Yesterday you turned one year old. It sounds so cliché to say it's hard to believe twelve months has already passed by, that time flies and you blink and the newborn is suddenly a kid, but it's all true—every single little bit of it. I can close my eyes and recall every single detail of your makeshift nursery in our bedroom in California: the giant sliding glass doors, the heartbeat bear, the feel of your special diaper basket caddy thing in my hand, fighting to stay awake in the middle of the night while sitting in the rocking chair in the corner... and now here you are, living on the other side of the country, a million miles away from that little hedgehog baby who burst into our lives four days late and three pounds larger than expected.
I had to be careful with you yesterday, because I was overwhelmed with the urge to squeeze you all day. That's how cute you are.
Someday you will want to know what you were like as a baby, and I can tell you without missing a beat that you were, perhaps, one of the sweetest babies ever born. I know, people say this about their babies all the time. But I have evidence. How about the time that you and I flew from Virginia to Las Vegas when you were four months old? The woman who sat next to us literally rolled her eyes and huffed when we sat down, and by the end of the flight some four hours later she was falling over herself to hold you so I could gather our things. Oh, and I took you to Las Vegas when you were four months old, did you catch that? People don't normally do that, take babies to the gambling capital of the universe. We weren't there to gamble, though, and the employees of the Bellagio are probably still telling stories about that sweet little baby who came to stay. Well, all except for the ones who work at Wolfgang Puck's restaurant. You weren't particularly sweet there. But the fact that I can pinpoint the non-sweet moments of your first year on my left hand is really quite remarkable.
You have this way about you, Bee. You make people calm. You make people happy. You make happy people even happier. In our family, you are the person that others go hang out with when they're feeling low or stressed. It's a role that has developed steadily as you become more interested in and engaged with all of us; everyone recognizes your superpower and you are more than happy to share your good nature freely. We can't imagine life without you, quite honestly. Your sisters regularly state how lucky they are to have such a sweet baby sister. They put up with your occasional hair-pulling and face-grabbing because you are so cute when you give them hugs and say "awwwwwww" as if to narrate your own sweetness.
A few other details about you right now: you look so much like your Grandma did at this age that it stops people in their tracks. You also look like your Da frequently, occasionally like me, and once in a while like your Aunt Amy. Your hair seems to change colors daily, and your eyes are moving toward the mysterious color of blue/grey/greenish that your sisters share. You are mostly done with baby food, preferring tiny pieces of cut-up big girl food, and you have no patience for drinks served in sippy cups, preferring your mama. You don't sleep through the night. You do convince me every night to bring you to bed with me for an hour or so, and then fuss to go back to your own bed just as convincingly. You cannot sleep without your blankie. Your favorite game is "Where's Bridget?" but playing catch is a close second. Sometimes you demand to hold a book while nursing before bed, and you look at books every morning quietly in your crib. You love when Maddie comes in to read to you in the morning and think it's hilarious when Gracie climbs into the crib after your morning nap. Except for a short-lived scare around eleven months, you take two good naps a day. You are wearing clothes designated for the 18-24 month demographic more and more. You love to sign words and say "hi Da" when Daddy walks in after work. You have the beginnings of curls. You mark the end of an era.
Last night after dinner you enjoyed a chocolate cupcake with pink frosting with your family and Curtis. We let you open up your gifts after a necessary scrub in the tub even though it was 7:45 by the time you had your jammies on. I think subconsciously I wanted to keep you up as long as possible last night to preserve the last few moments of baby. Of course you're still a baby today at one year + one day, but it's just ever-so-slightly different now. Now you've crossed the threshold where the changes are more noticeable: sitting to standing, standing to walking, babbling to talking, eating crayons to writing journal entries about school field trips. I made it through the whole day without being ridiculous and weepy about your birthday, right up until I placed your exhausted body down in the crib. Then your ridiculous and weepy mama kissed you goodnight and wished you a happy birthday.
Happy Birthday, Bee.