There's a big part of me that doesn't want to write Chou's 12-month letter, and it's not because I don't want her to grow up, or because I'm too emotional, it's because a) I feel like I can't give it the time it deserves because of i) we move in three weeks plus a day and ii) our computer needs a re-install after the printer possessed it and so now her First Birthday Letter is going to be sans pictures. And that, my friends, is the longest sentence I've ever written.
I'll do my best, in between house cleaners, plumbers, appraisers, painting, cleaning and purging, to give a snapshot of Chou at a year old.
She has four teeth, two top two bottom. She's a walker and a runner. She doesn't say many words we understand, but that doesn't mean she's not talking. The girl babbles incessantly with increasingly complicated sounds. She knows Mama and Dada and follows directions, such as "Go give this beer to Dada" or "Mama needs that wine to help her sleep. Don't touch." She knows "stop" and "no" but doesn't always obey. She dances on command and loves to push buttons on everything.
Chou is a people baby. She doesn't make strange and turns grown men into baby-talking puddles of goo in 30 seconds flat. She prefers paper scrunching and eating to most other toys, and likes to walk around holding some sort of article of clothing (preferably over her head). She waves hello and goodbye and flashes her big chicklet teeth to anyone who smiles at her.
She's a super eater - she loves fish and Indian food, hummus and avocado. Cheese is a hit, but cottage cheese is not. Banana has fallen out of favor, in light of the many other things she can eat. For the most part, she eats whatever we eat for dinner, and I couldn't be happier.
She's also a very hardy little critter. We've been lucky to have endured only two sniffles, one fever and croup, over the course of one year. After a month of daycare, I feel like I've won some sort of immune system lottery. Even my daycare provider can't believe she's made it this long without catching something. Touch wood.
My babe is also very observant. If we move one thing on or off the table or around in the room, it'll be the first thing she points at in the morning, saying "Ohhh". It's hilarious. A future inspector? Maybe. The beginning of obsessive compulsive? Also possible.
Most of all, I want to capture what fun Chou and I have in a day, but I think unless you are a parent, you just can't grasp the fill-up-the-room love and enjoyment that I feel in just spending time with my girl. We laugh, play, read, then re-read favorites, we tickle, we wrestle, we chase. I marvel at the wonder in her eyes at new things, people and animals. I'm forever surprised by her adaptability and pure enjoyment of new experiences and places. I think back to just one year ago, and the overwhelming sense of responsibility I had to this wee thing, and I think, "hey, we're not doing so bad." And, if I could look back at her new born pictures (stupid computer), I would look at that tiny, perfect bundle, and think, it is possible to love them even more each day.
We are so blessed.
Happy first birthday, Chou. You've got 17 more before I start charging you rent.
p.s. Signing Chou's birthday card "Mum and Dad" felt out of this world. I am officially my parents. Weird.