We have come a long way, baby.
What a rollercoaster of a day last February 8th was. I was so relieved for you to finally be here and to be what appeared to be healthy (as we had a few "scares" during the second trimester ultrasound). My emotions were all over the place as I was relieved for you to be here and healthy but also fearful and torn as they took you to the NICU.
Thankfully, though, you healed quickly compared to most in the NICU, and we finally brought you home on Valentine's Day of last year. My little Valentine.
I laugh because every time I came to see you in the NICU, the nurses would talk about all the trouble you were causing. You and another baby across the room, Roderick. Ya'll were apparently partners in crime, feeding off of each other and keeping the nurses on their toes. Roderick got to leave before you, but then you were quickly moved to a transition nursery, as you prepared to go home. There was a tiny, premature baby in the NICU with you, and her mother was often there when I was. I have an image of the day we left to go home, and the elevator opened to the NICU floor, there she sat in the waiting room, and we smiled at each other and waved. I imagine she saw many babies come and go during her stay in the hospital. I have often thought of her since then and wondered how their story turned out.
And, of course, you continued to cause trouble at home, having your first breath holding spell the night after you came home. Just this past Sunday you had two breath holding spells in the nursery, one before I even left to go to the worship service. You aren't a mild baby, that's for sure;)
You have been my champion nurser, which was, of course, such an answer to prayer. I prayed and prayed and prayed some more than you would nurse well. And in my typical "glass-half-empty" fashion, I assumed we would have trouble after your stay in the NICU. Trouble we have not had. Sleep we have not had either;) And bottles, you scoffed at those too.
Now that you are a year old, I am hoping that sometime in the near future we will actually wean, but between you and me, I feel sort of emotional about it. Nursing has played such a HUGE role in this first year, as it is the sure way to calm my fussy baby. It is always the right answer. And, let's face it, nothing can replace that nutrition. So...it is a daunting thing to wean you and figure out a way to get you to eat something that will provide some nutrition. Daily you are eating yogurt, and I am daily making you try eggs. So far you aren't loving them, but I will try and try again. I am also going to make you keep trying avocado. You have to exist on something other than cheerios and puffs once we wean. And you aren't too interested in your sippy cup, though I give it to you several times a day in hopes that you will become interested.
You still nurse when you wake up in the morning and before bed and at least one other time during the day, but this is a HUGE improvement from even a couple of weeks ago. You really are starting to eat more and more solid food. And you still wake up at least once a night. I never realized how sleepy I would be at the end of this first year:) I no longer use the monitor, but I still wake up. We have tried to let you cry-it-out several times, but after an hour, I always give in and nurse you. You are a stubborn thing, and I have no idea how long you would continue to cry.
In the past couple of days you have nearly given up crawling in favor of walking. You can go from sitting to standing with nothing to pull up on, and you love to toddle around as fast as you can, though your upper body often gets ahead of your lower body and you end up flat on your face. You just get right back up and try again.
You are such an introvert, never very happy unless you are at home with just the immediate family. I hate that no one really gets to see what I think of as the real John because you become such a grumpy version of yourself around anyone else. Already I am praying for wisdom in how to encourage the good and discourage the bad parts of this unique personality that I am afraid you inherited from your mama:)
You LOVE Ada, and I stand firm that her name was your first word. The doctor says that it's really too early for that to be true, but I totally disagree. You say her name very clearly (it's not a hard one to say). You also say da-da, and uh-uh (for uh-oh, I think), but rarely do you say mama. Again, Ada is the only thing you say consistently, but it is probably what you hear most as well. I am trying to teach you sign language, as one doctor told us that part of the breath holding could be caused by frustration, and that if you have a way to communicate it might help. You don't seem to be catching on to the sign language yet, though.
I can tell that you are a second born in that you always try to imitate Ada. You like to sit in front of puzzles and throw the pieces onto the board as if "working" the puzzle, and you clap and dance along with her. You also seem more drawn to books than she was. Your favorite activity, however, is putting toys in and taking them back out of containers, whatever container you can find, and because we spend much time in the bathroom as we deal with Ada's potty issues, you often try to throw your toys into the toilet. Luckily, so far, I have caught you before you were successful. You are not as mischievious as Ada, thankfully, and I haven't had to baby-proof the house as much. You also seem to respond to no in a way that she didn't. I do sometimes have to pop your little hand, but other times I don't even have to do that to get you to obey. Maybe the breath holding doesn't indicate a strong will? Maybe it's more of an emotional thing? Who knows.
I could go on and on and on talking about all of your little characteristics.
Bottom line? You are a joy to me. I am beyond thankful that God gifted us with you, our precious boy. You have added so much fun and joy and laughter to this family. God has already used you to stretch me and grow me and make me more and more dependent on His grace.
Precious boy, I am praying daily that you were grow into a strong man of God. I pray that God would protect your heart from idols. That always, always, you would love Him most. I pray that you would love God, that you would long to know Him and that as a result you would love prayer and His word. I pray that you will one day fall in love with a godly woman, and that you will work hard to provide for your wife and children. I pray that you will long for your children to know and love God and His word. I pray that God would give Scott and me wisdom as we navigate parenthood and that we would always take you back to the gospel. All I want, John, is for you to know God personally, for your whole life to be about Him. That is it.
I love you, John. Happy Birthday, sweet boy!!!