To my sweet Madelyn (1 yr old)
Dear Madelyn Estelle,
You are now 1 year old!
Well technically you are now 13 months by the time I am writing this...which actually makes a big difference since so much has happened in your development. You turned 1 with no teeth, but now a short month later you have 4 teeth!!!! They are such cute little chompers, but I have to admit that I loved having you as a gummy baby for so long. You also were very tentative on your feet when you turned 1. But now you can actually stand by yourself! (although you'd still rather hold my hand).
You are such a snuggle bug! You give the best head hugs (imagine how lions hug) and you love to lean in when we hold you. It's the clearest Thank You and I Love You I have ever felt from a little baby. Isn't it amazing that so much can be communicated without words!?
And yet, you despise snuggling before bed. Maybe it's the anticipation of what you know is coming, but you squirm and arch your back, and there have been a few times when Daddy or I have almost dropped you because you move around so much. Again, you clearly communicate that you do not want to go to bed, but luckily you normally fall asleep quickly once we set you down for the night. You were a pretty terrible sleeper up until you were about 9 months old. Then we did some devoted sleep training and you have since mastered sleeping throughout the night.
I was blessed to be able to nurse you this whole first year of your life. It turned into some of my favorite bonding moments with you. Since you are the second child, I have to admit that there have been many moments when I have had my focus on your big sister, Grace. But when I get to feed you before bed or have a quiet moment with you while Grace is playing on her own, I love the special connection I get to share just with you. Through my nursing journey, I have learned a lot about myself. I have learned to be stronger and braver than I was before. So, thank you for letting me nurse you this year.
Now, back to your development. You are starting to say words and repeat sounds with more accuracy. You clearly say Dada, Mama, bye (and you wave your hand), woof (when we ask what a dog says), and bubbles (which is the topic of your favorite book). You love playing hide and seek with Grace, where she hides under a blanket and you pull it off of her. You giggle together and it makes my Mama heart fill up with joy.
Maddy, you are such a light to all those around you. Your Abuelo gushes at your smile, and Auntie Sarah swears you are the cutest baby in the world. Grace gets giddy to see you crawling into her room in the morning, and Daddy melts when you squeal to see him after he returns home from a long day of work. I cherish the way you put your head in the crook of my neck, and am so grateful to be your Mommy. I am so excited to see your continual growth throughout your life.
I love you, baby girl.
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Andrew and Maichael
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