My little love,
Oh, what a week it’s been. I think we need to scrap the entire last week and start over. We’ve been sick, one at a time, for days and days now. You’ve actually been the healthiest of any of us, so thank you for your patience. I started writing this a long time ago, but only now am I feeling sharp enough to finish it. I didn’t want the final entry for your first year to be the product of a muddled mind. You’re so bright and curious and excited about everything that anything less would be a disgrace to your spirit.
Last Tuesday I wrote…
We’ve been celebrating for several days already, but today is your true birthday. When you woke up this morning, your head was on my chest. I tried to take a picture, but I didn’t realize the flash was on and I disturbed you. I felt bad about it, but your brother really wanted to see you, so it was okay for you to wake up. Your dad came in, your brother came in, and we all crowded into the bed together and sang Happy Birthday to you. Like pretty much every day of our lives, it was ill-tuned, chaotic, warm, and enthusiastic.
You were happy, of course, because Miles was in the room. I don’t think the song meant much to you, but you seemed to really enjoy the Build-a-Bear he designed for you, and the balloons were lots of fun. You like cake pretty well and ice cream a lot.
As predicted, you’re a walker now. You still default to crawling when you want to get somewhere fast, but your walking stretches are getting longer and more confident. Soon you’re going to be running down the hallway just like Miles. I am not looking forward to the inevitable collisions, but you’re a pretty tough little nugget.
You’ve begun doing some consistent if not completely accurate signs to express your needs. You do your own versions of more and all done, and you do the most wonderful, wide-eyed and wide-armed peek-a-boo. You still do the loud aaaahhh to ask for water, and you really, really want to hold the cup by yourself. You’ve also done some other funny things that indicate a growing interaction with your world. You’ll “request” certain songs we sing together by doing actions that go with them (e.g., a pointing finger gesture that goes with “Shortnin’ Bread”). If I start singing B-I-N-G-O, you clap before we even get to the clapping part, because you know it’s the clapping song.
Photo by Gary Clarke
You’ve been quite a waterbaby lately. It’s so much fun having a summer baby, because this is just the right stage in your development to let you really enjoy splashing around. You’ve been to some swimming pools and sprinklers, and you get a face-full pretty much every day when you whip the shower curtain open on me. I used to keep you trapped in your carseat while I showered, but you get such a thrill out of getting sprinkled that we’ve switched to that method. I hope the floor doesn’t rot out.
The books in our house are pretty well chewed up. You’ve gotten a little better on the issue of putting everything in your mouth. Now it’s only about 70% of things. It was Miles’s idea to make you a birthday cake shaped like a book, which we had fun doing. You ate a crayon a week or two ago, which was gross, but it seems like maybe you’re learning about what’s appropriate to put in your mouth and what isn’t. Maybe?
Photo by Gary Clarke
I can’t say for sure how your personality will turn out, but if the traits you show at one year are indicative, I predict you’ll be jovial, adventurous, flirtatious, and a comedy fan. You are rarely without a smile, and you laugh a lot. People we meet in stores or out on walks comment on your expressive face, and you’re a good mimic. You can whistle better than a lot of four-year-olds.
Intellectually I know that just about every mother loves her babies, and that every baby in a family is like starting over with a whole new rush of startling, overwhelming love. I know it’s in my biology to treasure you, because you’re my link to the future. And yet, I often find myself shocked by how new and wonderful you’ve made everything. You bring out the best in your brother. You are brave, joyful, and captivating to friend and stranger alike. Your little eyebrows and mouth make the funniest shapes. You are so proud of yourself when you take steps or climb to a new (dangerous) height. You take a few tumbles, but you’re pretty easy to soothe. It’s usually just a moment or two before you’re off on your next adventure.
Your brother, who tends to be more fearful than you, feels reassured when I tell him he can live with me forever. It’s true—I would be happy to have both of you here with me as long as you want (though I reserve the right to amend that attitude if one or both of you is still living in my basement in thirty years). I don’t see that happening with you, though, Tobin. You’re going to be scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef or touring with your stand-up comedy act or researching your dissertation in Mesopotamia. I want those things for you, my love, because you have the innards of an adventurer.
I just ask that you don’t go anywhere we can’t iChat AV or FaceTime or Skype or whatever the technology is a couple of decades in the future. Now that I’ve found you, I could never be completely without you. Isn’t that funny? A little over a year ago, you were just a wiggly lump that made my pubic bone hurt all the time. Now you’re an irreplaceable and utterly necessary part of my heart.
Photo by Gary Clarke
I love you now and every single day until the sun explodes. Do your best not to be too close to it.