Today is your first birthday and I can’t even believe it!Â I can’t believe that it’s been a whole year, but I also can’t believe that it’s ONLY been a year.Â It feels like I have known you my whole life, buddy.
I hope you know how much your Daddy and I love having you in our lives.Â You make everything better and more exciting.Â I’ve never known how much fun a blow up duck bath tub could be.Â And before you, my Tupperware just held food.Â I never knew how cool remote controls were.Â But you’ve shown me that even these little things can be fun for hours and hours.Â I love that you open my eyes to things that I never noticed before you were here.
You know, you came around during a lot of changes in our family.Â I was so nervous and scared about uprooting you and taking you away from your home in Connecticut, but you never skipped a beat.Â You looked ahead and just kept on going.Â Every day I as sure that you would just crack under all the changes around you, but you never stopped smiling, Bean Man.Â You didn’t hide from the change or try to rebel against it.Â You just took it one day at a time and found the joy in what was happening that minute – moving boxes made great forts, new people all around became new friends, and different places meant new things to explore.
I think that is what you have taught me the most this past year, Bean.Â You’ve been teaching me that lesson ever since I was pregnant with you and you decided not to be born the regular way because it was a better view for you to sit head-up.Â You taught me that lesson when you would wake up in theÂ middle of the night as a little, little baby and we would have just as much fun at 4am as we did at 10am.Â You taught me that lesson when you started daycare and took it like a champ (much better than I did!).Â You taught me that lesson when you started eating solid food and you skipped baby food altogether.Â You taught me that lesson as you grew up and started changing so much every single day.Â You’ve taught me that change doesn’t have to be scary.Â If you just take it one day at a time and appreciate what the Good Lord has given you in that moment, you spend your days thankful and happy.Â I hope you keep that outlook for many, many more birthdays.
The past year has been the best year of my whole life, Bean.Â I never knew I could love someone like I love you – so completely, so much.Â I have felt so full of love that it has poured out into other areas of my life and I have become a more compassionate person and a more loving wife, too.Â And you will never know how many people that impacts simply because you are in my life.
I hope this next year brings us so many more adventures, Bean Bean.Â I hope it brings so much more change.Â And I hope that as your world grows, that mine will grow, too.Â I love you a million, trillion, bajillion times!!!
Happy birthday, buddy -
Read Chris’ birthday letter to Bean over in The Man Cave.
Be sure to check out the Bean’s birthday video slide show over on the Confessions page.
I don’t know about other babies, but with Bean it feels like he goes through weeks where he doesn’t grow or change at all and then all of a sudden he wakes up one morning and he’s doubled in size and is now taking SAT prep exams in his crib.Â The other morning this happened and I ran to get my camera because I just KNEW he looked older than when I put him down the night before.
When this happens, I suddenly feel like I am unprepared.Â Like, he now has all these different needs and I’m not prepared to provide those to him.Â I mean, I don’t really remember my multiplication tables past 10 and LOOK AT HIM!Â He’s basically needing trigonometry tutors now!
In these instances, I try to focus on the things I CAN do to help him as he grows.Â And I definitely can get him some new clothes in bigger sizes.Â And he needed them badly.Â For so long he sort of plateaued in his growth and so he was still wearing nine month clothes and even some six month jumpers that still fit him.Â But when he suddenly goes through growth spurts, he practically needs a whole new wardrobe.
Lucky for Bean, his Mom and Nana are professional shoppers.Â So, this past weekend, we hit the Carter’s outlet and got Beanie some new duds.
First, he was in desperate need of pajamas.Â All the ones he had were footie jammies and he was suddenly too long for them, so they pulled at this neck when he wore them.Â It was definitely time to upgrade Bean to big boy jammies and aren’t these perfect?Â If they’d had them in Chris’ size, I would have gotten him a set, too.Â And (after a few cocktails) he totally would have worn them.
Carter’s also had these sets of PJ’s that had a top with PJ pants and shorts.Â I love the dino pants with this set!
Bean also needed some new romper play clothes and Carter’s had t-shirts and shorts on sale for $5, so we stocked up.Â And look how big the clothes are!!Â Well, relatively speaking.Â They look enormous compared to his old clothes and I was sure that he would have to grow into them.Â But when we got home and I tried them on him, everything fit perfectly!Â What happened to my little bean?
I also got him a few one-piece rompers.Â These are my favorite thing to pack in a diaper bag.Â Instead of packing a change of clothes, I can just throw one romper in there and if I need to change his clothes, it is much faster when we’re out somewhere.Â They are just easy in general.Â And they had these rompers on sale for $5, too.
And while we were there, we got him his birthday outfits.Â I found him the cutest little safari outfit to wear when we go to Disney’s Animal Kingdom.Â There are hippos and elephants and safari animals on the shorts and a matching little shirt.Â And the best part is that the shorts are really bathing suit trunks, so if he wants to play in the water at the park to cool down, he should dry pretty quickly.
And Nana found him a safari hat to wear to keep the sun out of his face at the park…
I also got him a little birthday shirt to wear on his actual birthday when we have our little family party.Â I can’t explain why, but I have been excited about buying this shirt since I was pregnant.Â I remember walking around Carter’s with newborn onesies in my hand and I’d come across the little stand holding the first birthday clothes and I’d get all excited.Â It was just a happy reminder to me that I wasn’t just going to have him as a baby, but that I’d get to keep him!Â I know that’s so weird, but it was just one of those things that I have been waiting for as a mom.Â Strange, huh?
I can’t believe how fast Bean is growing these days.Â Overnight he just takes off and before I know it I’m having to buy him new clothes so he has something to wear!Â But it is so exciting, too, because as his little body gets bigger, so does his mind.Â He is doing so much more these days as he grows.Â He has started babbling and chatting again after about a month of being pretty quiet.Â And he’s doing just like I thought he was.Â He must have just been soaking it all in for that month because now he seems to be so much better at speaking.Â He can say a few more words now, most recently it was “Granddad,” which sounds like, “GggggggDad.”Â So adorable!Â And he is learning Lucy and Molly’s names, too.Â Every now and then I think he says, “dog,” when he points to one of them, so we’re also teaching him, “What does a doggy say?Â Woof Woof!”Â He thinks its hysterical and after I do about 2,000 times, he’ll sit there for a minute and then go, “Woof.”
You can just see him soaking up what is around him.Â He points to things all the time and when you tell him what it is, he’ll try to mimic the sounds you make.Â Its a pretty fun game for all of us.Â But his favorite game right now is Patty Cake.Â He’ll clap him hands until you start saying the rhyme and he’s starting to “roll ‘em up” and “throw it in the pan!”Â It makes all of us laugh and Bean thinks he’s pretty stinkin’ smart.
Growth spurts are strange, weird, incredible things.Â You literally watch your baby grow up right in front of your eyes.Â It is amazing and makes me so excited for the things that are about to come for Bean.Â And I can’t help but think that if we’re having this much fun right now, what will next month bring us?
I have noticed a few disturbing trends in Bean’s preference of toys the last few weeks.Â And as a concerned parent, I thought I would air my anxiety for you all to judge.
It started with this medicine dropper that I use to give Bean Benedryl.Â Since we have moved to Florida, he hasn’t needed Benedryl once.Â But when we lived in Connecticut, the kid was sick all the time.Â Part of it was the cold weather and part of it was that he was in daycare.Â It seemed like he lived on Benedryl.Â And I knew there was a little problem when I would pull out the rubber medicine dropper and Bean would squeal with delight.
So, one afternoon when I couldn’t get Bean to stop yelling profanities at me because I had the nerve to birth him without any teeth, I reached out to grab the nearest anything that Bean could chew on.Â What my hand landed on was the rubber medicine dropper from the Benedryl.Â Bean loved it.Â He chewed on that thing for HOURS.Â Sure, it looked a little weird for a baby to be gnawing on a medicine dropper, but whatever it took to appease the teething beast was what I was sticking with.
But then Bean found the same kind of rubber tip on the baby Tylenol bottle.Â This was my fault again.Â I was changing Bean’s diaper one afternoon and he was crying and I reached around for something to give him to play with and distract him and I ended up handing him a bottle of infant Tylenol.Â He went straight for the rubber dropper and started chewing.Â I knew it was wrong to give my baby a bottle of medicine to chew on, but if you are judging me right now then CLEARLY you have not met my child when he is teething and possessed by the Devil.
But then it happened again.
A few weeks ago when I was at my sister’s wedding and had that little blip in the ambulance and emergency room, the doctors prescribed me two pain killers and a muscle relaxer.Â Which I never took.Â I have really bad reactions to most medication, so anything really strong is just terrible for me and I try to avoid taking them.Â That meant I had these three really full prescription bottles.Â And Bean loves to shake things.Â And these bottles full of pills shake perfectly.Â And the bottles are small, so they fit in his grubby little paws.
Now, individually, each of these things doesn’t seem TOO horrific.Â I mean, its not an example of A+ parenting or anything, but I think they each are fairly understandable.Â Especially if you’ve been a parent to a viciously teething child.
But there have been signs that I have perhaps started my child down the wrong path.
Every time Bean sees a bottle of pills, infant Tylenol, or a medicine dropper, he starts flailing around and squealing like a kid on Christmas morning.Â Very hard to explain to strangers.
Bean is the only child on the playground who brings muscle relaxers to play with.
So, we have cut the medication utensils out of Bean’s life cold turkey now.Â No more prescription pain killer bottles.Â No more Tylenol rubber stoppers.Â No more medicine droppers.Â Nadda.
Because the way I see it, there is a 50/50 chance that this might indicate Bean becoming a doctor one day.Â But there is also a 50/50 chance that he might become a pill popper.Â So.Â You know.Â Probably best to just nip this in the bud.
On Saturday, Bean turned eleven months old.Â We were at my parent’s house for the day, playing in their community pool with my mom and grandma.Â We had so much fun that I hardly noticed what day it was.Â But that afternoon when we got home and Bean laid down for his nap, my Mom mentioned something about starting to plan his first birthday party.
Holy crap.Â My baby is about to turn one.
Month eleven has been so stinking fun.Â It was such a “go” month for us.Â First, Bean had his first Easter…
Then, we went to the shuttle launch at 4:00 in the morning…
Then we got into a brawl at church group…
Then we went to Aunt Ginny’s wedding…
After that we went to the Disney character breakfast with our friends, Ann, Chad, and Nater Tater…
We finally put away Bean’s baby swing…
We went to our first Gator baseball game (post coming soon)…
And we ended the month at Nana and Granddad’s in the pool (post coming soon)…
April was all about adventures in our house and Bean’s age made it the perfect time to explore.Â I learned about Bean that he is hardly scared of anything – a characteristic that is sure to make the next 10 years terrifying as a parent.Â In situations where I wasn’t sure how he’d react, he was such a trooper.Â At the shuttle launch, I worried he would be scared of the noise.Â At Ginny’s wedding, I worried that all those strangers holding him would make him nervous.Â At Disney, I worried he would be scared of the characters.Â At the pool, I worried that he would be scared of the water.Â But in all those situations, Bean took a minute to get his bearings and then a smile was never far behind.
I remember the night before Bean was born, I wrote a letter to him on this blog.Â I told him the reason we were having a c-section was because he was sitting straight up in my belly, facing outward.Â It was like he wanted the very best view possible of the world.Â He was curious about all he was seeing and he didn’t want to turn head-down because he was afraid he would miss something.Â Isn’t it funny now that we are almost a year from that night and Bean seems to have really grown into that curious little bean that he was in my belly?Â I just love that about him and I know his life – and mine – will be full of adventures because he is so curious.
Because of all this new activity and exploration, Bean has no time or patience these days for meals.Â He has cut back his formula intake by almost half, hopefully in preparation for starting whole milk after his first birthday.Â And he is a complete mess in his high chair now.Â Nothing stays in his mouth anymore.Â Instead, he chews on it for a minute, then takes it out of his mouth with his hand and throws it.Â He has also started feeding the dogs when he’s eating.Â It used to be that he dropped or threw food off his tray and the dogs just happened to be there.Â But now, he actually reaches over the side of his high chair and gently hands the food to the dogs.
Needless to say, a new development in our house this month has been the use of the word, “No.”
We have started saying no to Bean now more consistently.Â Not that it matters if we are consistent or not.Â Bean thinks no means, “I dare you.”Â I try not to use the word too much because it really is becoming a game for him, but the kid is into EVERYTHING.Â He loves the dog’s water bowls most of all.Â He crawls into the kitchen and splashes in those bowls until he’s caught.Â And you would think that with two of us home with him, it would hardly ever happen.Â But at least once a day, I hear the pitter patter of little hands in the dog bowls.Â I don’t know how it happens.Â I have no explanation.Â He also loves the drawers in the entertainment console in our living room.Â He crawls over there, opens the drawer where we keep his movies, and pulls one out, waving it around until we put it in for him to watch.Â Smart?Â Yes.Â Annoying?Â YES, because we also keep remote controls in there and so half the time his little bear paw finds a remote and he starts resetting our television or DVD player.Â It really messes up Chris’ little electronic world.
But he’s not just playing with things he can’t have.Â His taste in toys is changing altogether recently.Â He doesn’t really like his hand toys and small plush things from a few months ago.
His favorite things at the moment are balls and cars.Â Anything that rolls, really.Â And whenever he is pushing something around, he makes the engine sound, “Grrrrr….”Â It is so funny.Â We bought him his first dump truck and it was love at first sight.Â I don’t think he’s put that thing down since we gave it to him.Â Its amazing the happiness that $3.97 can bring.
He also likes toys that make a lot of noise and require him to bang on them.Â He’s a big banger.Â And the more buttons and knobs, the better.Â These are the more expensive of his toys right now, so he doesn’t have too many of them.Â But with his birthday around the corner, I think our house is about to get a whole lot LOUDER.
But what he spends the most time play with are things that he can put other things into.Â I gave him an old formula box and he has carried that thing around everywhere.Â He puts his binky in there and then takes it out about a million times a day.
With all the excitement and new interest in activity-driven toys, Bean seems to have slowed down a little – maybe even regressed – on his talking.Â He was making all these noises and sounds and even saying quite a few words.Â He could say mama, dada, bottle (ba-ba), ball, and other little things like that.Â Mostly they were just sounds that he had associated with something.Â But this month, all we seem to be able to get out of him is “da.”Â Everything is “da.”Â Usually, he points to something, we tell him what it is, and then he says, “da.”Â I’m trying not to worry too much about that because I know that growth and progression happens in stages and that this is probably just a time where he’s taking more in, as opposed to sending things out.Â But I do hope he starts talking again soon!
Standing and walking are just on the horizon.Â We catch him all the time standing and playing with something, but the minute he realizes what he’s doing, he squats down again for safety.Â I think the minute he gets brave enough to let go of everything, he’ll be flying around the house.Â Though, truth be told, I’m not exactly encouraging that yet.Â Momma’s tired enough!!!Â But I don’t think it will be long now until Bean is walking through all these adventures we are taking.
Yeah, eleven months has been active and exciting and adventurous and EXHAUSTING!Â But it is definitely my favorite month so far.Â I say that every month, but I REALLY mean it this time!Â He’s so much fun right now.Â His personality is shining, his preferences are becoming more pronounced, he’s on the go and ready for anything.Â He’s never been happier.
And neither have his parents.