Ah, how the Autumn of your first year is upon us, Little One. Too soon, you will be a year old! As a Mama, I’m trying to overcome the melancholy of leaving this stage of parenting behind with the joys set before us. Viewing each day not as a last but as a new beginning. Yet….yet….with each little outfit and blanket I tuck away…..with each little shoe that no longer fits, I find a moment of pause in reflecting on what that little object has meant, on who has worn it, and it sends me back through Memory Lane.
I have been struck, as of late, with how quickly the passage of time occurs. It’s not in the days, but in the months and years that it passes. Days seem to be about routine occurrences, then before you know it, a month has passed, and twelve into a year. I guess part of our job as parents is to find the joy in the daily routines, because that's the stuff life is made of.
As for you, Gracie Noelle, you are a gem! What a sparkler you are! So full of life and exuberance. Not one to be left behind, you will voice your objection loudly when we leave the room, or call down to us when you are ready to be out of your bed. We no longer can share snacks or Costco samples without giving them to you as well, or that voice of yours will be heard loud and clear!
Rare is the time when you look at us without your large, dimpled smile immediately following often accompanied by that ever so slight upward twitch of your brows. You are so hard to resist! I seem to have a special trigger with you, for if you are at all hungry or tired, seeing me makes your happy countenance turn to a look of angst and panic as you immediately crawl towards me or bounce in your little chair. I think you and I will both have a hard time when it is time to stop nursing. (Which we have always referred to in our family as "Nursy Nurse"....and you seem to call "Na na".)
You are feeding yourself, grasping your food in between your thumb and forefinger. If you have control of your bowl and spoon, each of those items goes into your mouth and sometimes some of the food too. Watching you eat can be comical!
If we come next to you during your food time, you almost always offer us some of what you have, appearing so delighted with yourself. Sometimes though you will take it back at the last minute and eat it yourself. :-)
I had guessed you'd be walking by 11 months. Well, I was wrong, but you do pull up and stand every chance you get: the dishwasher, bread basket, bed, coffee table, couch. And once up, you'll walk along things and even sometimes transfer from one to the other.
In the meantime, I am simply relishing your crawling stage. I love seeing your little ruffled bottom swing from side to side as your hands and knees slap-slap across the floor. Now typically, you will be crawling to somewhere you are not supposed to be. You have a particular affinity for getting into garbage cans and playing in the toilet. :-/ And, as the wood stove is now a daily part of our home life, we are working to keep you away from the bricks. Again and again, you will head over towards the wood stove. Again and again we say "No". Typically, you will immediately turn and look at us, then swing your arms side to side in your "all finished" sign, sometimes shaking your head no. Then....you will do it again. Yikes. So, looking forward....perhaps respectful, but stubborn? :-)
Everything within your grasp goes into your mouth, and you have eaten wood chips and little bits a plenty. Pulling up on the bread basket yields a bunch of bananas, and you have also recently discovered the pantry and emptying cans of baking cocoa and bags of chocolate chips. Ah yes, a little girl after her Mama's own heart!
I don't think fear will be what holds you back in life.....you plow forward without fear of consequence. (But, when you do have a fall or bump, the pathetic little face you make as you cry and look for Mama melts my heart.) Determined is the word that describes you best.
I commented just tonight at dinner how you now feel so much a part of our family. As we sit and eat, you interact with us - watching your brothers and sisters, flapping your arms, drinking from your sippy cup, and otherwise enjoying your dinner.
Playing Pat-a-cake is probably your favorite game to play. When we start it up, your face instantly lights up and you clap along. Your siblings love to play with you then excitedly announce that you are clapping along, asking us to watch. And, in the past few days, Peek-A-Boo has become not only a game you smile and laugh along with, but you have begun hiding behind things and popping out as well.
When you are happy and feeling silly, you will shake your head from side to side with a big, huge grin on your face. Then, you stop, and look - waiting for all of us to cheer and laugh. Hmmm...might you be our family clown?
You love to sing. Oh what sweet memories we'll have of you singing along with the family or during night time lullaby's. Your precious little voice joins in, even if words are not being sung. Ya ya, Yie Yie, Ahhhh a Nah nah nah nah.
Though the days of you snuggling on my chest for hours are long gone, when sleepy, and especially when rocking, you will lay your little head on my chest and rest. Ah, even a moment of this is like food for my very soul.
Of all the things that describe you right now, Gracie, probably the biggest and best description of you is "Loved". You are loved, cherished and adored by your family and most of all by the very God who made you....just the way you are. And what a beautiful creation that is!