One year ago today, at 7:52pm, you changed our lives forever. I can easily say, you are truly a gift from God. Your friendly personality and warm brown eyes have touched so many people and I feel blessed to have you in my life.
Before you were born, I dreamt about being your mom. I imagined holding you in my arms and rocking you to sleep in your nursery, drinking in that newborn baby smell and every audible coo you made. Despite all the sleepless nights, I loved every minute of our first days together. You were everything I imagined you'd be those few months of life. What I didn't realize, however, is just how much I would love being your mom today. Is it strange to say I fall head over heels in love with you more everyday? It's absolutely true. You are the center of my world, baby girl, the most important part. You teach me patience, love and cause me to belly laugh every single day.
I could gush for hours about how special you are to Daddy and I, so let's talk about how much you've matured in the last month. I'd venture to say you've grown more developmentally in the last four weeks than any other span in your lifetime. Perhaps the biggest change is your eating preferences. Suddenly you went from showing no tolerance for anything but purees to completely demanding only grown up foods. At your 9 month check-up, I expressed concern for your lack of interest in solid foods to your pediatrician and he said eating is a social activity and you'd eventually come around when you were ready to join the party. He was right - one day, you woke up and decided you'd like to eat everything Mommy and Daddy were eating and that's exactly what you do. Your favorites are cheese quesadillas, enchiladas, waffles, macaroni and cheese, peaches, pickles and mashed potatoes (not necessarily in that order). In a few weeks time, you've gone from wearing most of your food (or deliberately tossing it on the ground) to eating every single crumb set before you. I'm amazed at your progress in just a few week's time. You're a great little eater and always excited to try new foods.
Your trick ratio is also way off the charts! I amazed how we have real conversations now. Well, you're not exactly speaking back to me in a verbal sense, but you do communicate through sign language (more, all done, nap, love, hi, bye-bye) and through physical actions. One such gesture - spitting/blowing raspberries when you don't like something - is heard loud and clear, little girl. You definitely let us know when you do or don't want to do something we ask of you. Grandma says you might be like Daddy and only do something if it was your idea in the first place. Ha! We might be in serious trouble then .... As sassy as spitting six inches away from my face is, you're also very sweet when you "give us love" with hugs and kisses and rock your baby doll in your arms. You are so smart, Tory. When asked, you can point to all of your body parts and even hold up one finger when we ask how old you are.
Walking has been another milestone achievement for you this month. You were able to take several steps at 11 months old, but now use walking as your primary mode of transportation. Your legs must be so tired by the end of the day because you are constantly on the move. Around the kitchen island, outside in the backyard grass, down the hallway to your bedroom, then to the your playroom, to the kitchen and back again. I'm still in awe as I watch you toddle all around the house. I can't believe one year ago you were a tiny newborn and now you're a walking, talking little person.
This month, we spent a lot of time at the lake cabin, continued swimming class and took you on your first visit to the Minnesota State Fair. No matter what activity is before you (large marching bands, crowds of people or big boats on the water), it's trees that captivate your interest. "Oh!"you say and point your tiny finger to a green leafy tree near you. You might be an arborist someday or a tree-hugger because trees are your favorite thing. You continue to love books and often bring us your favorites from the shelf if you'd like us to read to you. Daddy bought you a princess tent and many days, you'll sit inside the castle and look at pictures in your books forever (real time: 10 minutes which is a very long while in baby time).
Our family is stopping by to celebrate your big birthday milestone tonight. I can't wait to watch you dive into your very own birthday girl cupcake. You're going to love it, I just know it. Your babyhood chapter is coming to a close and toddlerhood is on the horizon. I'm giddy just thinking about all the fun things we have in store in the next year. I can't wait to see your personality blossom, bake cookies with you and watch you discover the magic of Christmas. If this year is any indication, the best days are yet to come.
I love you always and forever, Tory Bean.