Today you are one year old. It’s hard to believe that a year ago today, you were just an itty bitty 8 pound baby, and now here you sit a solid 25. You can stand by yourself, you chat with me and daddy and grandma and pretty much everyone (or yourself, if nobody is around) and it’s very rare that you aren’t making some sort of noise while you’re awake. You just recently learned how to play peekaboo, after a week or so of my moving your hands for you, and now it has turned into a hilarious game of you smushing and slapping your own face to get a reaction out of us.
You love to make people laugh — you just really love people, and attention (and cake), and if you’ve realized something will make us smile, you’ll do it over and over again. When you realized that your newfound fake-laughing skills would get everyone in the room to look at you, you spent the entire night in fake-laughter, thrilled that we all chimed in every time you did it. I’m pretty sure you do things just to see if we will do them too — you often repeat actions until I copy you, and then you laugh, satisfied.
A lot of people think you’re pretty clever for just being a year old, and even though daddy and I like to tease that you’re pretty dumb, I think you are a very smart baby. You know how to high-five, wave goodbye, and do that thing little kids do when they’re pretending to be indians; you’ve figured out that the pocket doors slide open, and you know that the bathroom door doesn’t latch all the way. You know what “no” means, and often stand with your hand hovering right over the thing you know you’re not supposed to touch, alternately looking at me and grunting “uh!” and shaking your head as you pretend you might touch it (but you rarely do.) You immediately figure out which button to push to turn things on — from your toys to the phone to daddy’s back massager — and nothing is safe from your exploring little fingers now. You also know that I’m “mama”, and your daddy is “dada” and I think you might be catching on to grandma, too, because sometimes when I talk about her you repeat “ah-ma! ah-ma!”
Whenever there is music playing, you will dance for it, especially if it’s the theme song to your favorite cartoons. As soon as we play Sesame Street, Peg + Cat, or Curious George, the biggest grin comes over your face and you start to sway and shake your head. Or, if you’re standing, you bounce your knees up and down and shimmy your shoulders.
You’ve always been a happy boy, from the time you were born, and I’m so thankful for you. Even people who have never met you adore you; strangers in the store always stop to tell you how cute you are, eliciting a smile and a newly-shy reaction as your cheeks dimple and you reach to make sure I’m still right there. Many people grocery shopping have stopped me to say you made their day with your grins and waves. I won’t even hide that I’m pretty proud to have such a funny, cute, friendly boy.
Right now, your favorite toys aren’t actually toys — you are obsessed with your snack container lids, and have at least five of them stashed around the house. You’ll often crawl around with one in each hand, clacking them on the kitchen floor to make noise. You are also obsessed with binkies, and will sit for a solid five minutes switching from one to the other until you finally decide which pacifier suits you at the moment. And if there happens to be a ceiling fan anywhere in the house, you will sit and stare at it for hours, content to watch the rotating as it whirls above you. Sometimes, you shake your head while you watch, as if you are trying to spin, too. And you love noisemakers — the vacuum, the flushing of the toilet, the dishwasher. You always follow the vacuum around when it’s on.
You also really love bath time, and you always have. The bathroom is your favorite room in the house, because the bathroom means taking a bath. If anyone goes in there, you always try to follow them, and if you succeed you go straight for the tub, standing at its edge, vocalizing, pounding the side, and stretching up onto your toes to reach the bottles of shampoo, the cup we use to rinse your head, and the rubber ducky we distract you with. I am pretty sure you would live in the bathtub if we let you.
Most of all, though, you really love soft things — stuffed animals, pillows, blankets, rugs and carpet, and even balls of yarn — and if you are sleepy you will immediately find the first soft thing there is and faceplant on it. You rub your face in anything cozy, and you smile and kick your feet with contentment. I think it’s pretty cute. You also love to cuddle with me, and sometimes with daddy, especially when you’re tired. You’ve learned to give hugs, sometimes, but only to certain people. (me.)
I am so excited for you to be a big brother, because you love other babies, especially girls. You like to hold their hands and touch their faces, and occasionally pull their hair; you might be just like your daddy in that respect. He liked to bug little girls, and I think you will, too. Your little brother or sister is going to have such a good sibling to look up to and take care of him or her!
What else can I say about you, little boy? You’re growing up so fast, and it’s bittersweet. I miss the days when you were just a few days old, so new and fresh and cuddly, but I love seeing you grow up and learn new things. I can’t wait for you to talk, but I don’t want to let go of your babyhood just yet. I can see it slipping away already as you learn who people are, as you become more aware of your surroundings, clinging to my arms or my legs or putting you head on my chest when you’re unsure of people and new houses, reaching out for your grandmas (you love them both a lot!) as soon as you see them, laughing excitedly as you greet daddy when he comes through the door at the end of the day.
You are a joy, Asa Reuben. You always have been, and you always will be.
I will love you forever.
Back on the day you were born, and already stealing hearts.