Dear Lucy – One Year

I’m late on this letter because I didn’t know how to start it, or what to say. Even now, tears are stinging my eyes just thinking about you at one year old.

You are incredible. You’ve developed this great sense of humor, and you laugh when Dad and I are funny, or if you do something you think is funny. That’s right, you laugh at your own jokes.

You are very adept at telling us what you want – you point, reach and say ‘dat’. When I get you up in the morning, you always want to snuggle at least one stuffed animal. I’ve never seen a baby who loves her stuffed animals the way you do. Often, you need three or four in your arms, clutched to you. It’s sweet, and it melts my heart.

I’m so proud of what a good eater you’ve become! You LOVE chicken. In fact, you’ll eat pretty much any meat we put in front of you, if that’s what you’re in the mood for. Clementines are still you’re favorite fruit (Dad calls you his little cutie) and you love mangoes. Recently you decided you’d give bananas another shot, but only if you get to hold it.

And just like Dad, you love Italian food. (Just like me, you like your back rubbed and you love soft things.) You still sing and dance all the time – even the sound of whisking an egg is a good enough beat for you to dance to.

I wish I could write down all the sweet little things you do, just in case I forget them. Like the way you pull out your binky the second you see a bottle in the morning. Or the way you quack at ducks. How you pat my arm in the morning when I pick you up. Or when you’re shy and hide your face in my shoulder, then turn to give a little smile. You wave hi and bye bye (you say it, too), and you push our face away when you don’t want kisses.

Your sweet kisses! Lately they’ve become open mouthed, even for the dogs. You also gives hugs, now. I love it. Sometimes, especially lately, you just want Mom. It’s the best feeling in the world to see you reach for me, and lay your head down on my shoulder. It hurts in the best way, because I know you’ll grow up so fast.

You’re so curious. You want to understand how things work, what’s under here, what’s in that pocket. You like the hide things under blankets, pillows, the couch, anything. And then the surprise when you find it again!

In general, you love to be surprised. If you’re cranky in your high chair waiting for a meal, I will do the elevator trick behind the counter, then pop up. It never fails to make you smile and laugh.

But there are things you’re not so fond of…pants, for example. Having your diaper changed. When we don’t let you go face first down the stairs or off the couch. When I don’t let you play with the dog toys. Getting into your carseat (you seem fine once you’re buckled in). Having your face and hands wiped when you’re messy.

I could gush over every little thing you do. You are incredibly, and we are overwhelmed by how lucky we are to be your parents.

Dear Lucy – Month Eleven

I can’t believe you’re almost a year old. Even though we still call you Honey Badger, it is clear you do care quite a bit about Dad and I. You’ve become so attached, sometimes you get upset if I leave the room just for a moment. I won’t lie – I love it.

At your most recent pediatrician appointment, we were asked if you show us what you want. At the time, you weren’t, but you definitely show us what you DON’T want. You continue to be opinionated, just like mom.

Your favorite foods are yogurt, strawberries, and clementines. You love feeding yourself, but sometimes you just don’t feel like it and still want to be spoon fed. You’re adventurous with your tastes – I think people are surprised to find you’ll eat salmon, chicken, black beans, zucchini, almost anything. Dad is still somewhat heartbroken at your banana aversion, but maybe you’ll get over it.

You love to dance, play ‘where’s Lucy?’ (where you pop out from behind furniture, or under blankets), and walk along the furniture. You’re standing on your own now, but haven’t taken any steps yet. Soon, I think. Doors still hold your interest. You close the door to your room, swing it back and forth, and now you’ve discovered cabinets.

Your vocabulary hasn’t expanded much yet – dance, dogs, duck and recently, Jack. You also say ‘look’ but I don’t think you know what it means. In the morning when I get you from your crib, you love to snuggle a toy and give it kisses, and recently you’ve started petting things, as well.

Your hair has gotten thick! It’s still white blonde, and so soft. Your eyes are still blue, I think they’ll stay that way.

You love to play with your cousins, and they sure love you, too. Delilah and Boston are particularly smitten, and it’s adorable. They love to hand you toys and get you to say ‘dog’.

I’m so blown away by you. Dad and I both are. You are sweet and funny, determined, and so, so beautiful. We love every day with you, Lucybear.

Dear Lucy – Month Ten

You’re my little monkey! Climbing everywhere, with no regard for your own safety. Sometimes I wish you would just sit still, but I love how active and mobile you are now. You pull yourself up on everything, climb up stairs, and think you can walk. You’re now starting to let go of whatever you’re holding onto when standing or walking, but luckily you’ve learned to fall on your bum instead of forward.

Closing the door in your room has become a favorite activity, as well as chasing the pups. You’re fearless, and I love that about you.

Your favorite toys are the zebra sit and stand, books, and your toy with the animals that pop up. You love to put them away. You’re also quick to make a mess – you pull everything out of the bookshelf, the laundry basket, your carseat, my bag, anything.

This month you discovered plain yogurt – your favorite food so far. Meals are getting messier everyday because you only want to do it yourself.

You love to dance, and to shout ‘dance’ when you wiggle. Lately you stopped clapping, waving, and making clicking noises, but I’m hoping it’s just a phase and you’re distracted by standing and trying to walk. Whenever we come to get you from a nap or in the morning you’re standing in your crib, waiting for us. You sing, too. Tiny little noises and you tip your head back and forth while you do it.

You’re obsessed with door hinges. It’s weird.

We took you sledding for the first time up at the cabin. You seemed…neutral about it. You loved playing with your cousins (I think mainly you loved all the attention). You’ll stand on your own for a few seconds, but don’t seem in a rush to take solo steps just yet. I’m fine with that. I love watching you grow, but I’m OK with you staying my Baby Bear for a while longer.

Dear Lucy – Month Nine

I left you for the first time overnight for a work trip. It was only three nights, but more like four until I saw you since I got in so late. It was awful. You and Dad did fine, but I missed you guys so much. We FaceTimed every day, and I looked forward to it all day. You’d smile and squeal and wave to me.

Speaking of waving, it’s your favorite new trick. You wave when someone says ‘hi’ or ‘bye’, when you see the dogs, when anyone says the word ‘wave’…you’re smitten with this new skill. I’m working on teaching you to blow kisses, but you don’t seem as interested in that one.

You call for the dogs now, but it sounds like ‘duck’. And when my parents take you on walks and you see the ducks, those are ‘duck’, too. In short, things that move that aren’t people seem to be ducks.

The other day you learned to make clicking noises, and it’s predictably adorable. You picked that one up fast, you’re such a verbal kid.

As fast as you’re crawling, it seems you’re getting ready to leave that behind and start walking. When we’re holding you, you seemed convinced that if we just put you down you could run after the dogs, or climb the stairs. You climb all over everything these days, and sit back on your knees proudly. You’re just starting to take little steps holding onto us or the furniture, and I can’t wait to see how you react to the sit and stand toy we bought you for Christmas.

In fact, I can’t wait to see how you react to Christmas in general. The other night at the Bradshaw Christmas Party you met Santa and Mrs Claus, and you LOVED them. Especially Santa’s beard. You smiled and talked and we all just melted. You’re the happiest baby – people can’t get enough of you.

You love to read, and bounce in your big bouncer toy, and feed the dogs from your high chair. You don’t like us to feed you anymore, you want to eat like a big girl. Which is challenging, because you aren’t great at getting small things into your mouth, and we can’t give you big pieces of food…but we’ll get it figured out.

I can’t believe you’re growing up so fast! We are so proud of you, so grateful to be your parents, and so excited every day to see what you’ll do next.

Dear Lucy – Month Eight

Oh, Lucy Bear. My heart aches when I look at you – you’re becoming such a big girl!

You’ve progressed from ‘hey da’ to all sorts of noises, yays, tatatas and screeches. You love to fake cough. It’s hilarious. People don’t believe you do it until they hear it. When we feed you, your ‘mmm’s and ‘numnumnum’ chanting is unbearable. You are the cutest.

Dad and I just stare at you and say to each other how stunning you are. You take our breath away every day.

You love to whisper to some of your toys. You crawled once, but never since. It was to get to a dog toy. You love the remotes, and we joke that you spend half your time awake trying to get to them. You’ll dance a little when there is music on, and you still love when I sing to you. 

You learned to give kisses the other day (a day before you turned 8 months) and it was heartbreaking. I’d had a horrible day and you grabbed my face and planted the most tender little kiss on my lips. I shouted for Dad, and then you did it again. Somehow you knew I needed it. 

Dear Lucy – Month Seven

This month you got another round of vaccines, and you handled them like a champ! 20 seconds of crying and then you were fine. A little grumpy later in the day, but nothing too bad. You’re still tall and lean, just like your dad.

You’re sitting well, but you don’t seem to have any desire to learn how to get into a sitting position. Oh well. Still no teeth – where are they?! You spend most of your energy trying to crawl, and you get pretty frustrated when you can’t get where you want to go.

For a while you were very chatty – saying ‘hey dad’ (not really, obviously, but it sounded like that) but the past week or so you’ve been more quiet. We miss hearing your tiny voice.

The biggest change in your life is that Bopcha watches you now Monday through Thursday. You guys plays and go outside and when I come home you smell like her perfume. You guys both seem to be having a lot of fun together, and I’m so grateful we have this opportunity for you to spend time with your grandparents.

You cut your first tooth a week ago. You had been chewing on things a ton, and Sunday morning you were sucking in your bottom lip like you were hiding something. You hid it from Dad for a while, but he finally got a glimpse.

Aunt Amanda sent you a Stanley. When she and I were little we had an enormous stegosaurus plush that we called Stanley, and she saw one in a store and sent it to you all the way from Ireland. You love it.

Things You Love: Do-Re-Mi, when I make a sound like I’m clearing my throat, when someone ‘honks’ your nose, Midas (especially kisses from Midas), when I tickle your feet, mangoes, your new Stanley, bath time, when Daddy calls you ‘baby bear’, pulling my hair, emptying the book shelf

Things You Don’t Love: green beans, when we don’t feed you right when you want to be fed, sleeping anywhere but your crib, long car rides when you are alone in the back seat and it’s not nap time

Dear Lucy – Month Six

I can’t believe you’re half a year old! I don’t know that I’ve ever wanted time to speed up and slow down at the same time – but I do. Every new skill you learn is amazing to watch, but it’s also a constant reminder that you are constantly changing. When I look at you, you aren’t my tiny little baby anymore, and it’s crushing and wonderful in the same breath.

You continue to be frustrated with how dependent you are to move around, but you’re starting to get the hang of scooting on your tummy to turn in different directions. You grab your feet and knees a lot, but haven’t put them in your mouth yet. Which is great – because the dogs love to steal kisses there.

We gave you a first taste of banana, not enough to count as eating, just to get a taste and you loved it. Green beans were a different matter. I’m not sure why I decided that would be the first thing I actually tried to feed you, but it was a mistake. I’ve never seen you look so betrayed! Banana was much better received a few days later, but you just don’t love solids yet.

A couple weeks ago we bought your first high chair, and you love it. I think it makes a difference to be closer to eye level, you feel like you’re part of the action. You still need to be supported to sit up, but I’m hoping that will change in the next couple weeks. I think you’ll be a happier baby when you feel more independent.

Every night when I put you to bed, I rock you and sing you the same songs in the same order:
1. Edelweiss
2. I Will (The Beatles)
3. Yesterday (The Beatles)
4. In My Life (The Beatles)
5. Lullaby (Billy Joel)

If I get the timing of bed time right, you’re starting to fall asleep at the end of In My Life, and sound asleep by the end of Lullaby. Sometimes I’m tempted to stay in your room all night and hold you while you sleep, because I know the days of falling asleep in my arms are numbered. Even if you still do it at age three, I’m sure I’ll miss it when you’re 15 and too cool to let me tuck you in.

You ‘talk’ a lot – babbling for attention when you’re playing, and sometimes when you’re getting a bottle as well. Your eyes are still blue, and if they’re going to change it’ll be in the next few months. I hope they stay big and bright.

The other night, I was showing Dad photos of you I’d taken when he wasn’t there, and he clicked on the monitor screen and said ‘I miss her, let’s wake her up’. Does that give you an idea of how much you are loved?

You continue to be the happiest of babies, smiling and giggling at everyone, and we are so grateful for you.

Dear Lucy – Month Five

LucyBear, this may have been the hardest month yet. Not because of you, sweet girl, but because being a mom is really hard. It is always worth it, though.

You are everything to Dad and me. Every face you make is the best face, and we spend a lot of time describing to each other the funny things you do. For us, everything you do is nuanced, but to others I’m sure you just seem like a normal baby. That’s OK.

This month you fell in love with Midas. If he’s in the room, you don’t take your eyes off of him, and you love to giggle at him from your perch on the boppy. He wags his tail and play-growls in return. He sneaks in kisses whenever he can, but is still VERY cautious about your wild feet and arms.

You also love tummy time now! Thank goodness Dad was diligent with you through your whining – it has really paid off. You easily roll from your belly to your back, and occasionally the other way. We love to watch you try to sit up, you contract your whole body and grunt with this amazing look of determination on your face. Soon, baby girl, soon.

At your four month appointment, we found out you are in the 65% for height – no wonder you look so skinny! I think you’ll be built just like Dad, but you definitely have my eyes. Your mohawk is still in place, but your hair looks more ginger every day. You love to splash in the bath, and blow bubbles.

For a few days the only sound you made was a loud squawk, whether happy or sad, but you seem to have outgrown that quickly. Your favorite toy is your monkey, and you’ve started scratching at every surface to see if it makes the crunchy noise that the monkey’s tummy makes. It’s unbearably sweet.

You hate the phone – I feel so bad about that! But I can’t help snapping tons of pictures of you to make sure your grandparents can see you. I look at those photos when I’m at work, and they never fail to make me smile.

You started noticing kids this month, and it’s so fun to watch you meet other people. I took you to ‘Bring Your Kids to Work Day’ last week and everyone commented on what a smiley baby you are. You immediately took to JD, and it was so sweet to watch you with her. I love to see you getting to know the people in our life.

You’re still a champion sleeper, even though we’re dealing with you breaking out of the swaddle and trying to roll over. We have a few rough weeks ahead as we ditch the swaddle, but we’ll get through it.

Luckily, you still love my singing (you’re the only one!) and your favorite song to hear is “Edelweiss”. I’ve started to play music more often around you to see what you like and don’t like, but you seem to like it all.

We call you CrankyPants McGee a lot – but you are really a content baby. We know how lucky we are that you’re healthy and happy. You do make your feelings known, though, especially when you’re tired of doing something. We mainly hear from you when you want to be walked around, and I can tell that as soon as you start crawling and walking we’ll be chasing you nonstop. I can’t wait.

Dear Lucy – Month Four

We’ve seen more changes in you this last month than all three prior. You routinely roll from tummy to back, and you are working hard on back to tummy (though I don’t think that will happen for another couple months). Suddenly you don’t mind tummy time, which is great because you’ve got a little bald spot on the back of your head from all the sleeping you do.

Speaking of sleeping – you’re a champ! We haven’t yet hit the dreaded 4 month sleep regression..and I’m hoping we skip it. You take great naps during the day, and a couple weeks ago you started sleeping 7:30-4-6. You slept easily through 4th of July fireworks, and through the AC repairman setting off the smoke alarm right next to wear you were sleeping. I was so proud.

You continue to be the chattiest baby I’ve ever known, and you recently started yelling at the dogs and watching them. Ridley can’t wait until we let him play with you, and Midas is…starting to come around to the idea.

Somehow you went from a tiny baby to a little person and it’s really strange but also wonderful. You try to hold your bottles and tip them up so you can drink faster. You have this funny belly laugh that Grandma thinks is hilarious. Everyone who sees you comments on your big blue eyes and how happy you are. The other day we facetimed with pra bopcha and she couldn’t get over how intelligent you are and how talkative. We facetime with Bopcha and Dziadek every week, and they can’t wait to see you in a few weeks.

Everyday there is something new about you to love, Lucy Bear. We’re so lucky to have you.

Dear Lucy – Month Three

This month you went on your first trip to the cabin. It could have gone more smoothly, but you did really well napping and sleeping in the pack and play. Next time we’ll be able to go into Midway and walk around a bit, which I think you’ll enjoy more than being cooped up all day.

Every day we see more and more of your personality, and the things you like and don’t like. You went through a rough patch where you weren’t napping, but it seems like that’s over now. Dad and I know we are so lucky to have such a happy baby. You are content to sit in your swing or bouncer if we need to get something done, or even just be held and walked around the house.

Now that you are three months old, you are no longer a newborn, and we can take you out more. Unfortunately, the weather has been too hot to make that happen.

Two days before you turned 3 months I went back to work, and you hung out with Anne and Grandma. It seemed like you had a great time, and I’m glad you’re so adaptable. I hate leaving you every morning.

You love getting a bath, but you hate the time between the end of the bath and when you’re warm and dry again. You love when we make ghost noises, and sometimes when we tickle you. You recently started reaching for toys, grabbing them and bringing them to your face. You also try to roll over from your back to tummy, but can’t quite figure it out. You still hate tummy time. You really fight against the swaddle, but you still wake yourself up so you aren’t done quite yet with it. I’ve never known a baby as chatty as you are – I can’t wait until you start talking!

You still spend a good five minutes stretching every time we wake you up – I hope you never outgrow it. You have smiles for everyone, and are so close to laughing.

We love you, Lucy Bear, and can’t wait to see what happens next!