the best year of my life

I was not one of those people who always assumed they would have kids. I mean, when I was younger, I loved my big family and figured I would have a big family, too. But then I went to college and I fell in love with learning. And I chased that dream for more than 10 years, moving from state to state and school to school. And then suddenly, I wasn’t a kid anymore. And instead of a big house full of kids, I had a husband, three degrees, three beloved boogies, and a rented condo.

Mr. Phish and I did not enter into parenthood lightly. We talked about it. A lot. We crunched numbers, we shared fears and concerns, we looked at it six ways until Sunday. I cried. I prayed. I journaled. I worried. I dreamed. I read. I dove into parenthood like I do everything–full bore, armed with as much information as I could get my hands on. And then we decided to go for it. So I went off birth control and we held our breath.

And then…nada. So we went to doctors and ran tests and paid exorbitant lab fees. And the reproductive endocrinologist leaned across the desk in his uber-expensive, lavishly decorated office and told us it wasn’t going to happen without intervention. We looked down the list of tests and the number of zeroes beside them and left the office with heavy hearts, knowing we didn’t have the money to do any of it.

And then we got pregnant. And we immediately feared we had ruined our lives. I hated being pregnant. It freaked me out and I felt like crap the entire time. I ate enough Tums to turn my insides into chalk dust forever. And then, on my due date, my water broke at work and it was go time.

And then he was here.
DSC_0791He was a tiny peanut baby, healthy and happy from the start.

one month
The first month was damn near impossible (thanks, postpartum depression). It was a huge adjustment for all of us, but he was a happy baby and a good sleeper from the very start.

two months
This is the month I fell in love with him. We spent mornings out on the deck drinking coffee and listening to the birds. He cried and cried because of gas bubbles, and all of his dark birth hair fell out and was replaced by peach fuzz.

DSC_0785 copy
This was the month of smiles. My maternity leave was almost over so I was soaking up every last minute of the drooly, smiling baby goodness.

We started day care this month, and I cried every single day when I dropped him off. He loved chewing on his toes and kicking so hard he bounced himself right out of the bouncy seat.

5 months
He got sick for the first time this month, just a week after starting day care. He started to realize that kitties are a great source of entertainment and became a great giggler. I also learned how scary it is to have a baby with a fever. To this day, fevers still scare the crap out of me.

He became a motormouth this month, babbling up a storm. Still perpetually sick but didn’t let it slow him down. An amazingly happy, easy baby boy.

He fell in love with sweet potatoes and bananas this month and ate them every chance he got. Started crawling Thanksgiving weekend and never looked back.

His favorite activities this month: climbing on and off his chair, reading the kitten book, couch-surfing, and chasing the kitties. Six teeth also showed up this month, all at once. I still cried every day when I dropped him off at day care, so I quit my full-time job and moved to part-time so I could spend more time with my beautiful boy.

Another month, another ear infection, another round of antibiotics. He also caught a stomach bug this month and started clicking his tongue to imitate his daddy. Loved to bang the measuring cups and holler.

ten months
This month, Daddy taught him to go up and down the stairs. He loved to be chased and to chase you.  He started emptying the kitchen drawers and cupboards within reach. He also fought scary high fevers with this month’s crud (hello 104 degrees! I hope I never see you again) and forgot most of his sleep training.

11 months
He took his first steps this month and we were amazed at quickly he mastered walking. He loved to read his books and his facial expressions alternated between intense concentration and huge smiles. After seven ear infections in as many months, we finally got the okay from our doctor to get tubes put in his ears.

DSC_0948 (1)
And now he’s a walking, talking, smiling, sweet one-year-old. He is very thoughtful–always studying what is around him and craning his neck for a better look. Always has a smile ready for a stranger and lights up when his daddy gets home from work.

Even in writing this post, it’s remarkable to me how the year was both fast and slow. In some ways, it seems like he’s been around for years. In other ways, he seems like my tiny, fresh peanut baby. It’s been a year of amazing milestones and firsts and so much learning (for him and for us!!). There have been heartaches and tears and hard moments, but I can say, without hesitation, that this has been the best year of my life. He is my heart.


12 thoughts on “the best year of my life

  1. I love that you photographed him that way to really track the changes month by month. I’ve thought about doing this with my kids, but never got my act together. Love it, and also love your honesty here.

    • Thanks! I am obsessed with photographing him–it’s getting out of hand. But I know the time is going to fly by and I don’t want to forget even one tiny thing about him. He’s magic to me.

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