Dear Baby Ike,
Last week you turned one. One! A whole year has passed since I spent seventeen hours in labor on Father’s Day and then, finally, in the wee hours of the next morning, you were scooped up out of the water and placed into my arms for the first time. I look back at photos from that day and am still so thankful for and amazed at your safe arrival.
You are moving quickly away from babyhood toward toddlerhood. You can take a few steps on your own, though you still prefer to hold onto someone’s fingers for support so you can cover much more distance. You are still experimenting with all kinds of sounds verbally, stringing together your babble in ways that sound remarkably like actual conversation. Everything is a doggie, which still sounds more like “doggin” for now.
All of your grandparents and aunts and uncles were able to come to your birthday party, which we had on Father’s Day, and was wonderful. It wasn’t fancy or themed or at all elaborate, but it was full of love, which I hope is how you will also someday remember your childhood. You received many gifts of toys and cute clothing, for which I do plan to write thank you notes on your behalf. Hopefully I will have you do the same in a few years, carrying on a habit that my parents developed for me (I don’t claim to be 100% consistent, but I try!).
Somewhat sadly, yet hilariously, you were far from enthused with your first birthday (strawberry cream) cake. It may have just been that by that time if the afternoon you were past due for your second nap, but you wanted nothing to do with it, and were quite offended at our trying to get you to taste it. I had to go to the viewing for your aunt’s father-in-law the next afternoon, and while I was gone your dad and paternal grandparents gave you a second opportunity with a chocolate cupcake. You were highly suspicious, especially after touching the hot wax from the candle (Daddy felt awful for not getting it out of your reach quickly enough), but then Grandma had the brilliant idea to stick a few Cheerios in the frosting. This eventually enticed you to dig in, as Cheerios remain one of your most favorite things, and the resulting chocolate baby-beard exceeded all my hopes for messy cake-face birthday photos.
I am writing this from the road, as I had to go out if town for work for four nights this week, and I have missed you fiercely since the second we pulled out of the driveway. I know your father has taken great care of you, but I am so anxious to get home and at least see you. You will probably be asleep when I get there, so I will stop myself from waking you up to squeeze and snuggle you, but it won’t be easy for me to wait until you wake up to refill on Ike cuddles.
We’ve come a long way, Baby Ike. I admit to not really being ready to see you leave your babyhood behind, but I know that for every single thing I will miss about the tiny you, I will fall in love anew with multiple toddler things as you hurtle toward being a big kid. I’m sure we’ll have our share of frustrations and tantrums, but I promise to love you more than you could think would be possible, through all of it. Happy belated birthday, honey. May your second year be even sweeter than your first.