Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Little Lion Man

This post has nothing to do with Mumford and Sons (other than I've adopted a song title of theirs as a term of endearment for my son, Leo).

Here's an open letter to my beloved boy on his big day:


bruised from your "fast descent"
     Today you are one year old. You were born during a time of great stress for our family. I didn't give you the prenatal attention and care you deserved because I was so caught up in the worry and work that ruled our lives during the 2011-2012 school year. Somehow you must have sensed what kind of baby we needed. Starting from labor, you were easy. My water broke, one of those dramatic "did I pee my pants?" moments, at 9:00 pm the evening of March 5. I felt my first contraction at 9:30, and Ellen the Midwife was at our house by 9:45 to confirm that my water had indeed broken (it had). You being my second baby, I was pretty unconcerned about the process and told Ellen she could go home and we'd call her when things really got going. I set up the bed with two sets of sheets and a waterproof pad and drew a bath of VERY HOT water (Daddy had turned up the hot water heater a few days before in preparation). By 10:15 I was ready for Ellen to return, and I think I started pushing about 11:15. Ellen didn't even have time to set up all her equipment, and our doula had just arrived! You just barely missed a March 5 birthday like your grandmother. Instead you were born at 12:02 am on March 6, 2012.
oh, how you love your sister

     From the the beginning of your life, the best word to describe you is happy. You have always been pleased with life. I didn't recover from your birth as well as you. My bleeding didn't stop even with a couple shots of pitocin and Ellen had to transfer me to the hospital around 2:30 am. With a pitocin drip and a thorough emptying of my bladder, the situation quickly resolved itself, and I became impatient to return home. Our dear friends took turns sitting with me in the hospital (since we needed someone there who was not a patient to be responsible for you) while Daddy showed up for a work meeting he could not miss. What an wild twelve hours that was! But through it all, you slept peacefully, only waking to eat voraciously and then return to sleep. Nona arrived in the early afternoon, and I finally got discharged from the hospital. Later that day or the next, Daddy and I swear we heard you laugh in your sleep. You continued to do it from time to time during your infancy.

     What an amazing self-soother you have always been! You found your two middle fingers (like your uncle Sam) very early in life, and you've never needed much more to be happy. The first time I put you down in your bassinet still awake (around three months?), you put your fingers in your mouth and went to sleep. People are still amazed at how easy you are to put to bed!

     You slept with us for a prolonged period of time because the choice was waking us up or sharing a room with Maggie and waking her up. Nevertheless, you were sleeping through the night (10-12 hours) pretty consistently around five or six months of age. Fortunately, I didn't get as overexcited about your nap schedule as I did with Maggie's. I think you get enough sleep, but I don't care as much whether it's at certain times. You still take two naps a day, though I think you are whittling that down to one. Your morning nap is getting later and later.

eat it and wear it
     You've always been an excellent eater. You nursed immediately and effectively (and noisily) and currently show no signs of disinterest in your regular breastfeeding schedule. You were, however, quite interested in solid food. I think I was a little slow in introducing it around six months. You had stopped sleeping as well at night, and when I started feeding you three full meals a day, you went back to full nights of sleep. You still eat regular food like a little champ and the amount you eat makes it hard to believe that you are still in the fifth to tenth percentile in size for your age. For one meal today you might eat an entire avocado, a piece of toast with cheese, and a couple of handfuls of blueberries!

     Lately, you have taken to rubbing your food through your hair. I keep your hair pretty short (you've already had three or four haircuts, little blondie), but you still manage to keep it fairly stiff and crunchy in spite of my efforts to clean it up after every meal. You hate your bibs and take them off nearly as soon as I have put them on, meaning we go through bottles of Shout! at record speed. What a mess you are!
You have also always been an active little monkey. You were a wiggly squirmer from the start and clearly wanted to crawl at five months, though you didn't get the classic moves coordinated until seven months. You sat at six months with a little support and were sitting unassisted at seven months. You LOVE the Jumparoo and didn't need any coaching on how to use it! Today, it can sometimes take two people to change your diaper because you can roll over and take off so quickly. I sometimes just let you go because it's so funny to watch your bare little hiney crawling away.

first time you pulled up
     You're a quiet little fella. You communicate mostly through your vowel songs, grunts, and growls. You have a glorious, infectious laugh and it's easy to coax one out of you. Last month, we heard imperious "da-da-das" from you, but those have faded, and you're back to your vowel songs. You are working on sign language and will willingly attempt "more" and "all done" with prompting. You love to raise your arms for "SO big!" and think "Pat-a-cake" and "The Grand Old Duke of York" are excellent amusements.

   You got your first tooth at eight months and are currently cutting your fourth. Everything goes in your mouth!
     Today you are in to everything. At Grandma and Papa's house, I have to close all the doors to the addition to keep you in one room and out of trouble. If you spot the cat food, you chuckle and crawl towards it as fast as your hands and knees can take you. You thinking unrolling the toilet paper roll and unloading kitchen cabinets and dishwasher are packs of fun. You love to knock down block towers and pull objects to the floor, especially electronics. You love your sister Maggie and want to play with whatever she is playing with, much to her annoyance. Balls are, by far, your favorite toy, though. You send them rolling and then happily chase them all over the room in your super-speedy crawl. You pull up on all kinds of furniture, do some cruising and easily transfer from one piece of furniture to another. We've even seen you let go and stand without support for a few seconds. Sometimes you pause during your adventures and sit up on one knee with one foot planted on the floor as if you plan to stand up right there in the middle of the room!

     What a gift you have been to us this year! Your first year of life has involved a move from North Carolina to Maryland, periods of unemployment for both your parents, and countless other changes. Yet, through it all, you have remained your smiley, happy self.  There's no doubt that your flexibility and good humor, perhaps brought on by simple necessity, have made our lives brighter.

1 comment :

  1. Hooray Leo! I attest to your cheerful nature and infectious smile and laugh. You are a blessing indeed!


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