My baby boy is turning one tomorrow. I can hardly believe it.
It seems only a few months ago that my husband and I prepared for his homecoming: buying nursery furniture, painting his room, folding tiny clothes, practicing how to collapse the stroller, scheduling the car seat safety inspection, enrolling in the local hospital’s baby-safety classes, and attending baby showers hosted by dear friends and family in anticipation of his arrival.
In fact, one year ago this evening, I checked into the local hospital for my labor induction, both excited and nervous to meet our baby and finally become a mother.
My, how time flies.
Sometimes, I marvel at Benjamin’s existence. Our son. My son. I have a son.
The realization strikes me while observing him in a myriad of daily activities—angelically sleeping with his little bum in the air, joyously laughing his monkey laugh, happily splashing with abandon in the tub, speedily crawling across the floor, or cautiously taking a few more steps alone.
Since I once thought I never would have a child, and since Benjamin will be my only child, this dream’s late-in-life fruition is extra sweet.
So, on the eve of his first birthday, I hope to capture here a brief snapshot of Ben’s life today.
Ben is a social butterfly. We have attended a weekly Gymboree music class since Ben was six months old. Unlike the other babies, Ben constantly makes the rounds now, visiting with the other mommies and their babies. I admire this newfound independence; I know it’s healthy, but sometimes I miss holding him in my lap to sing and play. Just when I think he doesn’t need me anymore, he will look back to make sure I’m still there. When our eyes meet, he will smile and laugh and rush back and throw himself into my arms. What joy. Hugs and kisses abound. Is it possible to kiss those little cheeks too much?
Ben is “all-boy.” I’ve read about raising children without sexist stereotypes, nurturing both masculine and feminine traits. However, given a stuffed animal and a toy truck, he plays with the truck. Preferably, he wants two trucks to smash them into each other. He also likes to place books, bottles, and his stuffed animals in the back and push them around. This is serious business for him. I’m not surprised; Ben’s daddy is the same way, always thrilled to haul things home in his truck.
Ben loves dirt. And if dirt is good, mud is better. Indoor potted-plant dirt will suffice, but he prefers outdoor dirt any day. Ben not only enjoys dirt and mud, but he likes landscaping bark, rocks, the garden hose, and ants, too. Our latest routine now that the Texas weather is cooler is to sit on our back patio after dinner, enjoy a glass of wine, and let Benjamin play until bath time. His preferred patio exit is through the doggie door. I think evenings on the patio with us are his favorite activity.
Ben enjoys reading books. He will drop just about any pastime to read books in mommy’s lap. Ben has his favorites, musical books like Sandra Boynton’s Snuggle Puppy, Barnyard Dance, and Oh My, Oh My, Oh Dinosaurs. We read these at least twice a day. He also likes My Very Own Name, a custom rhyming book about his name, Benjamin. Ben is an engaged reader, pointing to pictures, speaking baby-talk, and helping me the turn the pages. This is my favorite time together.
Tomorrow is a special day. Ben is turning one, officially at 5:33 in the afternoon.
As I sit reflecting on events from nearly one year ago, I recall clearly how he looked when the nurse placed him in my arms—daddy’s dark hair, mommy’s blue eyes, his fragile-looking little body, and his soft and sweet baby smell. The sturdy and handsome, blonde-haired, and blue-eyed little boy I see before me today barely resembles the newborn from one year ago. And what a blessed year it has been. Happy first birthday, Benjamin, my blueberry-eyed boy.