1 year, in words

Dear Stella,

Over the past year I have composed this post in my head, adding, editing, remembering bits to include. I worried sometimes I might forget something and that maybe I should be jotting notes down for this post. But something kept me from doing that. I wanted to just sit down and write it, write it how I remembered it in this exact moment.

Your birth was such a surreal experience for me. I truly didn’t think I was in labor. I was sure, when I finally decided we should head to the hospital, that they were going to check me and then kick me out for not being far enough along. What a surprise it was to have them tell me I was 9.5 centimeters dilated and we were having a baby. Right. Now. We literally had 15 minutes to call people, while nurses rushed around prepping things.

You were born and they put you on my tummy, and you were so quiet. You just stared up at us with these startling blue eyes. The nurses tried to rub you down to make you squawk a bit, which you did. And then I pulled you up to my chest and felt your warm little body on mine.

This incredibly special moment was slightly disturbed when your first act on the outside was to pee on me. Sometimes I worry that you might read these letters when you are older and be embarrassed by all this mushy stuff I write about or mortified about what I shared. I hope this moment mortifies you. But then I hope it makes you laugh, because it was so funny.

You were born with rich chocolate-brown hair, like your Aunt Cherie’s, and deep blue eyes. Now, you are blond and blue-eyed and your hair has started to curl. You take my breath away.

Your first couple months were pretty rough. You had trouble gaining weight and so I had to nurse you every two hours, around the clock. We didn’t sleep more than three hours for about three months straight. We took late night car rides when you were fussy and screaming. We curled you up next to us in our bed and closed our eyes and prayed to God that you just let us sleep for a few minutes.

From months three to four you only napped on one of us. The crib was fine for night sleeping, but nap, it had to be on us or we never got more than a twenty minute nap from you. And so we would take turns, grab a book, sit in your room on the rocker and hold you. Let you drool on our necks as we rocked ever so gently to keep you asleep. We got a lot of reading done. We got no housework done, or rest for ourselves, or cooking, or anything really. But I said it back then, and I say it now, I don’t regret it. I knew this nap thing was a phase and you would eventually sleep in your crib. And I knew I would miss the feel of your little body resting on mine, your breath against my neck. Where there times when I just wanted to take a nap myself? Oh yes, ohmigod yes.

You grew bigger and stronger. You did tummy-time and learned to grab objects and bring them to your mouth. You found your thumb and toes to suck on. You were always, and still are, such a smiley happy baby. You are always so excited about things, everything is the best, always. Around 6 months you started making this noise, ALL. THE. TIME:

You loved grabbing your toes and sucking on them. So much so that at night you would fall asleep, one foot up next to your mouth, the other foot up in the air. You slept like that every single night. We had to stop using sleep-sacks because you would try to get your feet and when you couldn’t you would get so mad! You still occasionally will grab one foot and hold it up near your chin when you are tired or snuggling with us.

You slept through the night relatively early, around 4.5 months of age. This Momma cannot convey in words how glad she was about that.

At 9 months, Easter weekend, you started crawling. You did this funny little army crawl, but it worked for you. The same day you started pulling up on things.

You started seeking us out for snuggles during the day. Crawl to my lap, wait to be picked up, pop your thumb in your mouth, and twirl your hair. You said “da-da” and “ma-ma”. You learned sign language at an amazing pace. You learned to wriggle your little body to music, the best dance moves ever.

You love the water, being outdoors, and your three chickens. Everyday you ask to see your chickens, and you sign “chicken” and then say “bok bok bok.” The chickens have become so accustomed to you that they now squat down to let you pet them.

Since 3 months of age  we read you “Goodnight Moon” before every single nap. That’s twice a day from months 3-12. I am pretty sure I will have that book memorized for the rest of my life. At about one year of age you declared you were ‘all done’ with Goodnight Moon, and would have a fit if we tried to read it to you. Your new current nap book is “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you See?” As we get your jammies on I ask you “What book should we read?” You immediately reply, “Brah Behr!” And sometimes I ask “I’m sorry, what book did you say?” And you repeat, “Brah Behr, Brah Behr!” Because hearing you say that will never get old.

I carry your hospital bracelet around in my purse with me. At first I kept it there because we had just moved and I didn’t want to lose it. Then I forgot it was there. Then I just kind of liked having it in my purse. A memento of you and your arrival. A reminder of how amazing our life has become, because you are in it now.



Related Post: 1 year, in pictures

And we match!

Momma’s girl


4 responses to “1 year, in words

  1. Wow, happy birthday Stella Joan! I can’t believe it’s been a year!

  2. So sweet! It’s crazy how much changes in a year from a little tiny newborn to a growing-independent little person. Happy birthday to your sweet girl!

  3. Very nice to have these memories

  4. Gorgeous girl! My boy also born June 2012, pop by my blog and see him!
    Infertility is tough, hey. I can’t start trying yet because of the breast feeding but it is on my mind a lot. Scary to think we might only be able to have one. But I have faith that things will work out somehow. Good luck to you!

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