My Dearest Emma,
You are one year old today. Happy Birthday! Daddy and I bought you a baby doll and baby stroller for your birthday, and it’s amazing to think that a year ago, you were the size of that doll. So small. So delicate.
Now you are a curious and independent girl who loves to investigate and take apart everything. Your favorite thing is making a mess – whether of your birthday cake and ‘finger’ paints yesterday, or drawers and cabinets full of tupperware, toiletries, papers, books and sometimes, your own toys (though you’d much rather play with adult stuff!). You aren’t interested in the toys that we give you to play with – you want to decide on your own.
You are constantly excited – giggling, belly laughing, bouncing up and down, waving your arms and legs, making your ‘oh’ face of excitement. You are learning new things every day – you can give Grandpa five, wave, clap, play peekaboo, open and close doors and drawers, follow people into another room and find tiny objects on the floor that aren’t visible to the adult eye.
You still don’t like being held much – you are a mover and a shaker! You love to be on the go, and that makes going down for naps a challenge. You love the puppies, and often crawl very fast toward them. They are a little scared of you and your wild ways, so they don’t often sit still to let you pet them, but you have gotten much better with being gentle and not grabbing handfuls of fur when they do stay!
You love being outside. When sledding the past couple of weeks, you had a toothy grin painted on your face the whole time. You have ridden a tractor, a snowmobile and a wagon for the first time, and you rode up the driveway being held in the front seat of the car. So much excitement!
You are very detail-oriented. You love playing with zipper pulls, buttons, caps, door stoppers, and always check out when something has a screw, bolt or other sort of small inconsistency. When we took you to the aquarium in Denver, you didn’t pay a ton of attention to the fish. But when we got you in the elevator, you were entranced by the fake steel rivets on the wall.
You love to eat! The foods you like to eat all the time, all day long are cheese, strawberries, grapes, clementines, and yogurt. You also like bananas, applesauce, butternut squash and mango, but you get sick of them a lot faster. You still like to be fed purees fairly often, but you also like finger foods. It depends on your mood. You just started drinking cow’s milk this past week and the transition went great – in fact, when you drank your first bottle of it, you showed absolutely no reaction or even recognition that the taste was different. That was the case when switching from breastmilk to formula too.
You have started to love your Daddy more. When he walks in the room, you light up. You get excited when you hear his voice, and you love it when he rough-houses with you (even though sometimes it goes slightly too far and you get scared). You still prefer me (Mommy) when you’re sick, hurting or tired, but it warms Daddy’s heart when he can take care of and soothe you, so let him do that more, ok?
You are loved. Your cheeks are kissed at least 500 times each day. It’s just so hard to stop! We squeeze your chubby legs, play the drum on your ‘snare belly’, and spike your hair all because we love you – every inch of you. You will never understand how much your daddy and I love you – we don’t even fully understand it ourselves. It’s a love that goes deeper than words. You are a part of us. We will never be the same since you came into our lives. This line from “On the Night You Were Born” says it well:
“Heaven blew every trumpet
and played every horn
on the wonderful, marvelous
night you were born.”