Holy cow. We've made it. Well, we've made it to a year, that is. A year that has so changed me I hardly remember who I was before you. I remember thinking, dreaming, wondering who you would be. What you would look like, how your personality would emerge. I thought back on whether I was up to the task of being a Mother, YOUR Mother. Thinking back on that time, I can't believe how naive I was. How I thought I could plan it all out. I thought I was prepared.
Little did I know what I would get. I had no clue I would have a teeny, tiny ball of energy. A baby so full of life she couldn't handle this outside world without screaming often, and LOUDLY. But you know what? I wouldn't have it any other way. Because if it were any different, I wouldn't have you. You wouldn't have me.
This year has so changed me. I look back on those early days, and at the time, I kept trying to wish them away. The endless nights I would beg and plead and stare at you and ask you just to let me sleep for more than 2 hours at a time. You never listened. But you made me stronger. I'm so proud of you. You continue to blossom before our very eyes, and I know this is only the beginning. With this next year you'll learn so much, become more than we could have ever imagined. Talking, walking, temper tantruming and loving.... I'm so looking forward to it all (well...... no, just like I don't want to look back on those early difficult days with distain, I don't want to wish away any of this time because it's fleeting.... I now know and understand that more than ever before).
As for this month... you've changed. You've changed in ways I didn't see coming at all. You've learned to 'cheesy' smile. I'm shocked I don't have a picture of it. I told your Dad that I think your smile changed... at first he didn't see it, then I pointed it out. You smile really, really big, show off all your teeth (currently working on 9&10, maybe more, we can't get in there right now!) and your gums and wrinkle your nose. That's by far, my favorite part. If I were to put words to it, the only thing I can come up with is "CHEEEEEESSSEEE!!!" I love it. Melts my heart.
Speaking of melting my heart, you've also learned to hug this month. At the end of the day when I go to pick you up from Irma's, you wrap your right arm around my neck, put your head on my shoulder and give me a big squeeze. It's the best 10 seconds of my day, every day. You also have started hugging others, but that leads me to...
Separation anxiety. You've started to shy away from 'strangers' or those you haven't seen in awhile. Based on your personality, I never thought this day would come. You always would go to willing arms to hold you, which I very much appreciated. That being said, it's nice to know that you favor Mama & Daddy. Especially since we're currently weaning, the special hugs and lovin does show me that you can still be lovey without nursing. I didn't think it would happen since prior to this the only time you would sit still would be to nurse.
One. I still can't believe it. You're a string bean my bean... 18 lbs. 15 oz. and 29 inches long. I'm pretty sure you've inherited my long torso as you outgrow things in body length prior to filling out pants. An example? You can still fit into plenty of 3-6 month pants.... only as capris as opposed to pants. But that helps with crawling (so you don't scrape up your knees).
You still love to dance. You stand up and wiggle your little butt to almost any beat. You seem to enjoy beer commercial tunes to anything else (much to our displeasure, but we gave up trying to stop you... a dancing bean is far too cute regardless of what you're dancing to!) You stand, you push every moveable piece of furniture around the house you can, you will walk assisted but when there's nothing to hold on to, you drop down and crawl really, really fast. I know walking will come, you've got all the components, just not the actual skill down yet.
Have I mentioned that you enjoy anything that is NOT a toy? Anything. Boxes, kitchen utensils, anything that isn't intended to be for children you're all over. Your current favorite is water bottles. We've given up trying to take them away from you.
Baby girl, I'm so proud of you. Proud to call you my daughter, proud to be your Mama. It's been quite a year and I can't believe you are mine. I still can't believe this isn't just 'a sleep over' and that you're going to go back to your rightful owners. Thank you for making me who I am today. Thank you for changing my life in such a profound way I'm stumbling and bumbling and having difficulties writing this without a box of tissue near by. You are my one, my only Jenna-bean. My baby, despite now being labeled as a toddler. I love you, munchkin.
(which you're still not saying, by the way)