Wednesday, April 21, 2010

1 Year Old

My Dear Gabriela,

When you woke up this morning, I brought you into bed with me for a few minutes like we sometimes do. As you cuddled up with your head on my chest and your big blues eyes facing me, I starred at you for a while. I tried to memorize everything about you right now: your gummy, toothless smile, your wild curls, your round cheeks, your soft skin, your cute babbly chatter. And the longer I looked at you, the less I saw a baby and the more I saw a little girl.

It seems like just yesterday I was holding a freshly delivered, cone-headed, slippery, mush-nosed, pouty-lipped beautiful newborn in my arms and feeling a brand new part of my heart open up with a type of love I'd never felt before. I remember our first hours together as your Papai and I studied every inch of your tiny body in amazement that we could have created something so perfect. Now I watch as you totter around the living room looking so much like a real little person, and I try to wrap my mind around how fast it all goes.

Your Papai and I often sit and talk while we watch you play and wonder what the future holds for you. One year has gone by in what seems like the blink of an eye, and we know it won't be long before you're starting your first day of school, going on your first date, and packing up to move off to college. As much as we hate to see our baby girl growing up sometimes, I pray that we are always able to embrace each new phase of your life, to encourage you to pursue your passions, and that you'll always know how proud we are to be your parents.

But enough of all that. Your mama's crazy pregnancy hormones can't take too much more of that right now! Let's talk instead about what you've been up to the last month, shall we?

You are ready to walk! You're up to 6-8 steps now and will actually let go of furniture and walk off on your own. Your balance is improving daily, and I imagine it will only be a matter of days before I have a constant upright shadow (as opposed to one that crawls behind me all day).

You have a huge desire to help around the house. Whether we are folding clothes or tiling the bathroom floor, you want to be right in the middle of it all providing assistance. We are trying to find a good balance between letting you "help" and keeping you from getting stepped on or eating drywall screws. I try to involve you in as many chores as possible, with your very favorite being handing me clothes from the laundry basket as I fold them. While it definitely makes things take longer, it's totally worth it to see your face light up over and over again each time I say, "Obrigada" as you hand me another shirt or sock.

This has been your most cuddly and affectionate month to date. You frequently crawl up into my or your Papai's lap, wrap your arms around our neck, and lay your head on our shoulder or chest. You never stay there real long, but it is awfully nice of you to take a break from your very busy schedule to give us some love each day!

I didn't think it was possible, but you've become even more of a ham around strangers. You wave, smile, stick your tongue out, and giggle (and squeal if they've smiled at you but then look away to do something else) at everyone while we're out and about. There are checkout clerks at several different big stores now who remember you well! (And it's not like we're out shopping that often!) At Jared and Steph's wedding the end of March, your father and I didn't see you for most of the night. You were passed from person to person - and loving every minute of it! The only time you ever really prefer me over a complete stranger is when you're sleepy.

Despite my fears last month that you might be ready to drop your morning nap, they are back on stronger than ever now. You are napping 1 1/2-2 hours pretty consistently in the morning and another hour or so in the afternoon! Your bed time has remained 8:00 pm, you wake up at 7:00 to have your milk, and go right back to sleep until 8:30 or 9:00 when we start our day. And now you're napping great! You certainly continue to spoil us in the sleep department!!! (Let's just hope your sibling can live up to the standard!)

Although we did it a little sooner than I was planning, you are completely weaned now. I was planning to start gradually weaning you to whole milk once you turned a year old. But after a couple weeks of you never really latching on (and instead just sort of chewing on me), Mamae had had enough. On April 11, I was tired of you hurting me, you started crying as I pulled you away and tried to make you latch on properly, and I sent your father out to buy whole milk. By the third sippy cup feeding you loved it; we weaned completely in less than 24 hours! You weren't phased by it in the least (even though your mother had to use cabbage leaves for a couple days to help with the engorgement). You absolutely LOVE your 3 sippy cups per day of milk! You like it fine cold, but if it's warm you will actually turn it up and chug the entire 8 ounces without ever stopping to take a breath (an ability we hope you'll lose before you go off to college.)

We celebrated your birthday in fine fashion on Sunday afternoon. We hosted a spring-themed Brasilian churrasco served with a big pot of feijoada, a caterpillar cake, and homemade ice cream. There were 24 of us total to spoil you on your special day, including both sets of your grandparents and two other Brasilians. You completely ate up all the attention, devoured your "special" cake I made for you (yes, I know, we didn't even let you have sugary cake and ice cream on your birthday, but this way you have a sob story to tell your kids or something to discuss in therapy later on), and wore yourself out playing with the big kids.

It has been an awesome year kiddo! Despite that you're at the very bottom of the chart in size, you have been on track or ahead in all of your developmental milestones. You're a smart little squirt who is much stronger and more coordinated than you look like you're old enough to be! I can't wait to see what the next year brings!

I love you so much, my Gabers!


Amanda said...

Happy Birthday, Gabriella. So much for meeting you and having you and Audrey become best buds, like me and your mama, before your 1st birthday. Oh well, maybe one day soon! Me and your mom didn't actually like each other the first couple years of our lives any way, so maybe there's still hope!

Em and Eric, you have a beautiful daughter! Congrats to making it to that 1st birthday, woohoo mom and dad! You know, as parents we really should be the ones getting a party on our kids birthdays!

L-O-V-E the cake btw, over the top adorable :)

Katiebell said...

A year, Emily! Can you believe it! Precious pictures. I love hearing about what Miss Gabriela's been up to. And her cake--too cute!