This is the third draft of your 1-year love letter. I’ve given a half-hearted attempt several times, but nothing really came to mind. I was so very excited when 1/13, our lucky number, came around. I pushed you in your BOB that morning with an extra bounce in my step. I wanted to go through the streets of La Jolla yelling out, “Yeah! We did it! One year and this kid is thriving and happy. Please get my certificate of completion in the mail: Congratulations to Aimee and Avery for making it through your first year as mother and dauther. You rock! Oh, don’t forget to add ‘With Honors,’ because my baby is super cute, too!” And then came all the,
“She’s SO BIG!”
“You know you have a TODDLER now, right?” ”
“Wait, what? Toddler? Shush up NOW! No, really, no one asked your opinion. You see this blue-eye girl? She’s my BAY-BEE.”
It’s your party first birthday and your mom will cry if she wants to was pretty much how I felt. In my heart, I already knew it was true. Every morning you wake up noticeably more mature, more talkative, and more inquisitive about your world. Well, actually, you wake up in tears every morning; but, you feel much better after petting the “daw! daw!” However, after you are happily petting Patch, you seem more mature, talkative, and inquisitive. I was just happy to let that all be part of the baby stage. Since we decided on just celebrating with a day at the zoo, it didn’t really seem official anyway. No balloons, no pinata, no cake. It was just a day with mommy, daddy, auntie mandie, grandma, and grandpa. Fun, but not official.
Well, you know what is official? Doctor visits, that’s what. They write information down on permanent records. Like, how much you weigh and whether or not you know enough words. Then they tell you all about the new things you should be doing and warn you about how kids your age are accident prone. You even get a brief packet about toddlers to take home with you. You know, after your baby toddler stops crying from her vaccinations. Ugh, it was a tough day.
You’re sleeping now. You’ve graduated to your knees tucked under you with bottom up in the air pose. Meanwhile, I’ve been filtering through the hundreds of photos I still haven’t edited from your year as my baby girl. I better get on it, too; beacause, guess what? At two they are going to tell me you are a Pre-Schooler! So, sleep tight my toddler. We have a lot of adventures to get going on while you are still my little one.
As we were falling asleep last night, I searched for your hand. I had to reach around Patchy who was back in his usual spot, a big ball of labrahound right in-between us. I used to joke that he was like a chastity belt; there was no way we were going to make babies with him claiming his territory right in the middle of the bed each night. Unfortunately for Patch, we thwarted his plan to have our entire world revolve around him and had our baby girl almost one year ago. As Patch feared, everything changed.
In many ways, I feel like it’s our first year of marriage all over again. Except, instead of having your best friend living in the spare bedroom – who slept in on weekends, always took my side in any kind of debate (You are a smart one, Bret!), and made sure our fridge was stocked with an endless supply of gourmet mustard – we have our new little roommate. Oh, how that little person has changed everything. We’ve had so much new joy…so much new everything…and so little sleep! Such little sleep, in-fact, that I would highly suggest any couples planning on getting married and having children add the following to the traditional wedding vows: in full-nights of sleep and in nights, days, months – gees, maybe years, of hardly any sleep at all. So, with fingers interlaced and Patch lightly snoring in-between us, I asked you what you thought of our third year of marriage.
“Wonderful,” you said.
I kind of laughed. “Well, don’t you think it’s been a little hard this past year?”
No, you didn’t think so at all. Of course, you – the man one who loves scary-as-heck, off-piste ski slopes – would say a challenging year has been wonderful. For you, the fun and reward comes from overcoming uncharted territory, preferably with adrenaline pumping drops. Me, on the other hand, well, I’d much prefer to stick to ski runs called “Success.” I like being able to see ahead and take it easy. Falling is a rarity and you don’t have to work much on proper form (Use your edges!). Of course, these types of runs come with relatively little reward. I was most happy skiing when I finally realized that you were right (don’t expect me to say that twice); it’s much more fun when you stop clinging to the mountain and go downhill on a real mountain run.
Having Avery has steered us clear off the green runs. All the challenges, the sleepless nights, and the new roles have made marriage harder; but, they have also made us love harder. I’ll fully admit, it’s made life a new kind of wonderful (Okay, I said you were right twice!). So, babe, here’s to having an off-piste marriage. I’m sure we will fall time and time again, however, it’s been more fun along the way and the reward has been that much greater.
“Did Paul and Jacinta have their baby?” Seth asked me a few days ago.
“Uh, no. She can’t be more than half-way to her due-date, right?”
“Did you see his tweet? I’m confused.”
Paul: “Wow. 2 and a half hour nap? That’s a first ever. #workingmanwoes #parenthood # sleepdeprived.”
Tired and their screaming in the middle of the night sweet baby hasn’t even arrived. Yeah, I remember when I thought that pregnancy could be tough and I had a pretty “easy” pregnancy. Paul, this video is for you. Don’t watch it now, you won’t really get it. Watch it in like a year. Then send out a real tweet. Love you! ;)
Yes, yes, I realize that this video totally perpetuates the general stereotypes of traditional “daddy at work, mommy at home” roles. Still, super funny, right?
My favorite lines:
“When it comes to Candy Land, I’m stone-cold player.
“My PB&Js will set your world on fire, I could make you mac ‘n’ cheese blindfolded on a wire.”
Avery and I went to the park for the first time today. For some reason, I thought kids had to be 25 before it was safe for them to get on a swing. What can I say, I’m a little paranoid about any apparatus that could potentially, possibly, maybe lead to a bump or bruise. I tried to show Avery how to hold on with two hands, but she was all, “Moooooom, I’m in my sparkly star shirt and skinny jeans. You want me to undo all my cuteness by looking like I can’t handle the baby swing?” Ugh, fine. So I tucked her blanket in behind her to make it a more secure fit.
I won’t bother posting any photos from our first set in which a pushed her about 5 & 3/4 inches back. It looks like she’s just hanging there…because, okay, that’s really what she was doing.
Here’s a real swing. I think I could have had it in focus if I had not been paranoid that she might fall out. I was already that mom with her big ol’ camera. I didn’t’ want to be that mom whose kid fell on her had because I was too busy getting the perfect shot. What you also don’t see is a whining Patchy. When I said, “Walk!,” he had assumed that were were going to take him for a nice stroll along the shore. Instead, I took him to the park, tied him to a post of the swing set, and exposed him to really scary stuff – like kids riding around on their wheelies. Oh, the horror of the razor scooter!
So the rest are close-ups. I had turned Avery around so that the sun was behind her. It made for some great light. It also precluded her from watching all the other kids. As you can see, she wanted to see what was going on at the jungle gym.
Her two new new friends were over there playing, so we went to go check out the slide. I like to think that I don’t “drink the Kool-Aid” when it comes to certain mom things. I try to call parents in our music class by their real names instead of “Flynn’s mom” and keep the high-pitched voice to a minimum. However, today I may have been that mom who yells, “weeeeee!” as I held my little one on my lap down the slide. The toddler slide. The one where you go so slow that you have to scoot your body off of it at the end. Still, what an adventure! Everyone but Patch is looking forward to going back tomorrow!
I’m a SoCal girl who made good use of her passport growing up. Now I’ve settled in San Diego with my husband, new baby girl, Avery, and wonder pup, Patch. I’ve always wanted to be a storyteller, so I thought now would be the perfect time to employ myself as a writer and photographer. The pay stinks, but my boss is super awesome. And pretty.