Today you are one year old! One year. My sweetest baby is scarcely a baby at all anymore. It seems impossible that it’s already been a year because it all feels so new and yet, here you are, one.
You are the sweetest, happiest baby that I have certainly ever had, but probably also ever known. You smile more easily and more often than any of the rest of us and you bring sunshine into our lives every day. People, friends and strangers alike, come up to me all the time to tell me how adorable and happy you are because you just charm everyone. You’re definitely a little wary of male strangers, but we’re working on it. You even wave now, which is the cutest ever.
Your brothers continue to be your favorite people and vice versa. No one makes you laugh faster or more often than your brothers. They both take absolute delight in getting you to smile and laugh and you absolutely adore them. The three of you collapse into giggles at least once a day and it is the best sound on the earth, even if it is usually ear splittingly loud.
You have three words so far- Elijah, dog (dog-dog, if we’re being accurate, and it can be used for any animal you see) and dada. You will not say mama for any functional purpose at all and you are a master grunter, unlike the world has ever known, for all other needs. You sign more and all done, but sort of haphazardly and often it takes a few tries for me to decipher it. We are working desperately to get you to sign for milk because I think we’d both enjoy you being able to communicate that desire more clearly.
You’re not yet walking, which is fine. You have switched in the past 6 weeks or so to full time hands and knees crawling, and you pull to stand and cruise like a champ. You’ve stood unassisted a few times, but it’s not something you’re super interested in and the more we try, the less you seem to want to do it, so we’re letting you be. You will walk when you want to and I’m happy to have you not be a toddler for as long as possible.
This month you slept through the night for the first time ever and you even did it two nights in a row! Just long enough for me to get my hopes up. The first night didn’t really count because your adorable younger older brother got up twice and sort of ruined the continuous sleep thing I was finally getting to experience. But the next night I slept for like 7 straight hours and I swear I could’ve lifted a house afterwards, I felt so good. You apparently then decided that 2 nights was enough and you will not be doing it again, maybe ever. Son. I’m so tired. Sleep is so nice.
Your likes this month include: mom, dad, Elijah, William, grandparents (except sort of granddad, but I swear I’m fixing this problem) the cat, any dog-dog that you see (seriously, you grunt, yell A DOGDOG! A DOGDOG! over and over, it’s the best) which could also include the cat, strawberries, pea crisps, french fries, baths, getting through the gate into the big kid play area, biting (whyyyyy), getting into any area that you shouldn’t really be in or which may be unsafe (we literally call you Danger Baby…a lot), Elmo and Mickey Mouse.
Your dislikes this month include: cake, apparently, the car, the stroller, not touching me or dad, the moments between when you see us and when we pick you up, the time it takes to cook food, getting out of the bath, diaper changes unless I sing to you, the baby gates.
When I opened the timehop app on my phone this morning and saw the flood of tiny baby pictures, it felt impossible that it’s already been a year, but at the same time, you’re such a far cry from the itty bitty infant in those pictures. You’re healthy and happy and you’re just this person with feelings and not that tiny person we didn’t really know. I don’t think I would want to go back in time if I could, because I’m having so much fun with the baby you are now.
It has been one of the best years of my life, in large part, because of you. Because I have gotten to savor so much of your babyhood in ways I wish I could’ve with your brothers. Because I have finally been given the gift of time and it has been precious in ways I didn’t know it could be. Taking this time comes with other struggles (as with most things), but it has been so worth it. I don’t know how I’m going to send you to preschool next fall and return to work. It feels impossible to even think of and it’s a whole year away.
I feel like we’re starting to see who you really are more with each day. The things you like and the things you don’t. The things that make you laugh and your reactions are just so very you. You look just like me and a lot like Elijah, but you are just Benjamin. We are so inclined to compare you to your brothers, but it’s to your detriment, because you are a totally different person and there just aren’t equivalencies to be had. Your disposition is nothing like either of your brothers, you are you, and we are so incredibly lucky to get to spend our lives getting to know you.
Being your mother, feeding you, loving you, caring for you, is a privilege. Our family has grown and changed so much this year since you joined us. We’ve become stronger and closer and it would not be an exaggeration to say happier. There is more love, more grace and more laugher. We didn’t know what we were missing before, but now that we have you, we need you like we need air, Benjamin. You are the world to us. I am better for getting to love you, I think your dad and brothers are too.
It feels impossible that it’s already been a year, but it has been the most magical and wonderful year. I wish I could tell you how loved you are, but there are no words adequate to quantify that amount. So you’ll just have to trust me.
Happy birthday Benjamin Andrew. We love you so, so very much and we cannot wait to see what next year brings.