Happy birthday, sweet girl! Today you are one year old. Isn’t that crazy? Even though the year hasn’t seemed to go by too fast, it’s still amazing to me that you are growing up so much. I guess I should teach you to drive this week. Look out, world.
No, seriously, look out. I have a feeling you will be a crazy driver, but we will cross that bridge when we come to it in thirty years.
Jenna, I have had so much fun with you over the last year. When I found out I was expecting another baby, I immediately wondered what you would be like. Would you be a little more reserved, like your brother? Would you be happy and give me lots of smiles? What kind of things would you enjoy the most?
It seemed like an impossible list of questions, but a year of you has brought me answers to all those questions and then some. I got a lot of those answers the day you were born.
Since your brother was born in kind of a whirlwind (I know we have probably told you that story a thousand times…sorry, kid. Them’s the breaks when you’re the second child), I focused on remembering every moment of your birthday. Even though you were healthy and we had no reason to worry, I couldn’t breathe easy until I had you in my arms. I also couldn’t breathe easy until you got your feet out of my rib cage. Thanks for that, by the way.
And then, after a day filled with excitement and anxiety over meeting you, there you were – May 29, 2014, 1:33 pm, 7 lbs, 13 oz, 19.5 inches long. They told me how much you weighed, and then you started to cry. And I mean you cried. People in the next state probably heard you. You were ready to tell the world that you had arrived and that you were fabulous.
After a few minutes they brought you over to me. You were perfect – pink skin, round cheeks, and still hollering away like your life depended on it. You came in with a bang and haven’t slowed down ever since.
But I love that about you. You are not halfway committed to anything – when you’re mad, you are mad. When you’re happy, nothing in the world can take the smile off your face. You decide what you want to happen and let everyone know how you feel about it. I love it because I am the same way. I love seeing parts of me in you. I love figuring out how you will react to something and seeing if I get it right. It’s really fun to watch your personality grow.
Actually, fun is a perfect way to describe you. Jenna, you are just so much fun. You are easily one of the happiest people I know. There was a Dark Period where you were mad at everyone for a couple of months, but we try not to speak about that. Watching you play is so entertaining. You have the attention span of, well, a baby, and never play in the same way or with the same thing for more than a few minutes. You love all of your toys equally – giving you a piece of paper garners the same reaction as giving you a doll. You just love to have fun.
And your smile – oh, that smile is going to get everyone around you in trouble some day. When I see you covered in marker because Josh decided to “share” and you are caught in the act of redecorating the carpet, I want to be mad. I really do. But it’s hard to be mad at the grin that spreads across your face whenever you cause mischief. It’s even harder since you have those two little teeth now.
Your love of mischief is something else that is so great about you. When you hear a loud noise, you smile. If something falls, you laugh. Watching someone trip and fall is like Christmas for you. Not because you’re mean, but because you just thrive in chaos. It doesn’t scare you. Nothing scares you. You are always ready to meet your next challenge head-on and with a grin on your face.
Your sense of adventure extends into meal time – you will try anything once, and most things twice. Or three times. Or several more. You love to eat and you love to try new tastes and textures. You’re not picky – whether it’s Cheerios or bananas or a dubious puree that I have made myself, you are willing to try it all. You are also very generous – I have lost track of the number of times you are eating, catch my eye, and then take out whatever piece of food is in your mouth and hold it out to me with a big smile on your face. I don’t want it – ever – but I do appreciate the thought. Even a mother’s love can only go so far.
I also love how you have no inhibitions – if you see something that looks interesting, you go for it. If that means you fall over or bonk your head or drop another toy in the process, so be it. You have to try everything and see exactly what is going on around you. There is nary a toy left unlicked in this house. And you are so smart about it – half the time I see you with toys that I didn’t even know we owned, so either you’re hiding them somewhere or have become a kleptomaniac at a very young age. Either way, I am impressed with your ability to find new toys in a moment’s notice. You want to play with anything and everything – cars, dolls, shoes, musical instruments, trains; you love it all. You have never picked a favorite toy because I truly think you are equally content with whatever life brings you, as long as it can be chewed on.
Jenna bear, I just love you so much. I love your easygoing personality. I love it when you clap your little hands when I sing to you. I love the way you always go to sleep in the furthest corner of your crib, with your little fingers wrapped around your blanket. I love the way you make pterodactyl sounds to wake me up in the morning. I love the determination that goes into removing your socks. I love how you still snuggle with me and pat my arm until you fall asleep. I love your constant joy and wonderment as you explore the world around you. I just love every bit of you.
Happy birthday, baby girl. You have brought me so much joy. I cannot wait to see what the next year brings us.