August 31, 2010
Dear Mary Kate,
Was it really just a year ago this morning that your big sister walked into the hospital room to find “the baby” out of mommy’s tummy in the form of you? Was it really just a year ago today that we brought you home to the beginnings of a remodel that would end up being a new bedroom for you and your sister?
Here we are, a whole year later—with a big grown up 1-year-old instead of a tiny baby girl.
You are as alike and yet as different from your big sister as possible. You look like two peas in a pod—sometimes we feel like we’re flashing back in time 21 months and seeing your sister at your age. Yet other times, perhaps more frequently, we laugh over how very opposite you are! Your looks are so similar, your personalities so different.
You were born two weeks early, ready to take on the world. (A phrase your grandma often used about your mother, yet you weren’t the firstborn in our family!) You’ve had a mind of your own from the beginning, keeping everyone hanging about when you were coming and then being born before your grandma was here to welcome you.
You’ve been the baby who thrived on some routines (bathtime) while showing great disdain to others (sleeping). You’ve decided that potty chairs aren’t for sitting or—perish the thought, going—on: they are for crawling off of! You’ve decided that shelves are made to pull books and shoes off of, that the newspaper box is meant to be emptied, that CD’s & DVD’s shouldn’t stay in their cases, and that the bathroom is for crawling in (especially around the toilet).
Every speck of anything that you find on the floor is instantly transferred to your mouth. You put toys—or your sippy cup—in your mouth and crawl around using your mouth as anyone walking would use their hand.
You are a contemplative girl who takes life rather seriously. Laughter is hard to come by, and you’re a tough audience for silliness. But if you’re in just the right mood, tickling that chubby tummy brings uncontrollable giggling.
You are the sweetest little hugger and snuggler ever. During your nighttime feedings your only breaks are to sit up and roll over to give Daddy loves and pat his face or snuggle his arm before you come back to the nummers. It’s possible you get by with more because you snuggle your way out of everything. It’s also possible your parents have realized how quickly you are growing up and don’t mind the middle-of-the-night snuggles or the all-over-the-floor messes quite as much because of it.
You tried cow’s milk for the first time on you birthday. You weren’t that impressed. You’re still the girl who wants a little “smackerel” at odd times, and a good filling meal at 2:30 a.m. with snuggles lasting until Mommy is about to fall asleep or until she wakes back up with a stiff neck. You’re the girl who, when you encountered a wall full of nursing undergarments at Motherhood Maternity, started smacking your lips and bouncing with excitement in anticipation of all the food hiding behind each one!
You are as early-to-bed as your sister is night owl. But that doesn’t mean you’re ready to get up and stay up at the crack of dawn. You usually wake up for nummers around 6 o’clock in the morning, but you can hardly stay awake to eat and usually sleep for several more hours after your first breakfast. And by 7 o’clock in the evening, it’s time to begin the bath and bed routine—even if you revive for a bit after your bath, you’re still ready for bed long before your sister quiets down to sleep.
You were half asleep for your birthday breakfast, but I made you oatmeal breakfast cake—a favorite of yours, as it contains carbohydrates that are chewable instead of just swallowable. Lunch was pizza—but for once, you weren’t that excited about the crust. And for the party that night, there were chocolate cup cakes with pink frosting (colored with beet juice, since you’re allergic to raspberries and shouldn’t have strawberries either!). You didn’t eat much of the cupcake, but you had fun holding it and smearing the frosting.
Your daddy and sister went shopping on your birthday, returning home with two balloons, both of which your sister claimed. One was shaped just like Piglet, your signature A.A. Milne animal. The other said Happy Birthday and was on a string, which meant your sister liked to keep it out of your reach!
You must be a pretty special little girl, considering all the nice presents you got! Two dollies—one snuggly, one with eyes that move! A camera that tells you to smile (your sister likes sharing this one). A noisy xylophone (thanks to Aunt Katie who has a long history of giving noisy toys) that your sister also likes to share. Fun books, a cute outfit, a warm cozy coat, and waterproof pads for your playpen (Mommy’s excited about these!). Plus all sorts of nice cards you’ve been “reading”. And a toothbrush and toothpaste from Daddy and Mommy because we’re practical and you need a new carseat.
You alternated between taking everything in wide-eyed and serious (which had nothing to do with the very late nap during which we called everyone and said, “don’t come to the party until we cal you to tell you the birthday girl is awake and rested!”) and bouncing up and down on and nearly off the couch shaking wrapping paper and tissue and tearing into one gift and then another.
In the end, you were a tired little 1-year-old by the end of Monday. But an oh-so-cute and oh-so-loved and oh-so-snuggly 1-year-old!
We love you, Mary-girl. We’re so very thankful to have had this first year with you. Happy Birthday!
Lots of Love,
(whom you obviously don’t take after at all)