Monday, December 26, 2011

Twelve months


Today you are one year old. I've been thinking a lot about this day lately, remembering moments from this time last year. At 11:00 p.m. last night, I recalled how Jeff and I stayed up all night timing the contractions. At 7:00 this morning I thought about driving to the hospital and calling our families to tell them the time had come. At 6:48 p.m. tonight I looked at Jeff and said, "Only eight more minutes of pushing." When 6:56 p.m. came along, the exact moment of your birth a year ago, I was reading you a story and thinking about how far we've come since that day:

You have turned our lives upside down and inside out in so many ways. In the last year, I have been more overwhelmed, worried, frustrated, confused, and sleep deprived than ever before. There have been moments of peace, happiness, and clarity along with moments of complete terror. Before you, before I was a mother, I thought my life made sense. Then you came along and I realized how much I didn't know about life and love. 

For instance, I never knew that someone's smile could make me cry with happiness. Or that I could stay awake for three days straight and still manage to feel grateful for the one thing that's keeping me up. Or that I could talk so openly and unabashedly about the color and consistency of poop. For that matter, I never knew I could care so much about another person's gastrointestinal system at all. I never knew I could sing lullabies in the car, or walk and sway the same path through the house for hours on end, or wake up five times in the night just to stand over a crib and listen for the sound of breathing. Thank you for teaching me all of these things. Thank you for showing me what I never knew was missing.

I know you are just beginning to understand who you are. But we have known you and loved you for a year now, and you have made us smile and laugh every single day. You are happy, vibrant, and engaged. Everyone comments on your sweet disposition, big smile, and bright blue eyes. You love reading, music, talking, and bouncing. You can be very intensely focused and determined and often get a mischievous gleam in your eye. Your laugh is infectious. You get very excited and noisy when you're the center of attention, or when you see other babies and children. You squeeze and cuddle your stuffed animals and give kisses to the pictures in your books. You are such a blessing.

Happy first birthday, sweet girl. I'm already so proud of the person you are and can't wait to watch you continue to learn and grow. There is so much to look forward to.    

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Eleven months

With the holidays, Marla's broken arm, selling our home (more on that in another post), searching for a new home, and moving, the last month has been nothing but a big messy blur. I know Marla turned 11 months old at some point, so I'll do my best to capture a few of the highlights in her growth and development.

She can wave "hi" and "bye-bye" but is fairly selective about when she does it. In the below video, she was saying goodbye to family members at Thanksgiving. She may not always do it, but when she does, she makes it count!

Speaking of which, she had her first Thanksgiving! She loved the stuffing. The rest of the food didn't make much of an impression on her.

She's into pretty much everything lately.

Who, me?
The three weeks that she spent in a sling slowed her down a bit, but she's back to crawling everywhere and pulling herself up to things in the last week.

She's fallen in love for the first time... with the baby in the mirror. In fact, she loves "the baby" so much that "baby" is going down in the books as her very first real word. I didn't capture her saying it in this video, but hearing it is enough to melt your heart, trust me.


I just can't believe that she's turning a year old next week, but my denial hasn't slowed her down a bit. She has begun clapping, waving, pointing, mimicking words, dancing, giving high-fives, and doing "soooo big." So big, indeed. Happy 11 months, Marla Rae! 

Not at all humerus

Where to start? Our life as of late has been... chaotic? stressful? depressing? exciting? unstable? I struggle to find a word that really captures the rollercoaster we've been on. Fortunately, things seem to be slowly going back to normal in the last few days, so it's time to begin documenting some of it.

Marla broke her arm on November 21. We picked her up from daycare that day and she refused to crawl, which was very strange. She didn't seem to be in any pain or distress, so we waited it out for the night. When she still wouldn't crawl the following morning, we brought her to our pediatrician, who couldn't find anything of concern in a physical exam except that she didn't want to put any weight on one arm. He ordered an x-ray, which revealed a small fracture in her left humerus, which is the main bone in the upper arm. The doctor was flabbergasted that she could have sustained such an injury without showing any external sign of pain.

We saw an orthopedic pediatrician next, who also marveled at Marla's "stoicism" and apparent ambivalence to any pain in her arm. Because of the location of the break, it didn't need to be casted, but did need to be immobilized as much as possible. Imagine my distress when he prescribed a sling and swathe for our very active 11-month-old. Marla can't sit still for the length of time it takes a digital camera to snap a photo, but she was supposed to keep her arm and shoulder immobile for three weeks? Hardly. Regardless, we had to do our best, so we went to the hospital's orthopedic department for the sling. It turns out they don't make them small enough for a baby, so we were forced to come up with a contraption on our own.

We started with the doctor's suggestion of taping her arm down and putting an extra onesie on to hold it in place. That didn't last long.

Next we tried an ace wrap, but it was a major hassle to unwrap her every time we needed to change her, put her in the car seat, etc.

The winner ended up being some old sleep sacks and hand-me-down swaddlers from my friend Jodi. We cut the bottoms off the swaddlers, wrapped up her left arm, and velcroed the whole ensemble. She didn't love it, but it was tolerable!

We still don't know exactly how Marla broke her arm, but our best guess is that she fell at daycare. The great news is that she has handled all of this beautifully. She has not seemed to be in any pain whatsoever and adjusted very well to having the use of only one arm.

Fortunately, the sling didn't get in the way of her reading.

And she figured out how to get around pretty quickly.

I'm happy to report that last week we got the go-ahead from the doctor to take the sling off and set Marla free once again. He's pleased with the arm's healing and says there should be absolutely no issues with it in the future. It was a long three weeks, but it could have been much, much worse, and our girl took it all in stride. I'm so proud of her!