Daddy and point them out to us. Your Poppa jokes that this must mean you’re going to be a helicopter pilot. Regardless of how your love of fans matures as you grow older, we all love this about you.
In the past months, you’ve discovered your ability to point. And with this finger, you’ve displayed to us just how curious you are about the world around you (with the added bonus of getting to communicate clearly what more you want to eat often). The finger gets displayed at all kinds of things. And we get to discover the world along with you, something which we love about you.
I could go on now, too: your Nana think you’re a very social little boy (she would tell you the stories about how you would crawl around music class visiting with the adults and the other babies); you’re very vocal, babbling and making noises most of the time now; you like pop music with a good back-beat to bob along to.
But, above all you should know that I’ve loved getting to discover, day by day, piece by piece, just who you are.