Today you are one year old. I’m so excited for you. I keep thinking of all the things we’ve done so far and it has only been one year. There is so much more that we will do together in the future, I think today is a day for looking back. All day today, I couldn’t stop thinking about a year ago, waiting for you to be born. I sat in the waiting room of the hospital all day, with Grandma and Grandpa, just waiting for someone to come out and tell us if you were finally here. (And, since you were 9 days overdue, it was plenty of waiting!)
Finally, finally, finally, your dad came out and said, “it’s a girl!” and he was crying and Grandma started crying and I thought he was kidding.
I thought you were going to be a boy. I was sure of it. But, now, I am so glad I was wrong. You’re so fun and sweet and special and I can’t wait until, I can french braid your hair and let you put makeup on before your mom says it’s okay, and take you shopping (which we’ve already done!).
When I saw you for the first time I thought, “she’s so little” and everyone said I was crazy, because you were 9 pounds and supposedly huge. Yes, for a baby, I suppose you were huge, but in the grand scheme of things, you were so very small. And you blinked at me when I was looking at you and I winked back at you and I knew that from that moment, we were friends.
Then, finally, after what seemed like ages, I got to hold you.
That’s our very first picture together.
For your very first week of life, I saw you every single day. I came to the hospital several times each day, until they let you go home and then I came to your house and visited. I’d just hold you and look at you and think of all the fun we were about to have.
You probably don’t know this, but before you were born, I wrote you a letter. I was waiting for your arrival and just wanted to let you know how I was feeling, on the verge of becoming an auntie again.
I’m copying it and reprinting it here:
Dear Little Tadpole,
I’ve been waiting a very long time for this. Well, I guess not THAT long, but I found out that you were coming on July 24th, 2009. Today is March 17th, 2010. That is 237 days that I’ve known about you and have been waiting for your arrival. It is St. Patrick’s Day today, which isn’t really a holiday, but Grandma Kaye makes an awesome corned beef and cabbage dinner every year that you’ll grow to love, even if your daddy doesn’t. Plus, someday, when you’re in college, you’ll really love this holiday. (more on that later….)
But the real reason I am writing to you now is that you are almost here. You aren’t even born yet, as I write this and I don’t even know if you are a boy or a girl, or what your name will be. That’s why we have this Tadpole thing, probably, by the time you read this, I’ll have stopped calling you that, but for almost a year while you were in your mommy’s tummy I called you that all the time.
It is funny, from the perspective of an auntie, how much I can already love you, before you’re even here. I imagine what you’re going to look like and how you’ll act and I’m so excited for all the things we will get to do together. When you’re bigger, you’ll come and stay at my house and we’ll have sleepovers. I’ll teach you how to make popcorn and we’ll watch movies and stay up late and sing along with the songs in all the Disney movies. You’ll soon come to realize that I’m the one to come to when you can’t remember the words. I know them all.
I’m going to take you shopping (yes, even if you’re a boy) and I won’t ever run out of patience if you want to stand and look at something for half an hour. I’ll buy you completely impractical things that your mother will never allow. Then, when we stand in the checkout lane at the store and you want some of that candy that you aren’t allowed to have, I’ll buy it for you, but I won’t let you eat it until after dinner. I know that sounds lame, but I have to have SOME rules or your mommy would stop letting you come visit me.
When you get to be able to walk and talk, we’ll go do fun things like go to the zoo and the park and water parks in the summer and things like that, but really, that won’t be why you want to come visit me. You’ll get to do fun stuff like that with your grandparents and with your mommy and daddy, too. You’ll want to come and stay with Auntie Livi because I’m just as silly as you are. I never mind sitting on the floor and playing imagination games until we run out of ideas. I’m as rough and tumble as you are and will beat you in a tickle fight every single time. I’ll teach you to pillow fight and stick up for yourself. I won’t ever let you win unless you earn it. I’ll probably pick on you a lot, but that’s just because it’s fun and it makes you tougher and, unlike me, you don’t have an older sibling to show you the ropes. I’m going to teach you how to play cards and games and we’ll do that all the time. I’ll take your side when you want to get a pet and your dad says no, that you’re not ready. I’m telling you right now, your mom might seem like the tough one, but she’s a softie for animals, so start with her. And if she says no, you’ll come to me and I’ll tell you about all the pets we had when we were kids and you’ll remind her and she’ll give in once she starts remembering all the animals she loved.
Someday you’ll think it’s cool that I have all these goofy nicknames for you, like when I call you dude or short-stuff or peanut butter or even, occasionally, Tadpole. You will learn to love that I sing songs, all the time. You’ll be glad that I know all the stories and rhymes and kids games that are cool and I’ll even teach you some from when I was a kid. You’ll like the fact that I know all the characters from the shows and movies and books you like. You won’t even mind that I give you dorky books as presents. I promise, you are going to LOVE to read. Probably, by the time you read this, you’ll even understand why Uncle Zack calls me Aunt Pam every time I give you a book at Christmas. But, I promise that when you’re old enough, you’ll appreciate that, too.
When you get bigger, you’ll come and visit me at work, because I work at a library and kids always think that’s cool. You’ll be excited that I let you go behind the big desk and take you into the back to see the machine that sorts all the books. I’m guessing, or maybe hoping, that you’ll still find the library cool when you’re a teenager. I know for sure you’ll be glad when it comes time to write your first paper with citations and your mom and dad both tell you to call me for help. Believe me, it isn’t that they’re not capable, it is just that I’m the one who helped both of them and they know I’m really good at it, so they’ll pass the buck, and secretly neither one of us is going to mind. When you do call, I’ll probably come over and help you finish that paper and I’ll probably stop and pick up ice cream for dessert, just because I’m cool like that.
There are so many things that we’re going to do, you’re going to be surprised at how much you love hanging out with me. I’m not kidding you, Tadpole, our family is a lot of fun and very loving to be around, but you and I will always have a special relationship. You might not know this, but I’m your mommy’s favorite sister and I always have been. Your dad and I get along great, too, mostly because we both really like beer, but that’s a conversation for when you’re much, much older. But they are pretty cool people, your parents. They might be just “mom and dad” to you, but they weren’t always. Once upon a time, they were just regular people and not parents at all and I knew them even way back then. When you get to be about college age, I’ll tell you some stories that will likely cause your mom to have a fit if she knew I was telling you, but that’s what aunts do.
We share the secrets, and tell the stories, and are all about having fun. I can’t promise to spoil you rotten, that’s what Grandmas are for, but I can promise that I will always love you as much as I love you right now, or even more. Your mom is only days away from having you and every time the phone rings, my heart starts beating just a little bit faster because I think it is going to be “the call”. The call that will change everything and bring you into our lives. I know there are a whole lot of people that are waiting to meet you, but just between you and me, I don’t know if anyone is as excited as I am. Hurry up and get here so we can start our adventures.
And happy early birthday!
I love you bunches little Tadpole. But you know that. If you’re reading this, there is no doubt that you already know how very much your Auntie Livi loves you.
See you soon,
It was sure smart of me to put the dates and things in there so we’d always know when I wrote that to you. I think it is amazing that on that St. Patrick’s day, that’s what I was doing. Then, a mere year later, we all celebrated your very first St. Patrick’s day.
And look how big you are. So cute in your green outfit I had bought for you about 15 minutes before. Your mom had dressed you in purple that day and, while purple is an awesome color for you (for anyone, really) you needed to be in green to really celebrate.
You probably are wondering why your hand is on your head? Well, your dad taught you to say “d’oh” like Homer Simpson and now you do it every chance you get. Your mom is trying to make you smile and every time she does something silly you smile and smack your head and say “d’oh”. It’s pretty funny.
Your mom and dad just took you to the doctor for your one year checkup. Grandma and I thought it was pretty mean of them to make you get shots ON your birthday, but, it’s kind of cool to know how big you are.
On the day you were born, you weighed 9 lbs. 0 oz. Exactly perfectly, on the nose, nine pounds. You were 22″ long.
Today, exactly one year later, you weigh 20 lbs. 0 oz. I think it is pretty cool that you’re so precise. Not an ounce off in any direction. Today, you stand 28 1/2″ tall. That means you’ve gained 11 lbs. and grown 6.5 inches in your first year. Evidently, you’re only in the 30th percentile for height and weight, I think it is safe to assume that might be your pattern for the future. You don’t come from giants, Arionna.
The one bright spot is that your head measures an 18″ circumference…which is in the 70th percentile. You have a big head. What’s nice about that is it comes from the Moris side of your family. We’re big headed people, literally and figuratively. What’s less than nice is that, like me, you’ll always have trouble finding hats that fit you. This could be one of the very last times a hat is too big for you…
I hope you’ve enjoyed your first year. It seems like you have, but it is hard to tell, because you are always such a smiley, happy, laughing little girl. That’s your personality, you are easy going and fun, quick to laughter, with a ready smile. You make me happier just to be around you and, you’ll learn, I’m a pretty happy person.
I’m thrilled we’ve already knocked a few things off our list. You’ve slept over at my house, we’ve had adventures, we laugh, we play, I sing songs, and I call you by nicknames. Babycakes is the most common, but I also call you other little pet names, whatever I’m feeling when we’re together.
I know how much you love me, because you light up whenever I come into a room. Since you’ve started crawling and, nearly, walking, you cruise right toward me whenever you see me. And I know that you love your Auntie Livi, almost as much as I love you.
For my birthday, the first one of MY birthdays we’ve spent together, you rode with me in the car:
Where you gave me my first present, you said “Livi” for the very first time. Grandma had been helping you practice for weeks and it paid off. You said it to me on my actual birthday.
Then, at dinner, you gave me the gift you made me, a framed photo of the two of us in a special frame.
And, it made me so happy, I started to cry, right there in the restaurant. It was such a sweet and thoughtful gift and I will treasure it always.
Even though you’re getting so big and so independent, sometimes, when I look at you, I still see you like this:
Or like this:
Instead of the big girl you’ve become. Today, on your first birthday, you like like this:
And like this:
And I am just blown away at how pretty, how fun, and how special you are. You’ve got an amazing life ahead of you and I am so interested to see how it turns out. But, someday, I hope you’ll take a minute to look back and realize that, while you won’t remember any of it, your first year was something special.
Happy 1st birthday, Arionna.
I love you to bits and pieces.
Your favorite Auntie, Livi.