Dear Owen: a letter at one year

dear_07

You are one! I can’t really believe that it’s been an entire year since we brought you home from the hospital, all tiny and squishy. Lately I’ve been remembering things like how scary it was to drive you around, how snuggly you were, how tough nursing was, and what it felt like to hold you for hours on end. Sheesh. That feels like ages ago.

owen-1And here you are now, this little boy. You could walk. You really could. You stand, you even take a few steps, but even when I’m holding out a cookie, you drop to your knees and excitedly crawl over. This past weekend, you did take four whole steps and didn’t conclude them by falling….so, we’re getting there.

While your legs may be a little unmotivated, your mouth certainly is not. You chatter all day long; you make eye contact is if to say Hey! I’m talking to you! You still say “bah!” for bus, “ck” for trucks and tractors (thanks to the road construction that has been happening along 28th Avenue). You say “na” and “yah” a lot, and often in situations where you could theoretically be saying no and yes. You say “dah” and “mama” all the time, and every single time, it makes me so happy. A couple weeks ago, I went in to pick you up from your nap, and as soon as you saw me, you stopped crying and said “mama.” I mean, is there anything more rewarding than that?

You say a very growly “boooooooooo” at all of the animals you see, especially cows and dogs. You love dogs. You crane your neck as we walk by them. When we visited Wisconsin this past month, you followed Coda around, petting her, letting her lick your face, and you were delighted. She was…well, tolerant. A week ago, we went to the Como Zoo, and you booooed at all of the animals we saw, and did your excited kicky legs at the polar bear eating giant carrots and when the giraffe sat down. And you still get excited every time you hear a bird, saying “birr” or ocassionally even “bir-ree.”  I love that you love animals.

You’ve also kind of turned into a snack-a-holic, as is evidenced by the fact that I’m pretty sure you said “cacka” the other day after I said the word “cracker.” You have mastered the signs for “more” and “eat/hungry,” and will make the hungry sign if you even hear a crinkly plastic bag open. You are a true toddler and would eat graham crackers all day if we let you. It doesn’t even matter if you’ve eaten a very full lunch, the moment you see us eating something, you are crawling over, and literally pulling yourself up on our laps to get closer to the food action. It pleases me endlessly that you love food, but really, you’re kind of like a human vacuum at this point.

You still love books. And we look through your 100 Words book a few times a day, where you happily point out the balls and trucks and dogs with an excited “bal” and “ckah!” and “booo!” At the end of every book, you signal for more. What amazes me is that you anticpate your favorite part in books – like when the zookeeper’s wife has crazy surprised eyes at the gorilla in her bed. You turn pages quickly to get to that point and then do this subtle little giggle grunt. Every time.

The weather’s finally gotten nice out, and we spend a lot of time at Hiawatha Park. You love to sit in the sand and sift it through your fingers, and you’re starting to get the hang of the slide. You crawl around our back yard like you own the place, and love the little slide set we got for you, as well as crawling through the muddy part on the side every chance you get.

In other news, you discovered the toilet recently, and despite my diligence, have happily splashed away in there twice.
Babies are disgusting.

This past month has been exciting for you. We started the month by watching 3-month-old Baby Ian. You were so excited to have a buddy around and endlessly intrigued by his bottle-drinking. You didn’t even play his head like a drum. It went surprisingly well.

We have spent an inordinate amount of time these past few weeks watching road construction. You could watch those diggers, excavators, and dump trucks for like 40 minutes straight, applauding as they roll by. We even set up a little stool for you at our front window, and you stand on it, looking so pleased with yourself, saying “ckah! ckah!” over and over again.

Then, you and I got on a plane to Chicago and spent several days with my family. You were a superstar on the airplane, and my plan of giving you straight-up undiluted juice during take-off and landing worked like a charm. You could have probably stayed in the airport forever; it was truly transportation heaven outside of those floor-to-ceiling windows.

In Wisconsin, we spent time at the beach, which you took to instantly, splashing in the ice-cold water and playing in the sand, watching every passing bird and boat. You got a couple of mower rides, some quality time in with Coda and Boone the dogs, and spent the rest of your time being played with by your aunts and uncle and cousins and grandma and grandpa. You did laps around the great expanse of your grandma and grandpa’s house, and happily tackled and snuggled with a bear that is four times your size. It was a really fun week, and I’m so glad we went.

It was also in Wisconsin that we celebrated the first of three birthday parties for you. Watching you eat cake was my favorite. So classic. Hesitant at first, then all in, double fisting and making happy cake noises. You even got in to opening presents, and seemed really excited, dancing alone with the music of the singing car by moving your booty up and down. Your dance moves are limited but passionate at this point.

Then we had a mega birthday party for you at our house, with Eric’s family and a bunch of our friends. We crammed 16 adults, 8 kids, and a newborn into our house (it was a little rainy that day), and had dinner plus cake. I made a ridiculous road cake for you, and really enjoyed decorating it with all of your favorite things (buses and trucks!). Your dad made a video for you that still makes me tear up, and the full sound of all those voices singing happy birthday to you was really significant to me.

You are so loved, Owen. You were (and are) so wanted. So many people prayed and are praying for you, for your path to be one of peace, for your life to be one of joy. There are so many people pulling for you, rooting for you.  I pray that you will always feel surrounded by that love. That you will never question where home is. That you will know beyond doubt that God has made you for Himself and longs to be your Father in the sincerest sense.

Owen, we love you immensely. And this past year has been one of the fullest of my life, in all the best ways. I am constantly thanking God for your zeal for life, for your energy, for your enjoyment of everything from animals to dandelions to food. You are a gift in every way.

Love,

Your Mom

Things you love: buses, trucks, road construction machinery, cement mixers, dogs, cows, birds, fish, sand, water, the beach, the slide, walking along furniture, cookies, graham crackers, puffs, goldfish, most food, being naked, baths, when the wind moves the leaves, music, dancing, singing, clapping, “The Wheels on the Bus,” “If You’re Happy & You Know It,” playing This little Piggy, patty cake, when your dad comes home, Baby Einstein videos, toast, books

Things you hate: when we won’t give you what we’re eating, when I don’t pick you up right away, coming inside, falling down, when mom or dad walks away or leaves, recently the nursery

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