Mommyhood: What I'll Savor from Year One
left: 03/03/13, just after being born. right: 02/15/14, just weeks from her first birthday.
It's hard to believe, but our daughter Stella will be turning one in just a week. I've been going back through photos and videos of her as an infant, and even footage we took of my pregnant self just over a year ago. It's safe to say the days flew by, even though there were nights I thought wouldn't end and a mix of joy and challenges along the way. When I was buying Stella's YoBaby yogurt at Target last week, I saw on the label that YoBaby is good for babies six months and older, and the YoToddler line is good from age one.
Suddenly it hit me - Stella is going to be a toddler.
Aside from the usual list of things I'll reminisce and embarrass her about later in life like the first time she smiled up at me and the first time she pooped all over me, here are some of the special things I'll savor as she nears her first birthday.
I will savor the feeling of her short, birdie hair. Stella is still a little follically challenged, but I love the way her short hair feels against my cheek as I rub my face against the top of her head. I found myself doing it a lot early on, when her hair was just coming in and like soft bristles. Part of me can't wait until we can bust out her hair clips and put that silky hair into pigtails, but I also love her little pixie 'do the way it is.
I will savor the way she is crossing her ankles in her highchair. Something that has amazed me in my first year of motherhood is how some movements and actions are just a part of our human nature. The rubbing of tired eyes, the big stretch in the moments of waking up, and this sweetly polite pose of crossed ankles just get me every time.
I will savor the way her hands smell like Cheerios. I swear, if you are what you eat, Stella is going to start rolling around like a life-sized Cheerio. Now that we've moved on to finger foods, diced Del Monte fruits and Cheerios are our go-to snacks. Those sweet little hands will only get stickier and smellier as she gets into more things, but I love the way she smells like cereal.
I will savor her enthusiastic "yays" and "yeses" before she learns the word "no." I'm not sure when children exactly learn the word "no" and it becomes such an emphatic thing to say, but right now I'm enjoying the fact that everything, from food to games to even bedtime, gets a happy "yes" from our girl. Although it's more of a "yeth."
I will savor being able to solve the little problems that seem major in her world right now. I know there will come a day when I'll miss being able to stop the world from crashing down by merely putting her pacifier back in her crib, changing her diaper, nursing her, or distracting her with a toy. These problems are easy to solve. I'll miss being able to make her laugh by making a goofy face or a funny sound. One day I'll have to come up with real answers that don't involve a constant bouncing or rocking motion, a stuffed animal, or those beloved Cheerios.
If there's a piece of advice I could give, it would definitely be to write things down in a baby book. I got a little delinquent and didn't fill out her 10 month page until weeks later, and I know there are things I couldn't remember for certain. Going back and reading about those early months has been such a trip, especially considering what a whirlwind the whole process can be.
And take plenty of photos and video. In this digital age, it's remarkably easy to record the big and small moments. In going back over her first year, I'm so happy I took as many videos as I did. Even photos don't capture her jerky motions as a newborn, her skinny legs, and balled-up fists.
Make no apologies for trying to savor every moment. In the immortal words of Tallulah Bankhead, life ain't no dress rehearsal.