Happy birthday, Nora! Thanks for making the last year of our lives so much fun.
A year ago, right about now, we were headed to the hospital. I remember thinking (between contractions) as we headed over the Tappan Zee Bridge, what a beautiful day. Unseasonably warm. Clear blue sky. Pretty Hudson River. And then, of course, I’d have another contraction and think — Ow, ow, ow.
You’re here now, and you’re the best thing that ever happened to us. They say it goes fast, and they’re right. For a nostalgic person like me, parenthood is just a trip. Because just a second ago, you were a newborn. We swaddled you like a little potato and bounced you to sleep on the exercise ball. We couldn’t get you to sleep in the bassinet so we took turns holding you all night. Your little smooshy face, pouty lips. (That’s when you became Shmooples to us. :)) When you sneezed, you’d get your whole body into it. We’d lay you on your back in the activity gym and you’d stare up at the whale, your eyes wide and unfocused. We carried you around in the baby bjorn to get you to fall asleep, you, bundled up in a little bear suit. And we’d walk down to the river and all around. We took long, long walks. Or, we put on some music (a lot of Amos Lee and Wilco) and danced around the family room. Then, you smiled for the first time. Then, you laughed. You rolled over. You started sleeping on your stomach, your butt straight up in the air. You liked to squeal and grunt a lot. We were sometimes worried you were going to swallow a bug because you’d grunt in the stroller, your mouth wide open. You went to the beach and the pool, chubby arms and legs flailing around in the water. You grew two bottom teeth. You tried rice cereal — you didn’t like it at first, so you’d shut your lips and close the shop. You sat up by yourself. You jumped around in the Jumparoo, laughing and squealing with frenetic energy. You started rocking on your hands and knees and then you crawled. You met two dogs (“gungs”) and became fascinated with them, and any creature that was not human was a “gung” or “da.” You pulled yourself to stand. You got two more teeth. And then two more teeth.
When you are happy, you are SO happy. You like to catch strangers’ attention and flash your teeth at them. You get wound up close to bedtime, laughing and kicking on the changing table. When you hear a musical note, whether it’s a jingle in a commercial or Daddy playing a plastic trumpet, you get the urge to boogie. You sometimes look very thoughtful, very serious. You have a lot to say, although we don’t always know yet what you mean. You’ll point to a pillow and say, “Ba ba,” over and over again. You’re sweet, affectionate, curious and very silly. Now, you’re learning to stand on your own. You keep trying and falling, trying and falling, without getting frustrated.
And it goes on and on and on! We’re so proud of you and we can’t wait to see what you do next.
We love you, Shmooples! Happy 1st birthday!