Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Letter to one-year-old Walter

This was your first snow: November 9, 2011
Dear Walter,

Today I held you up to the window to watch the snow falling and you smiled, laughed, and pointed.  Even though it was only snowing very lightly, you could easily see it, and you knew it was something wonderful.  You are something wonderful, too.

You've been one year old for two weeks, now. You celebrated both your birthday and your Great Aunts Jan and Kim's wedding in Courtland, NY with your Swiftie relatives, including your second cousin and birthday buddy, Monica.  You had a quiet celebration at home on the 22nd with me and Daddy and a red velvet cupcake.  And we had a big party for you in the gym at church this past weekend.  We are a family that believes in extended birthday celebrations!

You watched the snow on Feb 10, 2012, too
In the midst of all this celebrating we have all been pretty sick.  That started the weekend before your birthday with a case of pink eye, followed by a stomach virus, followed by a cold, followed by an ear infection.  Me, Daddy, Umma and Baba all got versions of this, too.  Even with all this sickness, you have been having an amazing series of adventures.  To give you just one example: on our way to a meeting in Door County, we stopped to get some lunch for Daddy and you threw up in the van. We did the best we could with clean up and took you into the restaurant while we tried to decide what to do.  I set you down and you took off, running straight toward the big kids' play area, doing a happy little dance as you shimmied along. We decided to continue on to Door County, where you rampaged around the Maritime Museum like a baby pirate. You are so resilient. You keep learning, growing, and having wonderful time, even when you are sick.  You had your first airplane trips while you were sick and did beautifully, sleeping through most of both flights.  You are unstoppable!

Watching the snow today, Nov. 06, 2012
You are a very good communicator: you say "Hi!" and "Bye!", "Uh oh!" and "Row! Row!" You are working on your animal noises.  You are very good at sign language: you use your own versions of ASL signs for "all done," "more," "food," and "water/drink."  You used to use the sign for "milk" for when you want to nurse, but lately you have been snapping your fingers, instead!  You watched your Daddy snap his fingers to some music one day and immediately you started to snap, too.  That is amazing, Walter. And it's pretty funny when you snap your fingers at me when you're hungry.  You also invented your own sign for when you want to brush your teeth, brushing the tips of your fingers over your lips.  You use that sign very consistently and I'm very proud of you for coming up with it and teaching it to Daddy and me.  I'm also very proud of how much you love to brush your teeth.  I think I saw two new ones on their way in tonight--your official count these days is 9, including a one year molar that came in while we were traveling in New York. At your one year check up your stats were: head circumference: 19 in; height: 31 1/4 inches; weight: 25 lbs 10 oz. 95th percentile all around!

You love: hot dogs, Hank the Dog, Henry (your best friend from day care,) anything that plays music, music of all kinds, dancing (to the beat!) every time you hear music, and your favorite songs: "Row, Row, Row Your Boat," "The Itsy Bitsy Spider," "Patty Cake," and "African Skies" (ta-oomba-oomba-oomba-whoa-oh-oh.)  You love day care and your wonderful teachers who sing and dance with you. You love video chatting with your Grandma and Grandpa Albright and visits with your Umma and Baba.  You continue to love Baba Paul best of all the people in the world.  You love me and Daddy very much, too, and you give us wonderful hugs, kisses and snuggles.  Every once and awhile you will reach up and hold my hand, or Daddy's hand, while we walk together.  We love it when you do that.

Not sure about cake.
You are not a fan of fruit of any kind. You don't really seem to like cake or frosting, either, although today you delighted us by twisting apart an Oreo cookie and eating it just like your Daddy does.  You still cry a lot at bedtime, frustrated with all of the things that need to be done before we get to nursing and going to bed.  You love baby Advil (white grape flavor ... and you seem to know that it helps with ear and teething pain) but don't like other medicines very much, although you're getting used to nose drops for congestion.  You don't like being slowed down by being sick ... or by baby safety gates ... or by anything or anyone that might slow you down!

I've been writing this letter while watching election night coverage--they just announced that President Obama was reelected.  You are fast asleep, but earlier this evening you enjoyed dancing to the trumpet-heavy election theme music on the radio.  You won't remember this election, but I will remember how you liked to steal our "I voted" stickers.  I'd like to think that shows an early interest in citizenship and democracy.

Walter, I can't begin to tell you what this year has meant and means to me.  I'm not sure I know how to explain it to myself yet, either.  Here's what I know: I love you with my whole heart, my whole self.  I feel like I've known you and loved you much longer than this one year, longer even than the ten months before you were born. I think I have always loved you, my whole life long.  This love isn't based on how smart you are, how handsome, how strong, or how funny, although you are all of those things and more.  This love is yours just because you are. It's the human equivalent of the much greater love that God, your Mother in heaven, has for you. It's a love that is all yours, always, no matter what.  That is something you can know without a doubt: I love you, your Daddy loves you, you are loved by family and friends around the world, God loves you ... you are loved!

Walter, Walter, you are loved
By friends on earth and friends above
Love surrounds you every day
And when you sleep, in love you stay

Goodnight, sweet one-year-old. Here's to all the years of adventures ahead of you!

Love love love,
You're on your way!

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