First Birthday

San Clemente Family Photographer-1490 San Clemente Family Photographer-3557I can’t even remember what my official due date was, I believe it was the 5th, all I knew is that it came and went and I felt this rush of urgency over a bomb I had no control in the detonation of. Waking each morning and wondering if today was the day; my concentration on minuscule things like the weather or what astrological sign he (though we did not know it was a ‘he’ at the time) would be born under.

All the anxiety and anticipation bounding inside me, like water on the brink of boiling. So that when it did happen, it happened without question, an audible pop from inside me like the cork flying out of a champagne bottle.

Our only planned hospital birth and as irony would have it, he was nearly born in the car. Forty-five minutes of complete surrender to a pain that left no room to even will it’s disappearance. A few minutes collecting things at home, a 25 minute drive, a 10 minute transfer up to a room, and five minutes total in a hospital bed. And there he was, in my arms, all 10 lbs of him. Another boy. But more importantly, another healthy boy.

My sweet Sonny, I fought for you. You are the third I knew I always wanted well before you were even you. I had no hope of who you’d be or what you’d be, I just knew I needed you. And now I know why. You are potentially (I mean, I can always hold onto hope, right?) the last piece to the puzzle. You are so loved and you have protection built in for life by way of two older brothers that adore you but hate when you touch their legos. Happy first birthday, mi amor.

(Sonny’s birth story can be found here).

Van @ 12 Months

Growth & Appearance: People keep asking us if you have red hair. To me, it appears brown on top and blond in the back.
You have four teeth on top and four on the bottom.
You love wearing shoes on your feet which is funny because I have yet to put shoes on your feet. Instead, you’ve picked up on the fact that we all wear shoes and in an effort not to be excluded, you come crawling up to me often with your brother’s shoes in your hand pointing at your feet.
You’re wearing size 4 diapers, size 18-2T clothes. You seem incredibly tall.

Eating: You’re still a champion eater, but you’ve developed some preferences. Some days you simply eat more than others. And you may refuse something you loved just the day before. When you don’t like the food sitting in front of you, you like to swipe your hands from one side of the table to the other making food fly everywhere. Sarah loves this.
You’ll eat, or at least try, everything. Your current favorites are watermelon and bananas.
I’ve cut our breastfeeding sessions in half with hopes of weaning, but then I got emotional about it, so we’re sticking to four feedings a day plus 1-2 bottles of frozen breast milk. You’re able to drink from the bottle on your own.
You have a serious desire to use silverware. You’re always wanting to be just like us. Your ability to do so, however, sucks. It does keep you entertained, so oftentimes we give you a spoon.

Sleeping: You are officially attached to your blanket. It’s funny how that happens. You love to snuggle with it and often point and whine while you’re on your changing table until I grab the thing out of your crib and put it in your arms. Then you like to put it over your face and play peek-a-boo. You’re quite the peek-a-boo fan these days.
We had to move the noise maker out of your crib because you not only figured out how to turn it off, but also how to reach your little arm out of the crib and unplug the cord from the wall.
Breastfeeding puts you to bed most nights, but some nights you’re still awake when I put you down. When this happens, we can hear you playing with your activity center. Eventually you fall asleep on your own, without a fuss.
You wake up around 8am, nap from 10:30am to 1pm, nap from 4:30pm to 6pm, and go down for the night around 9:30pm. When we’re out and about, we forgo the second nap. Sometimes we pay the consequences, but most of the time you function off of whatever sleep you get in the car.

Talking: More than words, you point and whine. You point at everything and expect everyone to obey your commands.
You’re good with D’s and are able to say “down”, “done”, and “dog”. You say “hello” whenever you have a phone in your hands. “Boon” is “balloon” and “ka” is “car”.  And, oh yes, you say “mama”.

Development: You dance anytime there is music on. In fact, one of your favorite things to do is to crawl over to the record player, pull yourself up, and turn the music up as high as it goes while you drop it like it’s hot.
To say you’re still crawling is kind of a lie. You’re more like motor-crawling. You’re faster than all hell and often crawl up on all fours without your knees touching to get wherever you’re going as fast as possible.
You’re able to stand without holding onto anything, but it always has to be on your own terms. Anytime we try to put you down on your feet, you drop to the floor. But when you’re playing, you’ll let go of whatever you’re holding onto and stand without a problem. You’ve taken a couple steps on your own.
You like books, especially the touch and feel books. You’ll grab a book and bring it to me to read to you.
I have little doubt that you are right handed. You do most everything with your right hand.
You’re a climber. You love climbing onto chairs and rocking back and forth. It’s totally safe and not scary at all to walk into a room and find you on top of a chair rocking back and forth. The other day Papa found you in the bathroom; You had climbed into the empty bathtub and were playing with your toys.
You suck your thumb, but not on a regular basis and not for any real length of time.
The toilet paper is almost always unraveled from the roll and the baking supplies are almost always strewn about on the kitchen floor. We ought to childproof the kitchen cupboards, but there’s not much in there that can cause anything more than a mess.
You’re still ridiculously strong. You love pushing your highcahir all over the house. And when your arm comes down on my chest when we’re playing on the floor, there is definite force behind it.
You love to laugh.

Favorites: Hands down, the four wheeler is your favorite. You spend the better part of the day on that thing and have got quite good at maneuvering around every corner of the house. You’re on that thing so much that when you opt to get down, we comment that you’ve chosen to “de-saddle”.
You love using a pen and paper. I think you got this from Hooper. My pens are constantly missing from my desk. You also love playing with the plugs; unplugging the record player is a daily occurrence.
My computer mouse is always on your wish list. And you love balloons.

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Then & Now

I’d say it’s amazing how fast a year goes, but that’s so cliche. Instead, I will say that with my first-born, every day felt like a marathon. I felt like that newborn phase was going to last for the rest of my life. When I had my second,  my perspective was much better. I knew it’d be a hard year and then it’d get easier.
Before I had kids, I couldn’t think more than a week ahead. I lived life day by day and rarely planned for anything and had a hard time committing to something unless it was going to happen the next day.
The days are long but the years are short, or so they say.
One year ago today I was sitting in the very same room as I type right now, in a birthing tub. This picture is obviously poor quality but it tells a story. The beginning of the story, anyway. A paper bag with a plastic bag in case I got nauseous (I didn’t), the sliver of the elbow of my midwife watching over me just barely making it in the right part of the frame, the birthing supplies in a trash bag on top of the pin ball machine that sat there un-used and taunting me for weeks (I was two weeks late), and Willy looking halfway helpful and halfway helpless.
I say it only tells the beginning of the story because we don’t have photos of the EMT’s who eventually came and had to transfer me butt-booty-naked in an ambulance to the hospital. We had our birthing plan all mapped out and, ultimately, we had to go with plan B.
Life doesn’t always go the way you plan it, does it?
And within ten minutes of being at the hospital, with one nurse pumping up and down on my stomach as if my heart were in my abdomen and I was in full cardiac arrest (clarification: I was not in cardiac arrest) and with some doc I had never met pulling and twisting, Van was born. All nine and half pounds of him.
On the days I work, I pump in a lactation room on the postpartum unit. I watched the other day as a newborn was wheeled past me and as I sat down to pump milk for Van, I thought how crazy it is that that little glow worm will be crawling and communicating and socializing in, what feels like, a blink of an eye.
Right now, Van is napping. I breastfed him while he held on to his blanket, his latest obsession, and laid him down in his crib. He quickly rolled over, hugging his blanket to his chest and sticking his little bum high up into the air.
One year. Three hundred and sixty five days. Fifty two weeks.
The days are long but the years are short; It’s true.
You can read Van’s entire birth story here

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