The Last First Birthday

 

How can this baby possibly be one year old?

 

This is making me way too emotional, knowing he’s my last, and so this is the last first birthday I’ll ever celebrate. I meet a lot of people who tell me that they are not “baby people” — that they love having kids, but they’re much more in their element after that first year is over.

I’m the opposite. I’m such a baby person. Even with their reflux and crazy diapers and no sleep and just general insanity, I adore the baby phase. Maybe because it’s so fleeting.

Yes, he’s still a baby at the ripe old age of one. But that little face has changed so much already and he is starting to look more like a toddler every day in his shape, his expressions and his sheer size.

This third child changed us immeasurably. He grew our family to a party of five but he also showed us that our hearts can stretch even further than we ever imagined.

From the beginning, he was a game changer. From the scary ultrasounds and pre-natal tests that had specialists and genetic counselors surrounding us very early on with horrific odds against us for a healthy child. And then follow up test after obscure test ruled out one, then two, then 1,500 disorders that the doctors feared were possibilities.

He was always perfect to us.

And then we finally found out he would most likely be born healthy after all. And he was.

This boy who is now so, so sweet started out a firecracker. A fussy screamer. Until he wasn’t. Until he got that Third Child Memo — the one about learning to roll with it. He’s a pro now.

He has never been a sleeper. I can count on one hand how many full nights of sleep we’ve had in the last year. But it doesn’t bother him. If a parenting book called “The Happiest Non-Sleeper on the Block” ever gets released, you can be sure his photo will grace the cover.

He loves, loves, loves his older siblings. He whips his head in anticipation of them entering a room. They are his orbit and nonstop source of entertainment. Now that he’s mobile, he loves to be in the mix with them.

And as much as he loves them, he is super-attached to me. Not in the same way I remember babies being attached. More than that, I think. Or maybe I’m projecting. Either way, it’s amazing.

The joy and affection pours out of this thumb-sucking, impossibly blonde child. It’s like he’s daring us to remember our hesitation about whether or not to try for a third kid. That decision seems like light years ago. It doesn’t even seem like something we had to decide anymore.

{Side note: I’m really sorry to the woman shopping for baby shower favors at Party City while I was weeping over the purchase of 1st birthday balloons. In between my crazy sobs, I threw every cliche in the book at you about it going so fast, enjoying every moment, etc. I’m really sorry. You caught me between coffees #1 and #2 while really having a moment over this birthday milestone. I hope you found the pacifier-shaped confetti you were looking for.}

Having three is definitely a whole other level of crazy in terms of logistics and just the general OMG factor. Only recently do I feel like I’ve started to come out of the baby cave, that postpartum span of time when all regular operations seem to be suspended to one degree or another in order to take a back seat to the reigning chaos of an infant.

And the glimpse into the next level of insanity has begun, as he is on the brink of walking and I am dusting off baby gates. Toddlerhood is calling.

But not yet. I’m not ready just yet. Today, he turns one and is still a baby.

This sweet boy changed our lives more than I could ever say. Happy Birthday to my last baby.

 

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Comments

  1. Courtney says:

    Oh, I am with you, a baby person all of the way. The toddler years were not mine, but that first year, was always the best. I love the pictures you took of his grand cake eating; and I had tears in my eyes as I read your sentiments. You froze this day with words. Happy birthday to your baby!

  2. Jen T. says:

    Happy birthday! I can’t believe it’s been a year!

    (Incidentally, I am in the non-baby camp, and I had two great sleepers who were incredibly easy. I am loving the teen/preteen ages right now, which I never thought I would…best of all, when I’m ready to kill them, I can leave for a drink, lol!)

  3. Bethany says:

    There is something about the last first. They tug and pull even at the most pragmatic of hearts. He’ll always be the baby. He’s going to ride that wave into the sunset. :)

    Love you.

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