I could say that it's surreal that a year has passed since I first held you in my arms or marveled at the copper highlights in your hair and the stamina of your vocal chords--I could, but that's a given. I knew you wouldn't stay small for long enough, the days would fly by, and it would all be a blur. I dreaded your first birthday, to be honest, because it seemed to carry a finality and I do admit, it's a little bittersweet, but I'm not
Anyway, I can't say honestly that I won't shed some [more] tears over your birthday, but I think it's normal and I'm dealing with the whole "my baby isn't going to be a baby anymore" boo-hoo'ing a lot better now. You're helping with that. You'll want your independence and you'll go play by yourself, but you check in with me, crawl up on me and smoosh my cheeks. When you're upset, cranky, or really tired, more often than not, you'll reach for me and me holding you is enough to soothe away your cries. You don't always agree with me when I tell you that dirt and rocks should not go in your mouth and it's probably not a good idea to go crawling through the doggie door or slam your fists against the glass doors on the entertainment center, but I'm still tied with Daddy as your favorite person. You still want to snuggle when you're exhausted of being on the move all the time.
Little, I want you to know that I'm so proud of you. I laugh and beam with pride in equal amounts when you work on perfecting your balance or when you empty the entire contents of a laundry basket (when I've just folded or hung up everything). You're so smart and so inquisitive, so daring, and so full of mischief. You're endlessly entertaining. You're my sweet little girl, my giggle monster, and my buddy. You make any outing more fun (and more exhausting) and you add sunshine to any day. It's fitting then that your favorite color is yellow--it's just so you. You're warm and kind. You can be shy, but it's short-lived, as you seem to read people quickly. And your smile. It can get you immediately out of trouble when you've emptied the contents of the tissue box all over the floor. It is adorable and toothy and genuine. It's like you're wearing your soul on the outside. Again, it's so you.
Both dogs are your protectors, but Gracie is your favorite I think.
As I mentioned, yellow is your favorite color. You seem to be collecting all of your yellow toys. Your most recent favorite is Posey, a My Little Pony toy that was actually mine growing up.
You are daring and adventurous.
You take more steps every day, but you realize that crawling is currently a more efficient mode of transportation.
You love your baths.
You like emptying things. You're learning to put things away though, too.
The irony with that is that you don't like a lot of things in your way...
But then you get bored if you don't have something to play with.
I bribe you a lot with Puffs, much to the chagrin of Target and Fresh & Easy employees who have to sweep up the trail of Puffs we inevitably leave up and down the aisles.
You are happy as a clam in your cart cover...unless Momma takes too long, which is why a stash of Puffs comes in handy. They're basically air, yes?
You're still attached to your binkie when you're tired or need soothing, but you seem to be transitioning yourself away from bottles. You're doing great with the sippy cup and love your juice.
When you see a breakaway opportunity or if we've mistakenly left a baby gate open, you make a beeline, stop and turn, wait for us to notice, and start huffing toward the open gate with a huge smile plastered on your face.
You've added head-bobbing to your dance repertoire. We shall have to teach you the Q-tip and "Making a Pizza," which are classic dance moves everyone should know. You definitely have rhythm and you're drawn to all types of music.
You've been going through (and I think and hope you're getting out of) a phase of 100% flipping out if you don't get your way. I simply do not respond to these sort of fits and I think you've noticed because they're becoming less frequent.
You haven't had a haircut yet and thankfully your hair in the back is getting longer and taking attention away from the small lock that's been at least 3 inches longer than the rest for about the past 7 or 8 months. Your bangs, however, have been getting in your eyes, so we bought some pretty barrettes together and you don't seem to mind them (the putting in process is a bit of a struggle). Daddy had his doubts, girlyness of them and all, but your sheer cuteness won him over because they look absolutely precious on you. You have quite the head of hair, my little redhead.
You're just about 25 pounds and very tall. You tower over other 1 year olds. I love it. I hope you're proud of your height growing up and not self-conscious about it like I was when I was younger.
You've started helping yourself to food off of my plate, though I kind of started it. It's just so cute when you open your mouth when I offer you something to try, like my own baby T-Rex...or Velociraptor to stick to the origin of your nickname "Little."
Spinning and dancing in our arms can bring on squeals of laughter, as can "Tower of Terror" or anything remotely daring.
At the end of the day, after all the smiles, laughs, and cries, after you've made a disaster of the floor under your high chair (and consequently given the dogs an extra snack), after you've played and played until you just can't play anymore(and refused to nap because you simply didn't want to miss anything), after the airplaine and piggy back rides, after splashing in the tub and reading through your Lilo & Stitch bubble book for the umpteenth time, after flipping through any number of books, including your favorite I Love You Through and Through, and emptying the contents of your toy basket over the living room floor, all that's left is one beautiful little girl w/ red cheeks in feety pajamas snuggled up in my arms...charging up for all that the next day (or year) will bring.
It's a beautiful thing.
It's been an amazing, humbling, fun-filled, exhausting, magical year. It fills me with such happiness just being your Momma. I love you through and through. Yesterday, today, and tomorrow too.
Kiss kiss, Kaelyn and Happy Birthday, Sweet Girl.