Today you turned one year old. Despite how fast time seems to be flying lately, it's hard to believe this is only the first birthday we have celebrated with you. In many ways, it feels like you have been in our lives forever.
I've spent the day reminiscing about a year ago today. It's strange that we didn't know you back then. We didn't know how sweet and loving you would be. We didn't know you weighed over nine pounds. We didn't even know you were a girl. When you were born, you didn't have a name for the first couple of hours. And the biggest thing? I didn't know was how I was going to make space for you in my heart. I didn't know how to love two children, how to divide my attention, how to be a mother to more than one child. But you fit into our lives like a missing piece of a puzzle, and in the first moment I saw you, I just felt like I knew you. And there is so much to love about you.
You remind me of myself in many ways. You are calm and watchful, but stubborn and quick to lose your temper. You have a laid back demeanor, but underneath the surface I can tell you are thinking and reflecting and observing. You didn't crawl until just a week ago. When Marla started crawling, she strained and twisted, toppled and stretched and rolled around. It took her a while to gain balance and control. But when you started crawling, you did it slowly and perfectly. The same has been true for a lot of milestones in your life. You seem to study and process things before you dive into them. You have a practical approach and need to understand the purpose and benefit of a process before you participate in it. Prime example: you almost never put toys (or anything else) in your mouth to taste and/or chew it unless it's food. And you make connections that seem beyond your age: you draw with a piece of sidewalk chalk, you try to brush your hair with a brush, you hold a spoon up to my mouth, etc.
I can already tell that you are growing out of your babyhood. You can sign "more," "all done," and "eat." You can clap your hands, wave, point, and (this is a fun one) pull your sister's hair. You have begun pulling yourself up on things. Sometimes you seem to be talking (or yelling) in your own secret language. You suck your thumb when you are sleepy and have an odd obsession with the tags on toys, rubbing them between your fingers and dazedly "singing" to yourself for long periods of time. You love to swing, go for walks, sit in the Barbie Jeep and play the radio, ride your dinosaur rider toy, drink from a sippy cup, and flip through books. And you LOVE your big sister. You light up when she walks into the room. She loves to perform for you and you love to watch her. Lately, though, you are gaining independence and have become quite headstrong. I predict you'll have an iron will and won't let Marla take advantage of you in the slightest.
I could never express how grateful and proud I am to be your mom. I feel like I hit the jackpot after I gave birth to you. A year ago, my life was full. But I had no idea what I was missing until you came along. I love you, sweet Avey Baby.