Written Sept. 12, 2014
I like to write these posts right around the girls’ “birthday” each month, but I got bogged down by a very busy few weeks. I elected to wait a couple more weeks yet because Anna and Elise are changing and learning and doing so much; I wanted to have more to write about.
Confession time: I wrote that at least 2 weeks ago. I have been putting off writing this post for at least that long, if not longer. Why? Maybe I wasn’t ready to admit that my girls no longer are babies. Maybe I wasn’t convinced I could do their first year justice with a simple blog update. Maybe I just wasn’t ready to share all of this with the world; maybe I just wanted to crawl back into my mommy-and-her-girls cocoon, where it’s warm, safe, loving – free from staring eyes, prying questions and unwelcome advice, admonishments and oh-so-astute observations.
But, here we are. Anna and Elise are 13 months old as of Wednesday. Christopher and I couldn’t be more proud of or amazed by our darling little girls.
So, here are some notes as our girls moved from babyhood to toddlerhood.
Likes: Crawling, when it’s more efficient; walking; unpacking their toy boxes, throwing toys and knocking down blocks and other structures; pushing or sitting in their (indoor) wagon; playing with Mama and Daddy’s shoes; dancing; offering their Nuks as their greeting; eating finger foods; cuddling Dexter and, now, Mama and Daddy and, occasionally, each other.
Dislikes: Being taken away from their play space and/or toys, having their toys taken out of their hands, and (sometimes) going to sleep.
Weights: Elise was 16 pounds on Aug. 19, and 16 pounds, 10 ounces on Aug. 27, while Anna was 16 pounds, 8 ounces on Aug. 19, and 16 pounds, 14 ounces on Aug. 27.
In a year, Elise gained 11 pounds, 5 ounces, and Anna gained 11 pounds, 6 ounces. Both girls more than tripled her birth weight.
Lengths: Elise was 27.5 inches on Aug. 19 and 28 inches on Aug. 27, while Anna was 27 inches on Aug. 19 and 28 1/4 inches on Aug. 27.
In a year, Elise grew 9.5 inches, and Anna grew 9 inches.
Milestones: Both girls figured out how to stand unassisted (Anna around July 24, and Elise around July 26) and then, within about 2 to 3 weeks, took their first steps (Anna on Aug. 6, and Elise on Aug. 12). Because they are so mobile, they are getting bolder and trying to escape the cordoned-off living room.
They also learned how to give kisses, both prompted and unprompted, and learned how to wave “hello” and “bye-bye,” usually when prompted with a wave.
Anna and Elise started sleeping through the night with regularity at the end of July.
Fine motor skills: Clapping, throwing, pincer grasp, stacking rings, sorting blocks, playing peek-a-boo, turning pages, self-feeding, drinking from a cup.
Gross motor skills: Rolling, sitting up, crawling, pulling up to stand, standing unassisted, walking unassisted.
Eating: Breast milk, whole milk, plus a variety of finger foods.
Favorite foods: Scrambled eggs, pancakes, toast with butter and jam or peanut butter, black beans, carrots, cheese, pasta and meatballs with tomato sauce.
We dropped a couple of feedings (the middle-of-the-night feeding and the midday feeding) about six weeks ago, and we are down to just two—one in the morning upon waking and one in the evening before sleeping, or about 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
We also introduced whole milk, dropped formula and the bottle and pretty much dropped purees as a component of every meal. (We’re going through a finicky phase, so we’re using smoothies, purees and sauces to ensure the girls get the nutrition they need to grow big and strong.)
Sleeping: The girls are finally sleeping through the night—and have been for about a month now. One of them might squawk or truly wake up in the middle of the night, but she usually goes back to sleep on her own or with a little soothing.
They are still taking two naps a day—one at about 9 or 9:30 a.m. and one at about 2:30 p.m. The morning nap is usually 1.5-2 hours long, and the afternoon nap is usually 1-1.5 hours long.
Wearing: Some 6-9-month, but mostly 9- and 12-month clothing; pocket (cloth) diapers during the day and size 3 disposables at night.
Nicknames: Anna Banana, Anna Bear, Elisey Bean, Elisio, Peanut.
I wanted to write a tender, touching ode to my little darlings, but I just struggled to find the words. Christopher, on the other hand, penned this beautiful letter (with a few edits from me) to our daughters with ease and oodles of love.
Dear The Peanuts,
After one year of living, learning, and loving with you, we’d like to say thank you.
It’s such a simple message, but in this case, it needs explaining.
Sure, there’s gratitude for a good night’s sleep, for smooth meals, diaper changes and transitions to and from the car seat, for no longer cleaning up spit-up. That sort of thing.
But more so, it’s gratitude for a year unlike any other we’ve experienced, and the promise of so many more.
Thanks for showing us that we were wrong to think we’d be clueless as parents. Yes, we wanted you in our lives so badly. But we weren’t sure how we’d fare once you were actually here. Turns out, between you being such extraordinary kiddos and our learning curve not being as brutal as we thought, this is one happy-as-all-get-out family.
(And your mom, who many times said she didn’t know how to take care of babies before you came along? Holy smokes, you guys are like the Three Amigas. Every night when I come home for my break to put you to bed, everyone is so happy – as if you’re on vacation, and I’m finally able to catch up with the group. You’ve helped your mom become a rock star. She’s always been Bono. Now she’s Freddie Mercury, the unquestioned greatest performer of all time.)
We love laughing with you, so thank you for that. And it’s not just laughing at the silly things you do, like putting empty buckets on your head and then cruising around the living room blind. We’ve gotten much better at laughing at ourselves. And being willing to sort of throw our hands in say “Uh oh!” Or, in a less kid-friendly manner of speaking, “Live and let love.”
We both used to be wound much more tightly. I know that’s hard to believe. Thank you for helping us realize that something so simple – meeting Charlie Brown and Snoopy, walking around the county fair, whatever it might be – can be such an adventure.
On that note, thanks for letting us see the world through your eyes. We get to be kids again, sort of. It’s such a neat thing. When your eyes light up at the sight of something new, our hearts flutter. When you actually seem to listen while we read a book to you? Yeah, that’s awesome. As is watching you page through books on the floor – as long as you’re not tearing the pages.
Thanks for teaching us about whole new layers of love. I can’t tell you how exciting it is to see you in the morning. And, even when we need a break, how our hearts ache a little bit when we close the door to the nursery at night. We miss you very easily. We’ve been together so much this first year that we’d never be us anymore, if we didn’t have you. If we didn’t get to hear your giggles and wacky babbling, see your smiles, feel your hugs.
Thank you for teaching me to be honest. I’m never more “me” than when I’m with you and your mom. I sometimes find myself wishing I could be that true to myself and unfiltered at all times. But only you can bring that out of me. You make me feel so important, so unique, and so exactly what you want. There’s nothing quite like how I feel when I’m with my family.
So thank you for teaching us what family can be. Your mom and I have been a family for a while now, but we never knew how extraordinary every day could be until we got to see you grow and, in turn, grow ourselves.
And to think of all the years we’ll have to grow together. Thank you for setting the bar so high for everything we’ll experience together.
Oh, the places we will go. Always together. Always in love.
Happy (belated) first birthday, Anna and Elise! We love you to the moon and back!