Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Dear Ryder... Twelve Months

Dear Ryder,

"The days are long, but the years are short..." 

I don't think anything could capture this time in our lives more perfectly.

As I look back over the past year, I'm baffled by how quickly it's gone. You have accomplished so much in such a short time!

You hardly eat baby food at all anymore. Instead, you prefer to feed yourself "big boy" foods. Blueberries have continued to be a favorite, but you enjoy most kinds of fruit. You also like avocado, cheese, and chicken, along with snacky things like puffs, which we try to limit as much as we can.

We spend a lot of time at the huge park across the street from our house. You love swinging and going down the slide. We try to go over there as a family almost every day when I get home from work, as well as on the weekends. It's such a beautiful place and we're so lucky that it's just steps from our front door! It's always full of other families, so I'm sure you'll make some friends here as you get older.

You have eleventy billion toys, yet you usually prefer to play with other odd things...

Inside your upside down car seat.

Underneath a bucket that's meant to hold beach toys.

In the refrigerator. This one is pretty much your all-time favorite. You can hear the fridge door open from almost anywhere downstairs, and when you even sense an opportunity, you drop what you're doing and come running. I have no idea why you like it so much in there. Strange, kid.

You are definitely your mother's child, because you LOVE books! If you had your way, we'd sit and read to you all day long. We occasionally have to resort to hiding your books from you, because if we don't you follow us around the house whining and throwing board books at us until someone sits down to read to you. I'd love to spend all day exploring literature with you, but Momma's gotta get stuff done sometimes, kiddo!

You took your first real steps on Easter Sunday and never looked back. Once you realized you could walk, you didn't really bother with crawling anymore (not that I blame you). Nana and Papa decided this meant that you were ready for your first pair of real shoes. They promptly took you to the mall for a stylish pair of Sambas.

You visit Nana and Papa all the time, and they absolutely love seeing you. I'm sure they spoil you rotten, but I'm just going to turn a blind eye to that reality. That's what grandparents are for, right?

We are still struggling with sleep issues, and now it's officially been an entire year since any of us have slept through the night. I'm ready for this stage to end, little devil angel. Aren't you tired?? You've been getting cow's milk mixed with breast milk for a while now, and I decided that as of your first birthday I was going to stop pumping at work. That means soon we're going to stop nursing all together, and I'm hoping that maybe this transition will mean a shift toward more sleep. Pretty please?

That being said, at least you're sleeping (for the most part) in your crib in your own room. And now that you're older we've started letting you have blankets and lovies in there, which I thought might help you feel a little more cozy and comfortable. Sometimes I feel like a crazy person though, because although I'm usually desperate to get you to sleep, I also miss you when you're sleeping, and look forward to the next time you'll wake up so we can cuddle.

You get lots of cuddles from Daddy, too.

I'll really miss the Duck Bath you got from your cousins, but it was time  for you to graduate to the Big Boy Bath. You hardly knew what to do with all the space and new bath toys!

You are wearing 12mo - 18mo clothing, for the most part, although some 9mo pants still fit you (shortie). My amazing friend Lindsee was nice enough to hand down to you this HUGE bag of clothes from her son Jackson. You're really going to be stylin' now, and you're set for about the next two years! You continue to have tiny feet (like your father) and almost fit into a size four, but even those are a little big. Don't worry, you'll grow into them!
You passed your routine one-year checkup with flying colors! You are 29.72 inches tall (40th percentile) and weigh 21 lb 6 oz (49th percentile). Your head size continues to be in the 99th percentile (obviously because your brain is so big and you're so smart!)

The doctor noted that you are developmentally right on track with walking, throwing balls, high-fiving, clapping, attempting to handle cups and silverware at mealtimes, feeding yourself with your fingers, saying "mama" and "dada" and responding to your name.

You had a big round of immunizations, including measles and chicken pox, which I had been waiting anxiously (measles has been on the rise since you were born). It's so odd to me that children are immunized against chicken pox now. When Daddy and I were kids it was considered kind of a rite of passage! But I'm glad that it's just one more thing I'm able to shield you from in life.

We splurged on a super cool child carrier so that we can take you on lots of hikes this summer. We tried it out for the first time on a beautiful May afternoon at Rattlesnake Ledge just a few miles from our house. You weren't thrilled about it at first, but eventually you settled in and enjoyed the ride.

I was super proud of us for making it all the way up as a family -- two miles round trip and you were such a trooper!

I think you were more tuckered out than Mom and Dad...

Let's not forget about the main event this month... your first birthday! We celebrated your Cinco de Mayo birthday with a fiesta-themed party at our house. All your favorite people were there including grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and good friends. I may have gone a little overboard with everything, but it's not every day your firstborn child turns one!

Shockingly, you weren't super interested in eating the cake. You found it much more thrilling to smash it all over your highchair and yourself. Good thing it was a beautiful sunny day and we could bring out the hose for cleanup.

You ended your first year of life the exact same way you started it -- cradled in Mommy's arms.

It seems like just yesterday I stared in wonder at you for the very first time.

And I still stare in wonder at you every single day.

The past year has been an incredible adventure, and now that you're in our lives I can't imagine going forward without your chubby little hand clutched firmly in mine.

You are my joy, my world, my everything.

Being your Mommy is the most incredible thing I have ever done. Each new challenge is worth every amazing reward. I can't wait to see what the years ahead hold for us.

Please, don't ever forget the important words that I said to you that very first day when I found out that I was pregnant:

"We wanted you, wished for you, hoped for you... Imagined the joy of loving you. You were loved before you even existed. This is what I hope you will always remember. You are wanted and loved, always."

No one will ever know the strength of my love for you. After all, you're the only one who knows what my heart sounds like from the inside.

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  1. He is absolutely adorable and getting so big! It makes me excited to watch our little girl grow up starting in August, but sad at how quick it will go!

  2. Beautiful letter! Still can't believe he's 1!!!!! I hope he sleeps through the night soon for you too!

  3. So beautiful! And he just gets more and more adorable! :)


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