Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A birthday letter to my one-year-old


My dearest Thumper,

You are one. And this letter to you is my fourth draft. I just can’t seem to find the right words to convey my sentiments for this day. I am a ball of emotions. With your sister, I couldn’t wait for her to hit the next milestone, turn one, then two...I was always looking forward to what’s next.

Well, she’s already shown me the what’s nexts. With you, I just want to be able to savor the now. Because at 3.5 years, she’s also proven how time flies.

On your birthday, I celebrate the little girl you have become, but I’m also nostalgic for the baby that you once were. As rolls and chunks slowly melt into gangly appendages and angular cheeks, I can’t help but give in to moments of anxiety, desperately looking for the pause button and yelling, stop! wait! I’m not ready!

But that’s just it; there is no such button. You will grow and be who you need to be, whether or not I’m ready. I can only be grateful that I’m there to witness these breathtaking moments as you blossom into that person. Of course, I don’t know who you will be in the next few years, but I know and am proud of who you are now.

You’re the baby who loves food (just like mommy!). You eat like you’re storing reserves for the winter, and sometimes, you eat more than your sister, which is impressive. And a little scary.


You’re the baby who isn’t in a hurry to hit your milestones. At one, you’re just now pulling yourself up and taking tentative steps, and honestly, that makes me deliriously happy because that prolongs your babyhood for me. Apparently, you’re the baby who’s considerate and accommodating like that.

You’re the baby that makes me second guess myself: How can we possibly stop at two kids? This is so wonderful! And you’re also the baby who makes me sure: There’s no way we can top this. Let’s just end on a high note.

Even with a boisterous three-year-old bossing you around, you do your own thing and willingly share the center stage with your sister. You’re happiest when she’s around, and it’s uncanny how she can make you laugh better than anyone.

Bath time with her is probably everyone’s favorite time of the day. You play well together, and you sometimes climb on her like she’s Kilimanjaro. Because you’re not quite as strong or graceful yet, falls are inevitable, but that’s often the best part as you both break into a giggling fit when you topple onto each other.

At one, you’re not quite mastering words, but your index finger is your best friend. I swear I’ve heard you say, “I’ve dropped my pacifier on that side of the crib. Please get it for me” (the “please” may be a projection on my end) with just a point of your finger and infant gibberish.

“Da ba!” is your current favorite phrase, and it could mean anything from ball to I hear my sister; make her come inside - I want to play with her! The best part is, I can tell exactly what you’re trying to say most, if not all, of the time. We could chalk that to your superior communication skills or it could be that having me home with you has created this bond that allows me closer into your world. I’d like to think it’s both.

When I was pregnant with you, and your daddy and I hit a rough patch in our relationship, I was afraid that all the sadness and pain would affect your disposition. That maybe you’d turn out to be an angry, sullen child. Or that you would be especially difficult, with sleepless nights and inexplicable crying spells. Blame my Chinese-Indian genes for thinking that way, but as it turns out, my fears were unfounded.

You sleep beautifully, sleeping through the night since about a month ago, and apart from teething episodes, you rarely cry. However, you’re a rather serious baby - your smiles reserved only for the familiar or deserving – but you still make us laugh with your antics every day.

You’re also totally laidback and sweet. When I think about how I have changed as a parent with you, as I’m less apt to be apprehensive and unsure myself, it makes me wonder - chicken or egg? Am I more laidback because you are too, or is it the other way around?

Either way, being your mom is such a privilege. An absolute joy. Your sister may have taught me how to parent and pushed me to parent better, but it is you who showed me how to really enjoy it.

Thank you, sweet girl, for showing me how amazing it can truly be.

With all my heart,
Your mommy.