Dear Skylar Joy, You are 12 months old. 1 year. Right in this minute August 8th at 1:46 you are a whole year old. In that moment when you were born my life forever changed. I knew it would, but nothing could have prepared me for just how much you would change my world. I will be forever grateful for you... for all that my life has become. Thank you for giving me so much purpose. For loving me unconditionally (there truly is nothing like experiencing love from a little baby). For helping me see the world again with brand-new-wonder-filled-eyes. Thank you for discovering and learning and showing me your beautiful personality (independent and sweet and expressive and so very curious).
My mind boggles to think of all that has happened during this year. I can hardly believe I'm sitting here typing this note to you, baby girl. Last year I was incredibly exhausted, but seeing your little face, touching your hands... holding you in my arms gave me strength and energy I didn't know I had (even after 40 hours of labor). We had some beautiful moments, dear one, before the hard stuff became reality. But let's not focus on those things -- they are in the past -- they are over and done and you are perfect, none the worse for wear. This year has definitely shown your Daddy and I that you are full of life, so very strong, and beautiful in so many ways.
This whole letter won't be about the last year... but give me a few more moments to think about all it held, baby girl. It started with a tiny little baby girl (7 pounds, 8 ounces worth) who snuggled and cooed and cried and overwhelmed this momma with so many feelings of both love and inadequacy. We moved 6 weeks or so after you were born and, really, considering everything, you did so very well. After that we settled into a new house in a new town in a new state with new neighbors and lots of new routines. We got to know each other, sweet girl, and now we're in a place where we communicate pretty well. I know there's so much more to come for communication (I have a feeling you're going to be a "talker" -- surprise, surprise), but I'm so thankful for where we are now. I love it when you tell me nonsense stories and when you try to say words and when you communicate with gestures. I love that you are learning to communicate all the time!
You say a few new words now... One is: "book" (7/23) well, actually you say "boop," but you're really sure that it's the same as "book." You even enunciate the "p" sound when momma stresses the "k" sound to you. It's the cutest thing. There's a video of this floating around somewhere on facebook or something, but really, I'll remember these moments in my heart forever! You also say "dog" now. This was particularly fun when we visited Steven's dog last weekend (he wasn't there -- Steven and your Daddy were in Seattle visiting Chris). More about the dog later. You also experiment with the word "get" and we think that "mamamama" when said a certain way basically means "food" or "drink" or "give me boobies." Haha. We think that since you usually get these things from me that your go to word for all of them is "Mama".
So the "big news" for this month is that you are walking!!!!!!!!!! You took your first steps the day after your 11 month birthday (7/9). I was sitting in the play-area with you and you were standing there holding a toy and you wanted to come over to me and just walked 3 little steps before falling right into my lap. You did it twice that day (one other time was prompted by me so that Daddy could see). A few days later you took a couple steps away from holding onto the wall and/or the couch but to nothing (in other words you weren't walking to me or your dad 7/12). And that started this whole thing called "walking". Soon after you started taking steps on your own your Daddy helped you walk around and around in a circle. For the first half of the month you walked with help a little bit like you were drunk -- your steps were uncertain and very disjointed. But with practice and help you've been getting better with the walking motion.
By the end of this month your walking has become much more steady and sure. When you had your 1 year photos with Liz last week you walked the most steps in a row thus far! It was somewhere around 10 steps!! You're still not walking everywhere yet, but you're starting to default to walking instead of crawling. You seem determined to walk places and only fall to your knees when you get tired or lose your balance. This is still usually after only 6-10 steps, but you keep getting back up and trying again.
You now give repeated kisses and sometimes with your mouth closed (7/10). The repeated kisses happened after I was gone for 4 hours having a root canal (major ouch) and got back to you clamoring to be held by me. You were so excited to see me! It was very cute. You also started giving Daddy (and sometimes other people) kisses this month (7/16). Your "closed mouth" kisses were pretty short-lived and you're back to the open mouth ones. You also will give kisses without me pointing to my mouth. All I have to do is say "kisses" and you lean in (or sometimes dive) to kiss me. Sometimes you kiss me when I just use the word "kiss" in a sentence. Haha. Oh! and you've now added a "muah" sound when you give kisses (just like the one that usually make when I give you kisses). You are incredibly cute, little one.
You are a pro at going up the stairs now, baby girl. Mommy and Daddy have messed with this "fun" a bit by added a gate at the bottom of the stairs. We still let you climb when we can follow you, but neither of us wants you to get hurt trying to get back down the stairs (or getting upstairs and into things that can harm you). You're still pretty unsure about going down the stairs, but successfully backed down them at least once this month (7/12). I'm sure you'll figure them out in due time. ;)
You have mastered climbing off the couch. You easily push yourself off and onto the floor and don't fall or have any issues getting down. You have also tried this with Mommy and Daddy's bed. It's much higher so you are more careful and uncertain when you do it, but you've pushed yourself off onto the floor a couple times successfully. This is something you Mom isn't thrilled about -- but doesn't surprise me considering how independent you tend to be. At least you're no longer diving off the bed head-first. You've figured out that going feet first is much better! :)
Another first is jumping on your bed! (7/15). Sometimes when you're waiting for us to come get you after you wake up you jump holding onto the side of your crib. The first times you did this we were surprised by how much noise you were making! We checked the video and there you were jumping over and over till you tired yourself out. Usually you're saying "MamamMamMaMa!" in a happy tone. Calling for me -- but not too upset that I haven't come yet. You make me smile so much, little girl.
When we were in VA visiting with Asher and Amanda (and others) you were very thrilled by attention from Steven's dog Chaucer. It started with him licking you/giving you kisses all over while you giggled and squealed. It was so cute! Then for the rest of the weekend you would squeal and giggle when Chaucer would head your direction. Most of the time we were on the couch and you would half-hide behind me like it was a game you were playing with him. I think you see Chaucer as the "tickle monster" because every time he licks or noses you it makes you giggle like you're being tickled. Your interactions with the dog (who is also around a year old) were incredibly cute. Momma tried to show Daddy via video chat, but hopefully you'll show him next weekend when we go back to Virginia for Amanda's birthday.
Speaking of the Virginia trip: You were soooooo good, baby girl. With the exception of one day when you wouldn't nap and one night when we had some trouble sleeping, you slept well, and napped well, and were generally in a very good mood! You were very friendly during this trip and warmed up to people you didn't know quickly -- even guys! It was fun watching you make friends with people. Oh! That reminds me! Tommy taught you to eat popcorn while we were at his house (8/2)! At first you were uncertain about putting it in your mouth, but after some coaxing you dove in and were eating kernel after kernel of popcorn. You also enjoyed watching Tommy play his Ukelele and got into the action and plucked a few strings yourself. When at Steven's house you let Asher watch you while Mommy did things sometimes and you walked all around the room holding onto Aaron's hand (and Will's too! I believe). You also used the lazyboy chair as a thing to "circle" and would walk around and around it -- minimally holding on and practicing your walking. You would pause from time to time to push on the chair to make it "rock" and would giggle at the movement. You rocked your 1 year photos, sweet baby girl... and Mommy's including some favorites at the end of this letter. You also did really well on the trip to and from VA. I'm glad we've figured out car trips -- at least short ones. ;)
A couple weeks ago you learned to throw (7/23). We haven't practiced much since then, but you threw toys back and forth with Daddy. You're not really able to catch yet, but the throwing you're pretty good at. We'll have to practice more with your Daddy soon.
You are very close to cutting 2 more teeth, baby girl, but still have only 6. In fact, you're so close, that your 7th tooth may show sometime today! You have also been working on your molars this month. They're progressing slowly, but your gums in that area on the bottom have been swollen off and on all month. So, basically, you've been teething all month. You've handled it pretty well, though at night you do have a tough time sometimes. We're hoping your teeth will cut soon and give you some relief from the tooth pain! At least for a little while!
You are still eating lots of purees that your momma makes for you, but you are also eating cut up fruits and avocado, baby girl! You're actually doing really well with chunkier solids and we will start transitioning you to more of these foods in the coming month. It's exciting to give you more "big people foods." You are learning to eat from your snack-cup. In fact you learned how to get sweet potato puffs out of the cup on your own while Mommy was driving to Virginia last Thursday. I gave you the cup and you first tried to shake them out and then dump them out holding one corner open and then you figured out that you could put your hand in the cup and pull out what you wanted. You also put the cup in my hand when I reached back to add more to it for you. You're so smart little one. I love watching you problem solve!
You are slimming down as you move around more and it's definitely bittersweet to see you losing your baby chubs. You are back to fitting into 12 month clothes and even some 9 month old onsies. ;) I love your little face... you're losing some of your baby-look and looking more and more like a little girl. It's adorable and heart-wrenching at the same time! Such mixed emotions your Momma has this month, little one! I love feeling it all... the happy stuff... the sad moments where I know I'll miss you being small... the joyful discoveries and changes... and leaving some of your baby-habits behind. It's all beautiful in its own way.
Well, I'm not sure what else there is to say, my sweet girl... but at the same time I feel like there are so many more things I could write about. You are forever, indelibly, fully, imprinted in my heart. I'm so thankful for you and everything that comes with you -- even the hard stuff. You have helped me stretch, grow, become a better person during this last year. I've made mistakes that's for sure and I'll make more in the future, but I love this life we live together, the three of us. Words can't express how much I love our little family. Your Dad and I are both looking forward to all the next year will bring and we both are excited and a little sad to see you getting so big and growing so much!
I love you so much, baby girl. You are my sunshine. You are the light in my day. You are beautiful and amazing and oh-so-special and unique. I'm so excited to celebrate you today and can't wait to celebrate so many more birthdays in the future.
I love you always and forever.
A quick sample of your 1 Year Photos taken by the lovely and incredible Liz Cook Of Sincerely Liz Inc (there will be more of these photos to come!):
P.s. The tulle skirt & the large flower headband were both custom-made for Skylar by the wonderful and creative Carolyn of Two Sparrows Headbands. I love her work. She has items for baby girls, boys and even for adults!