Friday, March 4, 2011

Happy Birthday Brenna!

Dear Brenna,

You are ONE YEAR OLD. Today is the day that we remember all the memories we've made over the last 365 days as a family of 3. In some ways I can't remember life without you. In other ways it seems like you were born last week. Daddy and I talk all the time about how much our lives have been enriched since you came in to them. You are a blessing to so many people - most of all me and Daddy.

The email I got from BabyCenter today said "Your Toddler". It's said "Your Baby" every week for the past 52 weeks. Now, all the sudden you're a toddler? I guess I knew it was true, but it's still hard to believe you aren't my little baby anymore. You're growing up, sweet girl. Luckily it's fun to watch you learn and grow, so we don't have much time to dwell on losing your baby stage. You'll always be my baby, anyway! You're definitely doing some toddler things - including standing up from sitting without pulling up, practically running, pushing big kitchen chairs around the kitchen, trying to climb things that you shouldn't, and playing games like peek-a-boo and "I'm going to get you" and "give me that paci". You just giggle and giggle and we LOVE it! You will try to hand us things all the time, and as soon as we reach for them you'll take your hand back and just laugh. It's my favorite sound, you know.

Your vocabulary is growing by leaps and bounds. You still consistently say mama, dada, ball, mag/dow for Maggie, all done, Melmo (or something similar) for Elmo, baby for any picture of a baby you see - even yourself!, no for nose, and Nana/Nanie for your grandmas. You call most round things "ball" and mimic other sounds when you're in a good mood. You've used the sign for "more" a few times, and we are working on getting the "all done" sign more consistent. I want to work with you more on signing in the months to come.

You LOVE to eat, and get a little grumpy when it's almost time for lunch or dinner. Breakfast is usually yogurt, oatmeal, or scrambled eggs. You mainly eat lunch meat, cheese, and fruit for lunch. Dinner is either part of whatever we're eating, Gerber ravioli which you adore, or pasta - usually with veggies and fruit, too. Oh, and about 3 weeks ago you started drinking whole milk for one feeding a day - and you love it! We tried formula for a couple days before, but you hated it and wanted nothing to do with it. Now you drink whole milk twice a day and we still nurse morning and night. I'll probably drop one of those this week and we'll be winding down our nursing relationship. I think you'll be okay with it because it seems like you're trying to wean yourself anyway. You're an expert at your sippy cup now, and you love to carry it around with you - whether it has watered down juice or milk in it. Sometimes you let the milk run down your mouth and don't swallow - which, I admit, is a little bit cute but it's more of a pain because spilled milk isn't too sweet! I can tell you've gained some weight from all this eating. I'm really interested to see your stats whe we go to the doctor next week. You still wear mostly 9 month clothes, but I've moved you up to 12 month in some things. Usually those are still baggy in the waist and a little long, but I don't think it will be much longer until they fit really well.

You got your fourth tooth today! You now have four bottom teeth and no top teeth! It's the best of both worlds - gummy smile on the top and toothy smile on the bottom. I don't think teething bothers you too much - but usually when I discover a new one I do realize that you woke up wanting your paci more than usual the night before. I wish I could take the pain away for you. You've definitely had a bout of separation anxiety recently - even crying several times when we left you at Miss Kate's in the mornings. It breaks my heart to leave you when you're crying, but I know you forget about it soon afterward. You're a bit more clingy when we're at home too, and we try to not pick you up every time you beg for it. But you're just so cute that you're hard to resist!

We got to do some more traveling this month. We enjoyed a trip to Bristol for a surprise birthday party for Nanie. We also enjoyed our trip to Hickory, NC for Daddy's job interview, followed with a trip to Pine Mountain to see friends and family that we don't see as much as we'd like to. There are exciting things on the verge of happening for our family, Brenna, and we're happy to be able to share them with you. Daddy and I are trying to make the best decisions for our family so we can give you the life we want you to have. Oh, and you're getting a cousin in September. Aunt Mal is pregnant and we can't wait to find out if it's a boy or a girl! Cousins are so fun!

I'm looking forward to your birthday party tomorrow, where we'll get to celebrate your first year with lots of friends and family. Many days on my way home from school my eyes just well up with tears when I'm thinking about you. Lots and lots of songs remind me of you, and I guess I'm missing you at that time of day after being gone to work for 9 hours. I've wanted to be a mommy for a long, long time. I couldn't wait to have a little baby to care for and love. But, it amazes me how much love I feel from you - not just for you. You have made my heart grow bigger than I ever thought possible, and my love for you and Daddy and our little family grows every day. I know there is not a baby on Earth that is more loved than you are. I look forward to watching you grow this year, and I plan to savor every minute that we have together. Happy Birthday, sweet girl. As I was reading through birthday cards trying to pick one out for you, I teared up reading the cards from moms to their adult daughters. It's hard to believe that one day you'll be the one writing a letter like this to your daughter - my granddaughter. Only then will you know what the love in my heart for you feels like.

I love you, toddler Sprout.
Love, Mommy


Whispers in the Hallway