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 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 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 Two

Dear Lucy,
As I write this you are currently swinging to the sounds of a babbling brook, which is the only thing that seems to soothe you today. So all the advice about letting babies nap in a swing is thrown out the window because you NEED to get a nap.

At two months old, your personality is really coming through. Stretching remains your absolute favorite thing, and interrupting your post-nap stretching routine leads to some pretty serious brow furrowing. Your favorite place? The changing pad. Don’t know what it is about that spot, but you love it.

This week we bought you a play mat with a kick piano, and even though hearing those same four tunes is driving me a bit mad, I can’t resist letting you play on it because it makes you so happy. The past couple weeks you’ve really been discovering the world around you, and it feels like you’re becoming a tiny person now.

Every day when Dad gets home you guys have a little dance party in your crib (you’re very into Odesza right now), and it just about breaks my heart every time. You smile freely and often, and those smiles really light up this house. Usually you smile when you first wake up, or when we make funny noises for you. Or right before you spit up… You are also pretty chatty – Dad and I must sound really weird repeating your noises back to you, but we do it anyway.

Lately you seem to get frustrated that you aren’t more independent and mobile, you seem to want to walk and crawl and be off on your own, but I will keep you close for a while longer.

Last night Dad and I talked about traveling the world with you and showing you things none of us have seen. It’s hard not to look forward to when you’re older, but I know I will miss these early days, even though they have been hard. It’s very strange to be with someone all day who is changing so quickly, when as an adult I feel as though I never change.

I can’t wait to see what the next months brings – fingers crossed for more sleep.

Love, Mom

Dear Lucy – Month One

Dear Sweet Lucy,
Today, you are one month old. And it’s been a hard, strange, wonderful month.

I knew I would love you, but I was not prepared for the tightening in my chest when I look at you, or the heartbreak when you clutch my finger. Loving you is overwhelming and difficult, and also comes so easily.

You love a good stretch, and will often spend 5 minutes groaning and stretching when you wake up or finish nursing. Speaking of waking up, you seem to fight it sometimes and whine (“Five more minutes, Mom”). You also make the greatest faces, and I’ve been trying to get photos of them all before you outgrow them. Your sweet, gassy smile is my favorite, and I can’t wait until you smile at us because you mean it.

For the first week we brought you home, you made this adorable snorting sound when you were hungry. Sadly you stopped and I already miss it.

You grunt in your sleep, and you can’t decide whether you love or hate to be swaddled. The dogs still don’t know what to do with you: Ridley just wants to play, and Midas is quietly cautious. You love the swing and the bouncer – but only for 30 minutes, max. You only weigh 7.5 pounds, but I’m so proud of your weight gain since we left the hospital.

Sleeping is still unpredictable – some days you nap well and sleep well at night, others you won’t go down all day and fuss after every night feeding. In short, you’re a newborn baby.

I can’t believe it’s already been one month with you. Time seems to be flying by and while I’m excited for you to continue to grow and develop, I also wish I could hold on to each day with you and keep you just as you are. I’ve spent hours trying to memorize your tiny hands and feet, and I’m gripped with fear that I’ll forget the details of these early days with you.

You’re the best thing we’ve ever done, baby girl.

Baby Bradshaw – Week 37

I’m a day late on this, having hit 38 weeks this morning, but that’s OK.

Exciting news! My OB told me that Baby Girl is very low and could come any day!

Or…it could be weeks.

So, the news isn’t really that exciting, honestly.

I’ve been feeling pretty good. 90% of the time I’m fine, the other 10% I’m begging Chris for a time machine so we can fast forward to when baby is here and I’m not pregnant anymore.

My hands are still swollen, and it’s worst at night. Sometimes I can barely close my hand enough to turn a doorknob, and they often go numb. It’s uncomfortable, but at least there is an end in sight.

Last weekend we completed a massive shopping trip at Babies R Us to get ‘everything else’ – although I’m sure there are things we’ve forgotten, or will need more of, or didn’t realize we needed. The nursery is almost finished and it’s mostly down to hanging decor on the walls.

Overall, I’m feeling pretty ready for baby to be here. I know it will be incredibly hard, but at this point I feel like I have done everything I can to prepare and we’ll just have to wing it on the rest.

Things I’m looking forward to after pregnancy

Even though I haven’t been one of those ‘earth mama’ type pregnant women who gains this cosmic perspective on life or whatever, I do have to say that pregnancy has helped me appreciate the life and body I had before getting pregnant. I am so grateful to have been able to carry this baby, but it has been HARD (even though I had an easy pregnancy). Being pregnant has made me realize the beauty in a lot of small acts and freedoms that I absolutely took for granted prior. And I can’t wait to get back to them.

1. Laying on my stomach and flat on my back
2. Curling my knees up to my chest (this is my preferred sitting position)
3. HOT baths
4. An ice cold glass of white wine
5. All the sushi
6. Pants that zip
7. Running
8. Rolling over in bed
9. Wearing my wedding ring
10. Having more clothing options
11. Being able to stop worrying about protecting my belly from the dogs.
12. Easily shaving my legs.

It really is the simple things…no?