On August 21, 2012, I was 31 weeks, 3 days pregnant. Most of my pregnancy was a breeze – aside from a few days in the first trimester when I was so tired I couldn’t keep my eyes open, I felt I’d gotten off pretty easy. No morning sickness to speak of, no strange cravings (fresh fruit and fat-free dairy, anyone?), and even my totally annoying aversion to hot beverages was easing up. Hubby and I took a babymoon weekend in New York City and came back refreshed, looking forward to a baby shower that was planned for August 31st, and ready to enjoy the last two months before welcoming our little one into the world.
You know what they say about the best laid plans? When we got back from New York we reported for a 30-week sonogram. I’d had more sonograms than most, thanks to a marginal cord placement that the tech noticed during the 20-week anatomy scan. At the time, she had told me not to worry about it, and that they’d just keep an eye on it. I went back at 27 weeks for a follow-up and was told that it still wasn’t time to worry. Then at 30 weeks, I was told… okay, now it’s time to worry. The baby had fallen into the fifth percentile for size (down from around the fiftieth percentile at 20 weeks). We were diagnosed with “Intra-Uterine Growth Restriction” and sent home with a prescription for strict bed rest. (I was instructed to follow “Queen Elizabeth Rules.” According to my OB, Queen Elizabeth doesn’t cook dinner for the family or clean the house. She lies on her left side and lets everyone wait on her. I resisted the urge to point out that Queen Elizabeth is the busiest member of the British Royal Family, that she attends almost 600 royal engagements every year, and that she unwinds with long walks through her various parks. I don’t think my OB puts many Anglophiles on bed rest.)
August 21st was the fourth day of my bed rest. That morning, hubby and I headed out the door (yes, my bed rest inexplicably included a planned two sonograms and two OB visits per week – some bed rest, huh?) expecting to be told the baby would stay put for at least another week and sent home. We’d packed a ”hospital bag” just in case, but all it contained was a pair of my socks (hubby packed it). I’d brought along a small purse with just my wallet, phone, book (One Hundred Years of Solitude, in case you were wondering), and teddy bear (thought I might need him). On the way out the door, I dropped a letter to Katie in the mail, asking her to pray for the baby to stay put a few more weeks. Again, the best laid plans… The sonogram barely got off the ground before I found myself stuffed into a wheelchair, on my way upstairs to Labor and Delivery.
It was the scariest, best day of my life. I didn’t want to have a baby that day. I wanted to have a baby in October, like I was supposed to. But when she arrived, such a little love, I couldn’t help but be overjoyed. And the weeks that followed were a roller coaster. Some days, I was afraid to put my contact lenses in, in case I ended up crying all day over a sick baby. Other days, we snuggled and sang and I almost forgot we were in the NICU. On October 11, 2012, Peanut came home to her own room. Since then, we’ve celebrated her first Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. We’ve taken two road trips to visit family members in Albany and Buffalo, NY. We’ve hiked in Rock Creek Park and Dyke Marsh. We’ve had countless family pizza dates in Old Town. We’ve snuggled and played and read books and sang songs. And today, I get to look at this miraculous ONE YEAR OLD face.
In some ways, I feel like all the scary events of her birthday happened just yesterday, or even that they’re still happening. But in other ways, I feel as though she’s been here forever. She’s done so much growing over the past year – from just two-and-a-half pounds to over eighteen (!) pounds today. She’s gone from a cuddly little lump to a crawling machine. The baby who barely knew a world outside her isolette now tracks planes flying across the sky.
One thing about this month that’s different: I’ve just started seeing glimpses of the child in Peanut’s future. She’s more confident in her play and in her explorations. The ways in which she interacts with the world around her seem more sophisticated. And then, this month, I read Sixpence House, by Paul Collins, and there was one paragraph that made me nod in recognition and then tear up because it was so spot-on. Collins writes about hearing his 18-month-old son laugh in a new way, a deeper, huskier laugh, the laugh of a child lurking underneath the baby squeals. That made me cry just a little bit because I heard that this month, too. When I tickle Peanut or when we walk up or down the stairs together (she still thinks that the stairs are absolutely hilarious) I get torrents of baby giggles. But this month, every so often, under the giggles I’ve heard unmistakeable child laughs. They’re like music, and I love them, but they’re a bit bittersweet too, because she’s growing up.
Sorry to be so sappy in this post. But I love this kid so, so much. I love watching her big bright eyes take in the world, I love the way she picks her knees up off the ground and wiggles her tush as she crawls toward the floor grate, and I love how she thinks that if she just keeps trying, one of these days, she’ll actually be allowed to stick her fingers in said grate. (Keep dreaming, little Peanut.) I love the way she cuddles up to me, sucking her thumb and grabbing her shirt, when she’s tired. I love the way she growls and attacks her stuffed animals. I love her bright smiles and the way she says “Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom.” when I come to pick her up from her crib after a nap. (She doesn’t know what “Mom” means yet, but I still get giddy when she says it.) I love her quirky, goofy, sweet, silly, adorable little personality. I love her hugs and her giggles and her back-slaps and her giant trucker burps and her sweet coos. I just really, really love this kid.
Peanut at 12 Months:
Adjusted Age: 10 months
Weight: 18 lbs, 6 oz – 28th percentile! Holy guacamole!
Clothing Size: 12 months, although she can still fit into some t-shirts (not onesies, but actual t-shirts) in 9 month size. Weight-wise, she would still be in 9 months, but she’s long, especially in the torso.
Sleep: Peanut seems to be getting ready to drop a nap. Most mornings up until this month, she’d wake up for a bottle at 6:00 a.m. and then fall asleep around 6:30 for an early-morning nap, and sleep until about 8:00. Lately, she’s been waking up earlier and earlier after that first morning “nap,” and some mornings she doesn’t go back to sleep at all. I think it’s about the right time for her to drop down from three naps to two, but I wish she would have eliminated the late-morning nap first. (It’s easier to do things with her in the morning, and we can push through the late-morning nap if necessary, but only if she got a good early-morning nap and if we’ve got a low-key afternoon. Otherwise, bad.) Kids thrive on routine generally, and Peanut especially, since she got used to regimented days in the NICU. But we’re fiddling with her schedule to work on encouraging her to sleep in a bit more in the morning and dial back the late-morning nap from 90 minutes to one hour, and push the afternoon nap up to two hours. The goal is to eventually get down to one longer afternoon nap per day, toddler-style. We’re working on this gradually but our intention is that by the time Peanut actually is a toddler, she’ll be napping like one.
Likes: Fruit! I’ve been experimenting with different combinations of purees and Peanut has yet to meet a fruit that she doesn’t like. Her favorite, though, is applesauce. She’s had regular ol’ applesauce, pear applesauce, cinnamon applesauce, peach applesauce, and most recently blueberry applesauce, and she loves ‘em all. I guess I’m not surprised by this. After all, I ate an awful lot of fruit while I was baking her.
Dislikes: Erhm, vegetables. I’m a mean mommy and I have instituted a super unfair rule that Peanut is not allowed to live on fruit and “cookies” (teething biscuits). We alternate fruit purees with vegetable purees, and veggies are decidedly less popular than fruits. Right now, we’re working our way through a batch of sweet green peas with oregano. I’ve tasted them (I taste everything I feed to Peanut) and… not to brag or anything… they’re freaking delicious. But she acts like I’m trying to poison her.
Favorite Toys: Uh, this month Peanut’s favorite toy is… anything that isn’t a toy. Mom’s tea mug (especially if there’s tea in it) or water glass (with ice water, natch)… the floor and wall grates… her laundry basket… and especially her diaper wipe containers. We keep disposable Burt’s Bees refills all over the house for wiping off toys and little hands, and Peanut LOVES those little yellow packages. She loves them so much, in fact, that it was a Burt’s Bees diaper wipe package that finally motivated her to crawl. (We’d been taking bets on which toy would finally spur her little bottom into gear, but neither of us had placed any money on the diaper wipes, darnit.) Whenever possible, she will pop it open, pull out a wipe, and stuff it into her mouth. We’re constantly pulling wipes out of her little jaws. (Good thing they’re all-natural.) Hubby tasted one and said it is NOT good, so we can’t explain this.
Milestones: So many this month! Early in the month, Peanut finally mastered sitting up from a prone or supine position. We were pumped because it’s a necessary prerequisite to crawling. Now she’s gotten so good at it that she pops up as soon as we lay her down in her crib. Yay. That was her big accomplishment for about two weeks, and then about two weeks ago the CRAWLING started at last. At first, it was just a few feet – just enough to close the gap between her and her diaper wipes. But it didn’t take long for her little brain to realize that… eureka!… she can go ANYWHERE, and now she does. She’s gotten pretty fast, for a baby, and she can motor along at about the speed of a slow adult walk. Except for when you’re not looking at her, that is. Then she magically speeds up and when you glance over again, you’ll find her about to prod the floor grate with her little finger. Now that she’s got crawling down, she’s working on pulling up, and she’s done that a few times, mostly on Mom or Dad, or in her crib (hubby walked in and found her standing, and we immediately sent up several prayers of thanks that we had already dropped the mattress to the lowest setting - not a moment too soon). She doesn’t quite have the strength to pull up on the coffee table yet, but she’s working on it.
Quirks: Peanut has a new catch-phrase: “Book ‘em.” She repeats it over and over: “Book ‘em, book ‘em, book ‘em, book ‘em, book ‘em.” She will even do it on command. If you say, “Hey Peanut, book ‘em!” she’s off and running, arresting everyone in the joint. Obviously, she doesn’t know what she’s saying – she’s never seen so much as five minutes of a cop show. (We’re not big TV watchers, and she’s banned from screen time until she’s two anyway, by order of the occupational therapists in the NICU.) But it’s hysterically funny to listen to her arresting people. Hubby gets in on it, too: “But Peanut, what are we charging them with? What crime did they commit?!?!” Last weekend, we went out for sushi and she arrested everyone in the restaurant. Uncle Dan is especially excited about this development. He’s trying to teach her to take the next step and shout, “Book ‘em, Danno!” Because that’s an essential skill for a one-year-old, right?
I can’t believe I have a one-year-old. A gorgeous, inquisitive, funny, smart, silly, cuddly little one-year-old. I feel like the luckiest mom in the entire world! And I feel doubly lucky because I had this space to share the cutest, goofiest moments each month. These monthly updates have been something like a journal for me and it’s wonderful to know that I’ll have them to look back on forever. That said… this is the last one. All good things must come to an end, and Peanut is getting a little older now, so I want to respect her privacy. She’ll still be making regular blog appearances as I write about our adventures as a family. I’m also thinking of including some posts on crafts projects or activities we do together, and of course Peanut’s Picks will continue. And maybe someday there will be a little baby brother or sister, and we’ll start from the beginning again. In the meantime, thanks for reading. And if you’d like to check out Peanut’s other updates, you can find them on my Family tab, above, or right here:
Peanut: One Month
Peanut: Two Months
Peanut: Three Months
Peanut: Four Months
Peanut: Five Months
Peanut: Six Months
Peanut: Seven Months
Peanut: Eight Months
Peanut: Nine Months
Peanut: Ten Months
Peanut: Eleven Months