Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Happy Birthday, Brooklyn!

Dear Brooklyn,

Happy first birthday, my sweet baby! You are one year old today! I write these words with disbelief because this year has passed by us so quickly. We have come so far, been through so much, and learned so many things together.

You are getting to be such a big girl! You can crawl so fast now, pull up to stand, and cruise along the furniture. You clap and wave and reach for what you want. If I leave a room, you follow me to the next room, and I love seeing the delight on your face when you find me!

You talk all of the time, you just don't say many words that we can understand yet. You make tons of different vowel and consonant sounds when you are babbling. Sometimes you and I have conversations that consist of saying "Mmmm!" back and forth to each other at different volumes and with varying inflections. Right now, your vocabulary consists of "Mama", "Dada", "Hi", "Hey", and "Bye". Yesterday, you said "Bye" for the first time and waved to your Daddy when he left for work.

During the past couple of weeks, you have really started to love story time. Sometimes you sit on the floor and look at all the pages in your books. You bring me your favorite books, sometimes two at a time! I pick you up and you lay back against me and we read your books. Tonight, you even turned the pages for me! When the story ends and I close the book, you take it and hand it back to me, and we read it again. The other day, we read one of your Baby Einstein books 15 times! You picked it out of a pile of other books each time, so I know it is special to you. Sometimes you "read" along with me, talking in your own language the entire time I'm reading to you. You are so smart, and I am so happy that you love your books now. It's yet another excuse for me to cuddle with you, and I will take all of those I can get!

You have a love for music. You dance, clap, and bounce when you hear music, even if it is just a song on a commercial. I can tell that you can feel rhythms and beats. You love all of your musical toys. Sometimes my CD's will calm you down if you get upset when we're riding in the car. You cheer and clap and raise your hands in the air with excitement when we watch American Idol. Lately, you have been "singing" along with your toys that play music. It's the cutest thing ever.

A few weeks ago, your doctors said that we could start slowly giving you some soft table foods. We have given you mashed potatoes, oatmeal, banana, yogurt, Gerber puffs, and little tiny bites of biscuit. You love it all. We put apples, oranges, tangelos, and peaches in your mesh feeder, and you devour all of the juice you can get out of the fruit. You are such a good eater so far! Once we can get you past the medical problems that make you choke so easily, and once you get more teeth, you will be able to eat so much more, and that will be so much fun. Since we started giving you food, there have only been two that you didn't like: peas and a chicken baby food mix. No picky babies here!

You are an extremely social baby! You love going anywhere that you can people-watch. Going anywhere with you is an adventure, whether it's to the grocery store or the zoo or dinner with friends. You smile and wave at everyone. Your gummy grin is the prettiest sight ever. I love watching you light up the faces of total strangers; they call you "charismatic", "friendly", "precious", "happy", and "sweet." If they only knew how true all of those words are! Not to mention all the people who stop us in public to say that you are "beautiful", "adorable", "pretty", and "gorgeous." Of course, your Daddy and I agree with those desciptions as well!

You look so different than you did when we first met you one year ago. Your hair has changed from downy baby fuzz to silky blonde big girl hair. It has grown long enough for me to give you a teeny little ponytail on top of your head. You are tiny and petite, but your arms and legs, which were so skinny at birth, now have an adorable layer of baby chubbiness covering them. You are so small for your age, but perfectly proportionate. You have the softest, squishiest, rosy-colored baby cheeks, which I could (and do!) kiss about a thousand times a day. Your blue eyes are the color of a clear, cloudless sky, with your daddy's lovely long lashes framing them. You have beautiful, milky white skin, and it is the smoothest texture my hands have ever touched. Your tiny lips are a perfect pink bow. You have two itty bitty white teeth that I can see when you laugh. When you were born, you were the most beautiful sight that I had ever beheld, and you have only become more beautiful with each passing day.

Brooklyn, you have not had the easiest first year. There have been many doctors, specialists, tests, procedures, a hospitalization, and a surgery. You have had to deal with lots of medications, that dreaded nebulizer, and plenty of shots. We have had feeding and weight gain problems all along, and we have had to feed you lots of different ways, adjust your caloric intake many times, and go for tons of weight checks. We have known about your reflux for a long time. It took many months to find out that laryngomalacia and your arytenoids were the cause of your breathing problems. We are still waiting to see whether you will have to have surgery to correct these problems. Through all of the worry and stress and fear we have endured as we have navigated this medical maze, you have been my little hero. You are so brave and strong and resilient. You amaze me, Baby Bear. You are so much tougher than anyone would ever imagine. Your bravery is greater than your delicate little body can contain. I want to be more like you...to be able to look at obstacles that are so big and scary and painful and just take them in stride. To adapt to hardships and gracefully move on like they are nothing. You are such an incredible little girl.

And there are so many things that words just can’t describe. Words never seem beautiful enough to say how my heart flutters when you smile at me. How my world becomes perfect when you lay your head on my shoulder, hold on to me and snuggle in to my chest. I can’t verbalize the beauty of your eyes or how wonderful it feels when those eyes find me and light up. There is not a word that can explain how delicious it was to hear you say "Mama" as your first word. Our language fails me when I try to describe the sweetness of your little voice when you babble and coo and laugh for me.

Brooklyn, you have changed me forever. In a way, this year has gone by so quickly. It is hard for me to comprehend that I have been your mommy for an entire year. Yet I can barely remember what my life was like before there was you. I know it wasn't this beautiful. It was never this meaningful. I have never loved this deeply or been so connected to another human being. I have never had to be so selfless. But now, it comes so naturally to put you before everything else. You are my heart, you are the air I breathe. You are everything.

Baby Bear, you are the greatest accomplishment I have could ever achieve on this earth. You are the best thing that has ever happened to me. You are the most incredible, special gift. I have wanted you forever, and now you are here with me and it is almost too wonderful to believe. I cannot thank God enough times for gracing my life with you. You are the best parts of your Daddy and I, yet you are so much your own little person. Thank you for being who you are. I am so, so proud to call you my daughter. Please don't grow up too fast. Please always make time to snuggle with mommy. Please always love me as much as I love you. I promise to be the best mommy I can for you. You deserve the best of everything in this world. I want to give it all to you.

I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you. You will always be my beautiful little Baby Bear. Happy birthday, my sweet one year old girl.


A year in 15 pictures....look how far we've come!

A few minutes old

Brand new baby girl

Just home from the hospital

1 month

2 months

3 months

4 months

5 months

6 months

7 months

8 months

9 months

10 months

11 months

And today.....ONE YEAR OLD!!!!!


MrsSpock said...

Happy Birthday!

Liz said...

Happy Birthday big girl!!!

Jennifer W. said...

I was waiting all day for this post!!! Happy Birthday Big Girl!!

Carrie27 said...

She has grown so much! Happy Birthday Brooklyn!

Hope said...

What a beautiful birthday girl! I can't believe she's one! I know it's been a bittersweet year, hasn't it? You have done an amazing job.

Happy Birthday Brooklyn!!

And Baby Makes Three said...

OK, you made me have tears at work this morning!!! What a beautiful post...something you will both look back on and cherish forever. Happy (Belated) Birthday Brooklyn!!!

From your friends far away---Sarah & Claire

Cibele said...

Happy birthday gorgeous girl. You are so precious

Beth said...

Gorgeous post. Your love for Brooklyn comes through so beautifully; you are a wonderful writer.

Happy 1st Birthday, Brooklyn! Hope you had a fabulous day! Can't wait to see the photos! :)

Rachel said...

Happy birthday! She is such a sweetie pie.

Emily G. said...

Happy Birthday Brooklyn!!! May God bless you with many more!

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