One year ago, you slept in my arms for the first time, uncharacteristically calm. You had been turning so many circles in the womb that the cord that bound us together had wrapped twice around your neck.
Once out, you rested. We stared. You were here — so soft and new — and we hardly knew what to do with you.
One year later, you’re still turning circles, moving, changing directions — only on your own two feet — and we’re running in circles around you, still not sure of what we’re doing.
You, on the other hand, are pretty sure of a great many things. You point them out to us with one insistent finger when you first see us every morning, and to everyone you can throughout the day. There’s the light in any room, the ceiling fan that goes round and round in a circle, the dragonfly print on the wall, the egrets and ibises along the lake, the airplanes that you spot even before I do, the moon changing shape in the sky, and, of course, the noisy rain stick that you’re scared of in the corner. Yesterday, however, after you yelled and pointed at it for some time, you walked up and touched it. How, at one year old, have you learned to confront your fears? You’re turning braver by the minute.
From one second to the next, you seem to master something new. Just in the past several weeks, you’ve begun to chase after ducks, kick a soccer ball with intent, stack blocks instead of just knock them down. You initiate games of peek-a-boo, demand a dancing partner when you hear your favorite songs, and pick out the books you prefer to savor. The pages of some of your favorites, like Goodnight Moon and Peek-a-Who, are marred with teeth-marks. You’re turning what’s around you into a world of your design, all full of slobber.
Lately, you’re making REAL food preferences clear, too: you love your bananas and veggie burgers, but after months of eager, indiscriminate eating of everything from avocado to zucchini, you’ve learned to exercise your power over mealtime by discreetly dropping finger f00ds onto the floor, or — in much less discreet fashion — spitting out what you’ve just eaten. At the same time, you want to put everything that ISN’T food into that bitey mouth of yours. On our evening walks, you try to taste leaves and stones. In the house, you sample mail, student essays, the ceiling fan remote control. You’re turning the world into your smorgasbord.
You’re also turning it into a marathon — of sorts. You may have slept through the night from months three to six, but you’ve woken up every night since except perhaps two — one of which was last Friday night: your actual birthday. You enjoyed your little gift to yourself and woke up calm and smiling and, after I opened the blinds, pointing at the tree outside your window from inside your crib. “Ahh!” you said, and the heart inside my slightly less tired body started turning somersaults.
You were in an unusually affectionate mood, giving your open-mouthed baby parrot kisses. I picked you up and we danced by that window in the sunlight, turning round and round in circles.