It's your first birthday letter! I'm so excited to write this for you. You are such a happy, content, easy-going little guy. Your shy smile charms everyone you meet. Only adding to your appeal, you're also extremely affectionate. I've been on the receiving end of
countless sloppy baby kisses, drool sliding down my cheek when
you're done. When I pick you up from your crib you throw your arms
around my neck and put your head on my shoulders. I never want to forget
that feeling. I hope you can always be so unabashedly open about your emotions.
We've learned a lot about you this year. We learned you hate getting dressed with a fiery passion and you're not too thrilled about having your diaper changed, either. The changing table isn't a happy place for you. Unless I give you a book to peruse. Then you forget about the humiliations happening to your lower half. You love books! For a couple months now you've been picking out books and bringing them to me to read. Then we proceed to read them approximately 5,000 times each. And even though one of your all-time favorite activities is making sure Ben's bookshelf is clear and all the books are on the floor, where they belong, you're actually fairly gentle with the books. I don't think you've ripped a page yet. You did destroy a couple board books, but to be fair Ben contributed to that eventual destruction a good amount when he was your age.
We've learned you love blueberries and knocking down block towers and playing the piano. But the biggest thing we've learned about you so far is that you're STUBBORN. You will not hold your bottle. You're completely capable of it. You drink from a sippy cup all the time, but why hold your own bottle when Mommy or Daddy will do it for you? Joke's on you, Baby, the bottle's going bye-bye soon... I'm trying to think of another concrete example of your stubbornness, but I can't. It's more like you've just got this quiet defiance about you. Not defiance like a teenager, but more a determination to do things your own way, no matter what everyone else does or what's expected of you. Your crawling style is a good example. You crawl with your right leg curled underneath you and your left leg stuck straight out to the side, foot dragging on the floor. It looks bizarre, but it works for you and you've gotten pretty fast that way. In the last couple weeks you've been crawling more in the conventional way and just this week you seem to have switched to it entirely. It's faster, easier and more streamlined, allowing access into tunnels and between chairs the way the one-leg-out method didn't. Hopefully that means in the future, when presented with a better option you'll evaluate it and eventually give up your own stubborn way if it isn't working.
So let's talk about Ben. Mommy and Daddy may be your favorite people for snuggles, but Ben is your favorite playmate. Nobody else can make you laugh like he can. His exuberance and silliness get you every time.
Almost from day one you've known he was special. Before you could even
sit up you would watch his every move. When he enters a room your
face lights up. Ben finally has a full-time partner to play Chase. You do your best and even though you can't crawl fast enough to keep up it's pure joy for you when Ben wants you to play. Soon you'll be toddling after him and before you know it you'll catch him. Watching your relationship with Ben blossom has been one of the best things about this year. I'm glad you have each other. I know you're not always going to get along, but I hope
you keep making each other laugh.
You have been the perfect second baby. From the time you were born you were subject to the schedule we already had set up, but it never phased you. I dragged you around in the car seat to preschool, to the Y, to the playground, to the grocery store and as long as you were fed and could get a little shut eye you were fine. You're a great sleeper. You're a great eater. You can entertain yourself. You've been a joy. I can't wait to see what things we learn about you in the coming year. I'm so glad you're in our family.