At this time of year, many people are posting their year in review. What kind of year was 2009? What did they do, and what are they looking forward to in the coming decade? Some people are even brave enough to share their New Year’s resolutions with us.
The past year of my life can be summarized with one word: Penny. On the eve of my little girl’s first birthday I want to remember how we got to this day.
365 days ago, right about this time (8:00 pm), I was just getting moved into a delivery suite at the hospital. My labour had been induced 36 hours before with noticable contractions starting up about 28 hours before. It would be almost another 12 hours before Penny Elizabeth came into our world, a fashionable 12 days late. She was beautiful, and she was mine.
The first month of Penny’s life was spent focusing on the art of breastfeeding. My little 8 pound bundle of joy was STARVING! Or that’s how it seemed anyway. She ate every 2 hours, or more often than that sometimes. We were new at this, and weren’t exactly doing it right. I ended up in pain, but we got it figured out. It was my goal to be able to comfortably nurse Penny in public, without feeling the need to cover up either of us. I can proudly say we reached that goal!
When Penny was almost 6 weeks old, we discovered she had cataracts. Court was born with cataracts too, so we knew there was a 50/50 shot she’d get them. Luckily, we caught them before her eyes were developing too much, and she had surgery on both eyes to remove the cataracts and implant lenses by the time she was 9 weeks old. At 11 weeks old she got her first pair of glasses. Glasses for babies are kinda funny looking. But at that point it’s about functionality, not looks. And they grow out of the ugly frames quickly.
In March, Court and I finally grew up and bought a house. We wanted somewhere permanent and stable for Penny to grow up in, and maybe have some room for a little brother or sister for her eventually. We were building a house though, so it would be months before we actually got to live in our new house.
I think I spent most of April at The Clayground, painting pottery for everyone for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Penny was such a good girl! She’d sit in her carrier and sleep, or watch me and play with a couple of small toys. And of course, smile at everyone there! I’d make a mess of her trying to immortalize her footprints, but luckily the paint is non-toxic and washes off easy. I’d really love to go back and paint more pottery now (and can, since I got a gift card for Christmas), but Penny can’t go with me. She’s just too active now!
When Penny was 5.5 months old, she passed that all-important milestone: she got her first tooth! Once that first one broke through, they came fast and furiously. Within weeks she had the bottom front 4, and the outside top 2. Normally they get the front teeth first, then the outside 2, but not Penny! I was starting to think she’d want her front 2 teeth for Christmas. Now she has 11 and a twelfth one that’s been threatening to break through for a couple of weeks.
With the weather warming up, Penny and I spent alot of time visiting – grandparents and other babies from our prenatal classes. I looked forward to taking Penny swimming, although we didn’t do that until almost the end of June. We went to Riley Park a number of times, mostly with the other moms. Penny wasn’t as keen on swimming as I was, but she didn’t hate it. We didn’t have a bathtub in the house we were renting, so she didn’t know what to do with water. We always showered with her. Just now she’s learning about baths and bath toys.
Once Penny was old enough to start feeding her solid foods, I was all gung-ho on feeding her SOLID food and not jarred crap or cardboard dust pablum. For a while she did really good, gnawing on onions and peppers, sometimes on steak. But after a while she just stopped. She’d hold the food but it just didn’t go in her mouth anymore. Feeding her was a source of anxiety and confusion for me throughout the year. I found there’s alot of information if you want to make your own baby food, or how to feed your baby good nutrition. But there’s not alot of information on how to transition from breastfeeding to solid foods. Eventually I found out that breastmilk is still supposed to be the major source of nutrients until Penny is a year old, and I stopped worrying about it as much as I was.
In August, we went for swimming lessons. Now that Penny got to spend some real time in the water she started to learn about splashing and playing. Definitely no fear in that child! She would sit on the side of the pool and lean forward to fall into my arms. But she knew it was coming and would close her eyes before she got to the water. I really wish I could have taken some pictures there, but the pools have a no cameras policy.
In September, Penny got her second pair of glasses. Her prescription had changed drastically, surprising even her doctor! Her new glasses look so much better on her, causing the nickname “Professor Penny.”
Right around then I started to think about going back to work. I didn’t particularly want to, but at the same time, I was having a rough time at home with Penny. Going back to work would be a sanity thing for me, as in it would save my sanity. I ended up finding a job and starting there the same weekend we moved into our new house at the end of November. Why not do everything at once? Now Penny goes to a dayhome from 12:30-6 every day. It’s a good thing that she goes there, since she gets to interact with other toddlers. It’s kind of funny to see everything she picks up there, from new words like “uh-oh”, to trying to walk down the stairs. Unfortunately Penny doesn’t walk yet, so walking down the stairs doesn’t work too well for her.
And finally we got to Penny’s first Christmas! While I was still pregnant I was SO tempted to buy some of the Baby’s First Christmas outfits. But I was due on Christmas Eve, and I knew there was a good chance she might not be here in time to use them so I waited. Thankfully I did! It saved me alot of money, because by the time this Christmas rolled around, everyone forgot it was her first Christmas. We only ended up with 2 tree ornaments instead of all the the cute little shirts and onesies I would have bought last year. Penny might have been almost a year old but she doesn’t understand the concept of Santa or gifts. We ended up opening most of her gifts for her, but she was quite happy to play with them once we opened them.
And now, 364 days later, we’re ready to celebrate the anniversary of our baby’s birth. I love Penny so much! There’s nothing I’d rather do than snuggle with her. I love watching her play, I love watching her interact with people, I love listening to her babble. I love recognizing each step of her development as it happens, and anticipating what the next one will be. I love waking up in the morning and hearing her “mumumumumumumum” as she calls for me. I love when she falls asleep in my arms as I nurse her. I love looking back at her from the front seat of the car and seeing her adorable smile peeking out from the confines of her snowsuit. It absolutely melts my heart when she lays down on the floor and puts her head on the dog. It breaks my heart to hear her cry.
The year was hard – harder than I thought it would be. I thought being a mom came naturally; that I’d just know what to do and when. I thought Penny would know what her role was. And I trusted that the doctors would know what they were supposed to do. I guess it doesn’t work that way though, and I find that the past year has actually been a struggle. There has been pain, both emotional and physical. There has been depression, for both myself and Court. There has been tears, from all three of us. But would I change anything? Hellz no! I wouldn’t trade the past year for anything in the world. All it takes is one smile from my little girl, and my whole world is right again!
Happy Birthday tomorrow, Penny!
Coming tomorrow: Horoscopes for the next year of Penny’s life.