Month 12

This is Thomas’s 12-month update, even though he’s 13 months and two days old. I wrote most of it when he was 12 months — before his birthday, before we moved, before Mary Virginia’s birthday — and then it sat unfinished in my drafts folder.

Even though he’s 13 months old, and he’s standing on his own and even taking a few steps, this post is about Thomas at a year. You can pretend you’re reading it in May, and you’re watching Cleveland play Toronto in Game 2, while trying to nail down your Memorial Day plans.

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Thomas at 12 months is a lot like Thomas at three, four, and five months. He’s happy, loves to laugh, and into everything. He’s always the biggest of all the babies at playdates, he’s as tall as some two-year olds, and he has the hairdo of most infants and middle-aged men.

We have had a busy, busy month. It’s the end of school and the beginning of summer and we are cramming in a LOT. All the while, Thomas is going with the flow. We are home for two naps a day and bedtime, and besides that we’re going to popsicle parties and birthday celebrations. Thomas does great as long as there’s somewhere for him to crawl around.

This is normal for my kids, but I feel the need to write it here both for the sake of posterity and also for any other mamas who haven’t slept in years. I want you to know: I’m with you. Next time your kid is screaming (or worse, playing) from 2-3 a.m., text me. I’m probably also awake and bored because I’m out of Candy Crush lives and irritated that no one is updating their Instagram through the night.

As a sleeper, Thomas takes two great naps a day, around 9 a.m. and 2 p.m., but he doesn’t sleep through the night. He still wakes up at least once, and if anything is going on (like a cold, recent vaccines, a new sleep environment), he’s up for hours. Honestly, I don’t even think about it anymore because I’ve gotten used to this sleepless existence, and not-sleeping is a great excuse for not-exercising, not-cleaning, not-anything-I-feel-like-not-doing.

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Thomas is a sweet, sweet cuddle bug. He pats my back when I pick him up, and he often stops mid-play to crawl over to me for a hug, and then goes back to what he was doing.

It’s worth noting that he also bites. Or more specifically, he bites me. Whenever I sit on the floor, he crawls over, face-plants on my thigh, and tries to bite any part of my body he can get to — my forearm, my stomach, my shoulder.He’s a lot like a zombie, leading with his teeth, trying to bite any flesh he can find. Just a happy, adorable zombie.

When I shriek and push him away, he laughs like it’s some inside joke between the two of us, as if I enjoy being his personal chew toy. He does that a lot — laughs as if he’s telling a joke that I’m in on.  It’s like he’s telling a joke that he can’t get through because it’s just too funny, the impending punchline has him bowled over.

He opens a cabinet, hides behind a wall and looks at me laughing like, “You are going to love this.” (And I usually do love it.)

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Thomas’s favorite toys are balls and cars. He’s surrounded by toys of all kinds — action figures, dolls, puzzles, books — and he always, always first chases a ball and then zooms cars around. His favorite are the kinds you can wind up and will drive by themselves. He learned how to do it by watching his brother race cars in the kitchen. Now, when he finds a car, he runs it back and forth a few times and lets it go to see what happens.

Oh wait, did I say balls and cars are his favorites? I meant to say toilets and cat food are his favorites. Silly Mommy.

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Thomas is slowly starting to stand on his own and is mostly babbling but can say a few words.

He says Mamamamama and Dadadadada and “ba” for ball. And I just read this, so as soon as he wakes up from his nap I’m going to try to teach him to say “A-CHOO!”

Occasionally the kids tell me that Thomas said something like “giraffe” or “breakfast” and I always smile and secretly roll my eyes because they’re such over-eager first-time parents.

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On Thomas’s first night home from the hospital, he started nursing around 4 p.m. and did not stop until the next morning. If he wasn’t nursing, he was crying, so I nursed him all night and then took him to the doctor the next morning and said, “Something is wrong with him. Fix it.”

That’s when the doctor told me that you can’t feed a child an entire bag of Cheetos per day in utero and then expect him to be satisfied with a little colostrum every three hours.

That happened more than a year ago, but it feels so much longer than that and also a bit like last week. I told that story before, and I’m telling it again because that exhausting morning, I vividly remember thinking, “This third child is going to do us in. We aren’t going to make it.”

But we did.

This year happened in a time warp of not-sleeping and baby laughs, and having a third baby has changed our family dynamic in ways I didn’t expect. Because there are more of them, my big kids have had to grow in patience, generosity, and compassion. As parents, Tom and I have had to rely on and help each other even more. This has been a hard year for sure — my hardest year as a mom so far — but with hard comes growth and good, so much good. This year, more than any other, Tom and I have looked at each other at the end of the day and said, “God is so good to us.”

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Dear Thomas,

You are such a delight. I cannot say that enough. You are everything a 12-month old boy should be — full of mischief and wile. You are curious and determined, and you spend every moment exploring and experiencing.

What can I tell you on your first birthday? Stop climbing on your brother’s art table. Eat your vegetables. Stay out of the toilet. But besides that, don’t change. Stay the exact way you are — happy, easy to laugh, flexible. You bring joy with you wherever you go.

You won’t remember this year, the first year of your life, so I want to tell you that your big brother and sister dote on you even more than your parents, even though you mess up David’s puzzles and swipe Mary Virginia’s favorite stuffed animals. They are protective and proud of you and are just as excited about your milestones as your insane mother. You’re so blessed to have them, and they to have you. One day they’re going to give you a wedgie and you’re going to come to me crying, and while I console you, I’ll secretly be thinking about how there is nothing better than siblings. And later that day when your daddy gets home from work, I’m going to smile and say, “God is so good to us.”

Love,

Mama

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1 Comment

  1. Meredith June 27, 2016

    This was so awesome! So happy to read you made it to a year. I’m right in the “WILL we make it to a year? Can one die on too little sleep?” phase. And so far this is my hardest year of mothering yet too. I also get mad that no one is updating IG at 3am!!! Hahaha. Start taking selfies in your rocking chair :). He is just so cute and seems like the perfect third child. Happy belated birthday l!

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