In less than a week, you’re going to be one year old. That fact is sinking in and solidifying and scaring me shitless. Because time? It’s definitely not on my side. I’ve always known that, but it’s never been more apparent than right now.
You do a million things that cement your place as Best Baby Ever in both my mind and your Dad’s mind. Since you were a couple of weeks old, you’ve had the habit of crossing your fingers, which makes us think you’re cognizant of all the little things that could go wrong but you’re hoping for the best. You cross your ankles whenever you’re sitting down, like a little gentleman. And you know a whole bunch of little and not-so-little bits of cuteness. Like the “up here/ align/ a kiss/approve” thing your new nanny, Ann, has taught you (high five/ET finger thing/fingertips together/thumbs up); the ubiquitous Filipino “close/open” bit with your hands; touching your knees and your head when you hear “my toes, my knees, my shoulders, my head”; dancing along to music; making small-talk with other babies and toddlers at the mall (especially little girls); calling out to me – “Mama…” – in your sleep; jumping enthusiastically on the bed every morning at 2 a.m.; reaching for everyone’s cell phone, and pushing all the buttons in an imitation of all the texting you’ve been seeing…
The list truly goes on and on.
One of my favorite Riley’s 1st Year stories?
Ann had just finished changing your diaper, and had left the powder by you, and when she looked back at you, there was a huge pile of white dust on and around you. Knowing that she hadn’t left her crack supply on the sofa, and also noting that the pile smelled conspicuously like organic tea tree and kaolin clay, she correctly summized that you had played with your powder. She called out to me, and when I went to the living room to inspect your cuteness, you were more cute than I imagined you’d be. And smart, too.
See, Ann had lifted you to the other side of the couch, where she was brushing powder off your clothes, and the second you saw me coming you rushed back over to the pile of powder and sat on it. I laughed when I saw what you were doing, and pretended to be upset. “Are you hiding something?” I asked as I lifted your legs to take a look.
You shifted your body, moved your legs, bent over in strange positions, all in an attempt to hide the pile of white underneath your butt. The whole time, you had the most angelic and serene look on your face, like butter couldn’t melt in your mouth. And even though you’re usually babbling a million “words” a minute, you were completely silent. Just staring at me, all wide-eyed and innocent.
I have to admit, for a second, I was duped into believing everything was normal, you were just so unbelievably adorable and distracting.
You’re growing so much. Every day, I get back from class and I swear you’ve shot up another centimeter. Thankfully, you always cover me in kisses when I come back home, so I know you’re as enthusiastic to have me around as I am to have you around.
You’re just so damn loving, it makes my heart hurt sometimes. Friends and family come over during crises and whenever you see them talking to Mommy and Daddy and getting upset, you go over to them and hug them and coo at them, softly and gently.
You’re smart. So so so so unbelievably smart. You make gestures at your diaper whenever it’s wet, and you switch the AV input on the TV when you want to watch your DVDs, and you feed yourself Cheerios and pasta – but only when no one’s looking because you prefer to be fed like the little prince that you are. You only get fussy when you’re sleepy, and right before you go to sleep, you switch the AV input on the TV, crawl over to your bottle (because you’re too tired to walk), and lay down on the sofa or the bed. When you’re really tired, you’re too impatient to go through that routine; instead, you like to be held close while you babble on and on and on. I usually prod you to continue speaking by saying things like “Yeah? What else?” I swear, sometimes it sounds like you’re telling me a story, and I’ll bet my left lung it’s a better story than I could ever tell.
You’ve become a little social butterfly. Whenever we have guests at the house, you can’t help but gravitate toward them and charm them with your coy smiles and peek-a-boo games. You cruise around the house, walking from table to chair to wall to TV stand, following one of our house guests until you sneak a peak at the cat and decide to chase him instead.
You’re so strong and so physically-ambitious that you shed baby fat before it’s had a chance to develop. Your pediatrician always marvels at the whollop she takes whenever she gives you an injection. Then she tells me to put more fat in your diet because even though you eat a lot for your age, you’re also walking/crawling/climbing/jumping/trying to do gymnastics a lot for your age, too.
I sprinkle a bit of olive oil onto your veggies, and sneak in a few extra calories into your fruit smoothies. I also hide some extra fat in your spaghetti and your hamburgers and pretty much all of your entrees. The fact that you even have entrees always makes me smile. Every day I cook whole menus for you – grilled mushrooms and asparagus for an appetizer, spaghetti and meatballs for an entree, cinnamon baked apples for dessert, and tropical fruit salad for your after-meal snack – and you gladly eat it all up. You love eating – so much so that sometimes you forget to chew!
Every day, you give me a million reasons to be thankful. You fulfill all of the warm and gooey cliches about love and motherhood and parenting. You are our perfect little boy, and I want you never to forget that.