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The Tiniest Things: Twelve Months

NS, you are one year old! It is amazing—maybe all years have felt this elastic, like a single day stretched out over a year, or a year compressed into a day. Maybe my memory has always been this layered, where nursing you in bed is just like all the other times I’ve nursed you in bed, only this one is happening right now. Maybe I’ve always been addicted to nostalgia, but now the time between the perfect-then and the right-now has shrunk to weeks. Here are the things that I see now, that I hope I can preserve in my brain:

// Newborn onesies make me broody for the days you could fit inside them, and then you would lay still on the bed. Now, you are very keen on scooting over to the edge of both the change table and the bed, and I am constantly hauling you back in order that you not off yourself.

// The people who say, “Oh, I lost the baby weight by chasing the baby around” are finally resonating with me, because you never, ever stop moving.

// Once, when you were about ten months old, I peeked in on you during naptime. You were lying on your side, watching the dust motes dance above you, trying with a sort of lazy grace to grab hold of the sunbeam.

// We lowered your crib on the day I walked in and found you standing up, hand outstretched and trying very hard to grab hold of your rock lamp.

// I’m not very good at getting you out to the drop-in centres, which is a real shame because you looooove other babies. You love poking them in the eye, patting their cheeks, grasping their hands, and making exciting barking noises two inches from their faces. Some babies are into this; others, less so.

// You’ve outgrown your 18mo hats. You have an enormous head.

// It delights me that you smile at everyone on the bus except for the intense-looking white men.

// Sometimes, when you’re nursing, you pull off and give me this genuine little smile, like I’ve told you the funniest, most unbelievable bit of celebrity gossip. When I laugh, you laugh, and then you go back to nursing. I have no idea what tickles you so much, but I love it.

// The word of the day right now is mobility. He pulls himself to standing! He cruises! He crawls! He flops around on the floor like a luchador wrestler! He did none of these things twelve weeks ago.

// I know statistically, at some point in the next year, you’ll lose interest in nursing. This makes me very sad, because after our initial struggles, it’s turned into such a source of pleasure and connection and contentment for me. (Putting my phone down and paying attention really helped, here.)

// Right now, your favourite foods include shrimp, banana muffins, peas, eggs, cheese, peanut butter sandwiches, and grapes. You’re ambivalent on avocado, which I get because we don’t put salt on yours and that’s a bummer. We need to diversify your flavours and textures, but you’ve handled everything that’s come your way, including kimchi and kombucha.

// You do remarkably well in cold weather. I face you out in the stroller, even on windy days, because you can keep an eye for dogs and people to giggle at. (Speaking of which, we maintain your first word was dog, which is really neat.)

// Your favourite book right now is Counting on Community, which we can read three or four times in a row, each in a different way. We still tell you Where the Wild Things Are every night before bed.

// I love wearing you in the carrier. I put you in backpack-style when I cook, and frontways when we go out. I finally get why women join insufferable Facebook groups to discuss their love of babywearing (although I just can’t with those groups, on a personal level). One of my favourite things is passing you bits of food over my shoulder, and one of my least favourite things is when you yank on my hair.

// Recently, I met up with a friend and we went to Yorkdale, which, btw, has the toniest high chairs ever (black leather). At one point, both you and her six month old son were leaning all way back, just staring at the ceiling, in perfect baby symmetry. Babies are weird.

// I love all your different moods. You are inquisitive, demanding, flirtatious, shy. You’re impetuous, silly, solemn, focused, independent, needy. You wake up from some naps cranky and some naps chatty. Some nights you go to bed exhausted and annoyed, and other times your exhaustion translates into sublime cuddles.

// You love music and dancing. You think Dad’s headbanging is hilarious, and you watch the equalizer on the iPod dock with rapt attention.

// In the past year, you’ve attended two weddings and one funeral. You’ve gotten all your shots, gotten the flu, gone to the movies twice, the ROM about six times, two different drop-in centres, three different libraries, ridden the TTC from Woodbine all the way to Jane, walked down Shaw Street to Bloor about a hundred times, choked three times, and have outgrown a pile of clothes that stack up taller than me.

// I have no idea what the next year will bring. More teeth, probably? Rudimentary conversation? Walking? (Lord have mercy.) I hope you have rude health, that you start to make friends, that your beloved babysitters rotate in and out of your days. I hope you try new flavours—chipotle, pickled ginger, tonkatsu sauce. I hope you test your boundaries in safe ways. I hope you keep learning at this crazy speed—seriously, it’s like watching a time-lapse video of human-ness.

// Who knows when your baby days will be over. The next step comes with your first steps, and someday soon, you’ll be a toddler. I am simultaneously devastated and so excited. Motherhood! Full of feelings!

// Thank you, baby, for being the best damn baby we could ever hope for. You’re so sweet, I barely know what to do with myself. Happy birthday, kiddo. Here’s to your first year earthside.

About the Author

Kaitlyn Kochany
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More about Kaitlyn Kochany

Kaitlyn Kochany is a Toronto-area freelance writer and editor. She had her son, NS, in January 2016, and has been trying to sleep and write since then.

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