My baby boy is ONE! In a year that turned out absolutely nothing like anyone expected (I’m sure you’re in the same boat, too), the first year of motherhood was relatively easy and fun, even though it was full of some surprises that I couldn’t have seen coming in a million years.
The night before his first birthday, Nate and I both did his bedtime routine with him. I think that he was kind of overwhelmed that both parents were giving him a bath, changing him into his jammies, and reading him a book – he was so hyper in the bathtub, haha. I snuggled him before bedtime and sobbed my way through reading “On The Night You Were Born” (omg, Nate took a pic of me reading and I’m crying big ugly, sad tears.) We both laid him down in the crib and sang “You Are My Sunshine” (the song I’ve sung to him before every single nap and bedtime since he was born), and closed the door.
I walked downstairs and couldn’t stop crying. “He’ll still be there in the morning, you know,” Nate told me while he rubbed my back.
“I know, but just let me be sad right now. I need to be sad.” I have learned a lot of lessons in my first year of motherhood, but this was one of the big ones: I get to choose my emotions, and it’s ok to pick the ones that aren’t happy. Sometimes I choose to be optimistic or enthusiastic or peaceful, but other times I get to choose to be sad or angry or sentimental. The night before Milo’s first birthday was a night that I decided that I wanted to feel sad, look through a million photos and videos from his first year of life, and reminisce on an incredible 12 months of life and growth.
We celebrated his first birthday with a family party at home, and it was the perfect day! Milo’s favorite food in the whole wide world is meatballs… I created a meatball monster when I shopped at Costco for a bunch of experimental baby foods, and brought home some odds and ends: avocado, mozzarella cheese, apple sauce, oatmeal, almond butter, and…a huge bag of frozen meatballs. So we ordered this little chef costume, had a custom balloon garland made from Pop & Drop ATX, and did a spagetthi and meatball photo shoot! (Nate and I ate meatball subs from Home Slice Pizza – so good.)
Milo's First Year:
Ok, I’m not going to share a huge amount of stuff about his first year of life, because I could literally write thousands of words about it… But here are a few tidbits and memories I want to share:
As his personality starts to emerge, he seems so inquisitive. I’m fascinated to watch his mind and spirit to continue to evolve! He seems to be so interested, quietly taking in his surroundings. He always scans the room thoroughly, taking in any new people or fixtures before deciding what he’ll do or comment on. He notices things that I don’t. He can always find Storm, our cat (“tat-tat”) even when I don’t see her.
I love watching everything happen in its own time. He was born 4 days after his due date. He started rolling from back-to-front, while front-to-back is more common. He got his top two teeth before his bottom teeth. These are little things to occur, and they don’t really mean any thing developmentally, but they’re tiny reminders to me that I don’t know how things will unfold, and I get to love and guide and observe while Milo becomes his own person.
A few things he’s doing at 12 months: crawling at turbo speed, saying a few words (da-da, ma-ma, and tat-tat, so he’s very familiar with his three family members), gradually dropping his morning nap, sleeping 12 hours at night. He loves books (like his mama) and he loves cats (like his dad.) He sings loudly on our stroller walks, and I’m convinced he gets even more smiles than usual now that it’s autumn and I can zip him up in his cozy longhorn sweatshirt. Hook ’em.
A few thoughts on my first year of motherhood
We breastfed for 11.5 months. Ooh, so many thoughts on this and I could probably fill an entire blog post on all of the emotions that breastfeeding creates in new moms: love, energy, bonding, resentment, frustrations, gratitude, anger, joy. We were lucky: Milo latched easily from the beginning and gained weight quickly. It was still so much work, and I wanted to quit many times in the first year. And even when I knew it was time to end at 11.5 months, I still felt a cloud of guilt and confusion hanging over me for a week. I had to eventually decide to stop feeling guilty and instead feel thankful and proud, but it took me a while to get to that emotion!
Friendships change when motherhood begins. They just have to. I’ve found myself clinging closer to two type of people: those who are also moms and mom-figures and understand this walk of life deeply, and those who are willing to love me and be with me as I navigate all of these changes. I am SO thankful for the friends who are sticking with me and accepting this new version: the person who now goes to bed at 9 pm, who doesn’t wear makeup and cute clothes as often, who talks about baby schedules and development more than Netflix shows and pop culture. I’ve found that this new version of myself is extra thankful for the people who care about the little things, like Milo’s 1/2 birthday, or knowing that he got his first tooth, or recognizing the joy that is his roly-poly arms.
The “lasts” are so much more poignant than the “firsts.” Why didn’t anyone tell me this? The first time Milo rolled over was exciting, and I felt a little swell of pride and excitement for him. But the last time he slept in our room was a memory that is much stickier and I can still feel the lump in my through I had as I helped Nate carry his bassinet upstairs to his own nursery. He had been sleeping in our master closet for the first 5 months, and so all of my clothes had absorbed the new baby smell; even when I was out driving in my car alone, I could smell that sweet baby smell. When we moved him into his nursery, I knew that in a matter of days that yummy smell would disappear from my closet forever. I’m anticipating about 100 more of these moments in the next few decades.
I’m really thankful for those sad and sentimental emotions; I think that they’re just as important for me to feel and process as the fun and exciting emotions of motherhood, like giving him cake on his first birthday and buying him his first pair of sneakers.
It flew by. It really did. I’m even more determined to enjoy each moment and live my life fully present, because I recognize now, more than ever, that my years with babies will fly by. I am in awe of everything that has happened in the past 12 months, and I’m so excited to live the next 12 months!
Happy first birthday, my sweet boy! Thank you for all the lessons and memories and growth you have provided for me. I love you with the biggest love and I am so, so happy to be your mama.