that was then
Oh boy. I can hardly think about this post without crying. Don't get me wrong, I haven't loved every.single.moment. of the first year of life (nursing, boo! sleepless nights, boo! fifteen diapers a day, boo!) but it just went so darn fast. Natalie, you are no less a surprise to me today than you were a year ago. I know that sounds unbelievable, but I promise I was shocked (shocked!) to hear we had a girl and I don't think many days have gone by since that I haven't marveled at the sheer luck of it all. I often wonder how it is that we are so blessed. I think all parents must come upon this realization with each subsequent child. It's as if a part of me never thought we could be lucky twice, and then we were and it caught me off guard.
Nat, you've been easy on me in all the ways I didn't expect and challenging in all the ways I couldn't imagine. Know what? I thought I knew who you would be. Silly me! I knew you'd have blonde curls, just like Wyatt. You, apparently, didn't get the memo. You are a constant reminder of "hey mom, you've got a lot to learn!" from your looks to your appetite to your sheer bravery and willingness to throw your body over any obstacle. You and Wyatt are so different...yet I think so similar, too. I guess that makes sense; you do share the same gene pool. But like I always say, gene pools are funny things.
At a year (oh where did it go?!), you are starting to talk. You definitely say "Wyatt" which comes out as "aye-yah", bananas are "nah-nah", hello is "eh-yo" with your hand to your ear, you have a form of "Millie" and I think you call Daddy "dada". In keeping with the precedent set by your older - and quite obviously idolized - brother, you show no signs of calling me mama, mommy, mother, madre, mamacita or any other loving form of Mom. I'm okay with it. Your smile tells me all I need to know. And those times when I'm not sure if it's me you're wanting, you always clarify by raising your hands high above and bouncing in attempts to get into my arms. Have I mentioned that you make me smile?
You and Wyatt are getting to be good buddies and I love it. (Geez, when I sit back and analyze all of this I wonder why we don't just have a whole herd of you kids! But then reality sets in around 5:15 every day and that's my friendly little message saying, "nope, two is good.") You're starting to figure out how to make him laugh - hint, it takes very little - and he is learning how to get you going. Your yells crack him up, which cracks you up, which makes him try harder, which just makes a whole ball of fun. You two can get loud! Most of the time it's music to my ears.
You love to feed Millie from the table and are so generous that often you'll feed yourself, then remove that bite from your mouth and hand-feed her instead. You get scolded for it, but you just look up and smile as if to say, "aw, Mom, ease up a bit. She likes it!" And I confess, that tactic often works. I know, I know, I'm setting a poor pattern for the teen years but you're right - you're pretty cute right now and I won't ever get these days back, now will I? You also have a stellar sorting system for food. You can be wolfing down a meal, but if something unappreciated appears on your tray, you'll pick it up and toss it overboard without so much as a second look. Somehow you do it so quickly that you never miss a beat putting the preferred food into your mouth. Voracious. That's what you are.
You've recently figured out how to scooch down the steps backward, on your tummy, into the family room. The first time you did it, I had my back turned and was fairly surprised to see you sidle up next to me. The next couple of times I had the joy of watching you work and work to get scooting the right direction. If this is any indication of how well you'll do in reverse while driving, I'm concerned. You often start about four feet from the steps and end up backing into walls, cabinets and rugs before your feet are aiming the right direction, but you have some tenacity and usually get yourself sorted out. It's really opened up your world to be able to do that for yourself. Wyatt's a little less excited since this means there's nowhere for us to "put you" if he wants you out of his stuff.
Your personality is exploding. You seem to be commentating everything you see and can quite easily get yourself laughing. We're not always sure what's so amusing, but you seem to know something we don't. Or maybe we're just raising another social laugher. You also seem to be sandbagging on the walking. We've been thinking that you're not close, but in the last two days you're pretty willing to take lurching steps if you think someone is there to get you I left town with my friends for less than 48 hours and you apparently took two steps while I was gone. Heartbreaker! Somehow I have a feeling that once you get going, you'll never look back.
Your favorite toys right now are old telephones, the letters off the fridge (you chuck them all over the kitchen with delight), a wrench from Wyatt's tool set, any small items you shouldn't be allowed to have, the drum set, the train table (for banging parts of the track around), the mega blocks wagon (again with the tossing them all over the room), and anything that's on the second shelf of the pantry door. You've laid claim to that space and no one's fighting you on it. You, actually, can play quite happily for long stretches in the pantry. Given no boundaries, you would also spend excessive amounts of time playing with the dishwasher but we really have to watch that since you always go for the knives.
You love it when I vacuum (clapping with glee) and Wyatt has bequeathed his old vacuum to you since he upgraded to his baby Dyson. So far you're not participating, but I have no doubt it will come. You love standing at the sliding door, pounding away, blowing raspberries on the glass, taking breaks only to pull up the rug. Books are high on your list and you lurch for them when you want to hear one. It bugs you, though, if I recite one from memory without the book for you to chew on. New skills are coming fast and furious which can only mean the years will continue to speed by. You are a delight and constant joy and we love you but please, please, slow it down a bit so I have more time to enjoy you.
this is now