Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Dear Hazel,
On Sunday, you turned one. ONE. I can't believe it... you're growing up so fast! It seems like just yesterday you were this tiny little body with long flailing arms and legs that could not be contained by a mere receiving blanket, screaming into my ear because you had a gas bubble that just wouldn't pass. And I can't believe it but I remember thinking then how glad I would be when you grew up and could fart on your own.

Careful what you wish for, right? Because I'm so. not ready for you to grow up yet. My heart still melts when you reach for my hand to steady you on your feet... but it seems even now - at just 12 months! - those moments are fewer and farther between. You want to do it on your own. You want to do everything on your own. You want to do everything that Mommy and Daddy do... but you certainly don't want, or need, our help.

Walking, sitting on your own chair, brushing your hair... even feedings!... those have all been taken over by you. We are not allowed to cut up your food for you anymore. You will take the banana whole, thankyouverymuch. And that grilled cheese I made the other day... the one that I gave you half and cut up into small pieces for you and then attempted to eat the other half? You'll have my half, thankyouverymuch. And don't ever pull that crap again, okay Mommy?

We've had to actually buy you your own spoon and fork. Not that you're actually able to use either of them much. You do enjoy holding the fork while you hand feed yourself, though. And you'll dip the spoon into applesauce and then attempt to lick it off. And all of this pleases you very much. So much so that you lift both arms up in victory... and then place both of your (usually food covered) hands on top of your head and proceed to wear whatever is left of your food. Which makes for really fun cleanups.

Also, just in time for your birthday? Your first molar!!! Or, as Daddy and I like to call it: THE RUINER OF EVERYTHING THAT IS GOOD IN THIS WORLD. Let's just say that your first molar breaking through isn't going all that well. It makes you wake up early and walk around the house groaning and crying. Nothing we've tried, short of Tylenol, seems to help much at all. So we just have to listen to the constant cries of pain that cannot be soothed. And keep repeating our mantra: This Too Shall Pass. IT MUST.

I think you're coming out of the worst of it, though. The other day we actually saw a smile. One that had been missing for the last few days. So that was nice. I tried to capture it on camera, so I could look at it to remind myself that the monster living with me right now is only temporary and my darling angel is still in there, somewhere... lurking.... but, you know how you are with photographs. YOU HAVE NO TIME FOR PHOTOGRAPHS WHEN THERE ARE THINGS TO GET INTO AND BREAK!

You absolutely love your newfound mobility and have this fun little habit of taking off whether or not Mommy wants you to. And you seem to make it a specific point NOT to follow Mommy and Daddy or go where they want you to. Mommy and Daddy are there on the left? RIGHT TURN IT IS!

You've also discovered the joys of swings and if we let you, would probably spend the rest of your life in one.

You have also discovered ducks. We made a trip to Dinosaur Park a few weeks ago where you got to feed them and were absolutely amazed by them.

Feeling inspired, the next day we took you to Beus Pond... which absolutely blew your mind. The sheer number of ducks and geese were enough to blow MY mind. And when the geese started to get a little fussy because of a dog that was being walked nearby, and they started to run towards you (as you were standing on the path to the water)... well, you didn't even flinch. Mommy flinched enough for you. Of course, Mommy's beaten up a few geese in her day so it was no big deal. Canada Geese are nothing compared to a Mommy in protection mode. Much less, a pregnant Mommy in protection mode.

Last week, we dressed you up in your Halloween costume and took you to the Nature Center for their Halloween celebration. We were kind of rolling the dice with you, since you usually melt down around 7 each night, but we felt that it would be worth the risk. And OH. BOY. Was it ever! At the Nature Center, you discovered leaves. LEAVES!!!

I mean, it's not like we have trees and stuff in our backyard, right? The Nature Center leaves are THE BEST. And when we took you away from your beloved leaves, well, I thought the world might just end right there.

We ran into some friends from college that had a little girl just a few months older than you. Not that you really noticed since she pretty much stood still next to her mommy.... while you practiced "running" down the road. You know... where all sorts of wild animals are. And a significant drop-off into a ditch. Luckily, Daddy was there to save the day, pick you up, turn you around so that you could run back the other direction. Meanwhile, the 15-month old that I just mentioned? Stood there watching. Pretty sure I only saw her blink once. And I still gotta find out from her Mommy: WHAT MEDICATION DO YOU HAVE HER ON... AND WHERE CAN I GET MY HANDS ON SOME?

Yes, yes... you're a bit of a Hazel Tornado these days... which makes it awfully hard to get a good picture of you, so I just have to wait and take one when you've fallen down.

Ain't nothin' containing you. I think we'll take you up to the football field this weekend and just set you loose. I'll watch from the stands. I remember laughing at one of my girlfriends from college that I played basketball with. She had a little boy who would seriously run laps around the track and never tire. And I kept thinking: "Yep... That's definitely YOUR kid." Because she seemed to believe that she was never that hyper as a child. And I tried to remind her that she WAS that hyper as a 20-year-old. And yet here I am. I KNOW I was never this active... no matter how many times people remind me that I was a total tomboy. I distinctly remember never liking to get my hands dirty... whereas you routinely like to play in the dirt and rub it all over your head.

Yep. You're clearly your father's child.

Yesterday, you had your one-year immunizations. And that was fun. Really. Like shove bamboo sticks through your eyeballs fun. You had a pretty rough day after that. But guess what? This morning... SOMEONE SLEPT UNTIL 7!! You haven't slept until 7 in weeks! And you woke up happy... just like the little girl we remember from the summer! You have no idea what that does for Mommy and Daddy's psyche, baby girl. And if it weren't for an unfortunately head-first tumble in to the bar stool this morning, we would have had a tear free morning for the first time since your molar started coming in.

You've turned into quite the little girl, Hazey. You're no longer our baby... and that makes me sad. Every day I see something new in your development and I always wonder if I'm doing the right thing by having you in day care while I work. I love day care. You REALLY love day care. You get to play with your friends all day, every day. You even get excited in the mornings when I put on your socks, shoes and jacket because you know that means that pretty soon you get to see your people. When we finally get there, I put you down in the lobby to check you in and then you lead me through two rooms to get to your room... where I open the door and everyone goes: YAY!! Hazel's here! I'm not even kidding you. That's the greeting you get. My hope is that you get that kind of greeting for the rest of your life whenever you enter a room.

And then... well, then you turn around and start to explore the other room instead of walking into your room. You never get upset when I drop you off, unless you're sick and just want to be cuddled. And the socialization you get in that place simply cannot be replicated if I were a stay-at-homer. But sometimes... sometimes I wish that I was a stay-at-homer. Just so I got to be the one to frost cookies with you for the first time. So that I got to be the one to teach you to dance to Thriller. So that I got to be the one to finger paint with you for the first time. So that I got to be the one to teach you how to crawl down the stairs the right way, or to teach you how to play nicely with others. Two hours in the morning, two hours in the evening plus the weekends... well, they really don't add up to much, you know?

But then again... I seriously might go crazy if I stayed at home. So, there you have it.

Ah... motherhood. A never-ending trip of utter, soul-consuming guilt. I can't believe that I waited until I was 33 to try it.


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