You turned one today, and I can’t believe how fast time has flown by. You are growing up to be such a sweet boy, and I am so proud of you. You are so good at sharing, so eager to pray (you always fold your arms when we buckle you into your high-chair or when you see us get out the scriptures), so quick to give me a snuggle or a kiss. You are usually even generous with your “shy” smiles to all your adoring public in the eight countries you’ve been to in the past twelve months (Singapore, Malaysia, United States, Australia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Thailand).
Last night we had your birthday party, with some of your baby friends: Livvy, Anni, and Sage. You had a lot of fun, especially as we sang “Happy Birthday” to you, and you ate your very own little cake. You and your friends played some of your favorite games: pulling tape off the wall and pushing pom poms into old “puff” containers through a hole I cut in the top. I had a lot of fun watching you smile and laugh and show off just a little bit.
It was an eventful weekend, and you are making the transition from baby to toddler so fast! On Wednesday you took your first step while we checked out of our hotel in Thailand, on Thursday you learned how to turn off our fridge, on Friday you opened our freezer for the first time, and today you undid the velcro straps on you shoes then climbed up onto the couch for the first time.
You love to hold onto and stroke my ponytail, especially when you’re sad or nervous. You reach for it almost every time I pick you up, and you twirl it in your hand until you feel better. Sometimes you reach for it just to make sure it’s still there. I guess I won’t be cutting my hair short for a few years, and I certainly don’t mind. I love to feel your chubby fingers run through my less-than-glamorous hair-do.
You are quick to laugh when you’re around people you know… and it’s a big belly laugh that leaves you gasping for air. You think it’s so funny when I say “lady bug bug bug” as I kiss your little neck rolls, or when I dance silly dances, or suddenly sing a part of a song really loud. You like to play peek-a-boo with me and squeal with delight when I'm surprised to see you appear from behind a chair or your bib. You think it’s funny to push Dad’s head around in every direction, and to flex your big muscles for us. You love to sword fight with me, especially when I die dramatic deaths ending with my tongue hanging out… and whenever you pick up your inflated sword you stick out your tongue in anticipation.
You love cars and trucks and wheels. You have a little red car that runs when you touch the top and you chase it around the house. You have a red car-shaped inner tube that you like to relax on the beach in. You watch contentedly from your car seat as trucks, and motorcycles, and cars of every color pass by your window. You turn your toy cars over to spin the wheels as fast as you can, and you’ve turned almost all of your round toys into wheels of some sort, zooming and bouncing across our white tile floors while you studiously watch their variety of paths and patterns.
You still love your books, and you are happy for (literally) hours to sit with us on the big comfy chair in your room and hand books to us one at a time to read to you. You're also content to sit by your pile of books and just turn the pages yourself, sometimes even talking to yourself while you do. Your favorites are the books that go with a song, because the only better than a book is a book that we sing to you. If I could only find a book with a song about red cars…
You are starting to pick up some sign language. Your eyes lit up with the realization that when you sign “more” you get more of whatever food you were eating before. Your delight only increased when you successfully applied it to other things you like, such as me singing, Dad reading to you, and getting dunked under the water.
You love the water. You love to swim, to take baths, to splash and play in any circumstance. You speed-crawl from wherever you are in the house and whatever you are doing when you hear the bath water turn on. You can swim in the pool by our house for as long as I’ll let you, and the only thing that makes the terrible experience of me putting sunscreen on you acceptable is if you can see the ocean or pool that's the end of such unbearable means. You aren’t picky, though. You're equally happy with a bath or to run your hands under the stream of the kitchen sink as you are with Singapore’s mega splash pads and Thailand’s tropical beaches. That’s how you are about almost everything, though: happy and easy to please. You are such a sweet little boy: you’ll fall asleep anywhere, and try anything I give you to eat. You are so eager to please, and it shows in every aspect of your happy little world.
We’ve also recently discovered that you love dogs. You always squeal and babble away in delight when we stop to look at the hamsters in the pet store, but dogs are an uncommon sight in Singapore, so it wasn’t until recently that you had your first encounter with a dog at a park. He licked your hand and your face, and you smiled and clapped and kicked your legs in total joy, until we had to pry you away from him so his owner could get back to his picnic. A couple weeks later, you saw a little poodle while we were swimming with your friends. We helped you pet him, and he licked the water off your hands and face. Your smile was so big I thought your mouth would have to tear to open wider. You started to say “Dog! Dog! Dog! Dog! Dog!” And with that, your fourth word was “dog,” preceded only by “Dadda,” “Mama,” and “Wow.” As the dog walked away, you “walked” with your hand on the pool side as far and as fast as you could to follow him, and then shouted “DOG! DOG! DOG!” until he was out of sight. You love dogs. Looks like your Dad is going to have to get a puppy one day after all!
This morning I woke up next to you snuggled up to me, with your soft skin and your flawless sweet face with your thumb half in your perfectly shaped mouth. Your hair was a matted mess. Your breaths were deep and soft, and you made a little hum as you exhaled your warm, sweet-smelling breath. I pulled you in a little closer, realizing that your “little-ness” is passing by, and while you will always be my baby, you won’t be a baby much longer. I just wanted to freeze that moment, and keep it forever. You are everything to your dad and I, little one, and we feel so blessed to have you in our lives.
Thank you for making me a Mommy. You are worth every minute and more. Happy Anniversary, Jon!