22 June 2009

Turning one, my baby girl...

As warned, dear readers, I've been absent for a shamefully long period of time. But here in Northern Alberta it is our all-too-brief season of sunshine and warmth, and I cannot bring myself to spend precious sunshine-y hours inside when I could be outside, walking or gardening or playing with BabyA or just being. And so.

Yesterday was summer solstice, the year's longest day and my darling girl's 1st birthday. I can remember this weekend last year, the excitement and fear and pain and relief and joy of it all. After leaking amniotic fluid, waiting a day and a half, being induced and labouring for most of the evening, we had a C-section, and shortly after one in the morning, this beautiful vision appeared.

And yesterday, along with our fabulous families and friends, we celebrated her first birthday.
My heart nearly burst with pride as our girl was passed from one set of arms to the next, from grandma to auntie, to all these people who are helping us raise her. And when she started to get overwhelmed, she reached her arms out to her proud papa, something new-ish for her. As her at-home parent for the last year, I've been the go-to comforter, so it was really wonderful to see her seeking out her daddy for that role.

This last year has been... good lord, I'm not even sure how to describe it. When you have a baby, your world focuses down to this incredibly narrow field of view - you and baby, you and baby and daddy, you and baby and daddy and the house, etc. You know everything else is out there, but it doesn't really register. Your body heals and your hormones fluctuate and you adjust to the fact of a monumental shift in your sense of self. And more than anything, you begin to know this new person around whom your world revolves, their habits, what makes them happy or sad or frustrated or joyful. You watch a body unfold and a personality develop.

Our girl, my Baby A, how do I describe her at her first birthday?

She is a sweet, smiley baby, who will get so excited by nothing more than the joy of living that she scrunches up her entire face into a squinty-eyed grin, lifts her shoulders to her ears, and extends her clenched fists in a whole-body expression of pure joy. She has three teeth, two on the bottom and another on top, and a fourth that just cut through the gum yesterday. Dark blonde wisps of hair frame her face, curling around her ears and blowing wild in the slightest breeze.
She refuses to crawl, instead choosing to toddle around the house grasping the fingers of whatever adult will accommodate her, even marching up the stairs on determined feet. If we are sitting, she will grab our hands and walk as far away as our arms will allow, and then hoot loudly as if to say, "Hey, get up, can't you see I'm trying to walk here?" She pulls herself up on her crib bars, or the coffee table, but she is cautious when trying new objects, preferring to stick with the tried and true. She points imperiously at wall hangings or magnets, or at something on the table that I can only guess at (plate? cup? magazine? plant?).

She is moving away from my baby towards my toddler so quickly that it terrifies me. She grows and changes every week, day, hour, minute, second, so that I am afraid to blink for missing some milestone, precious smile, joyous hug. But I am also overjoyed at her progress, her joy in discovering new things. As always, the fear and pain and joy live altogether in my chest. This is, I think, the truest, most defining element of parenthood, the constant presence of all of these emotions.

Happiest of happy first birthdays, my darling girl. I love you more than you can ever know. MWAAAAHHHHH!!!!

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