Dear Alex

Dear Alex,

Well, I’m almost a week late with this and if we weren’t having such a good time on our vacation I would probably feel like a crappy mom. BUT, we ARE having fun on our vacation so I DON’T feel like a crappy mom! Great, isn’t it?

On July 3, 2011 at 3:19 pm you quietly made your way into this world. I say quietly because you started to come out with the chord around your neck, and the doctor barely got it cut before you shot the rest of the way out. You let out a bit of a cry as they put you on my chest and wiped you up. It wasn’t until they took you to weigh and measure that you really protested, until you were back on my chest. Then you quietly took in the world around you.

On Tuesday of this week you turned 1. I can’t believe a whole year has gone by already.

Your birthday wasn’t all fabulousness. Most kids would get special treatment. You got 4 teeth and 5 shots in your arms and legs when we got your vaccinations updated. I was sad when I found out we’d have to get them done on your birthday, but after the initial cry, you were more concerned about the toys than the fact that you’d just been double teamed by two health nurses to get you all up to date.

We did have a little family party with Nanna and Pappa, Auntie Andrea and Uncle Darren, your cousin Sulli and of course, our little family. Olivia was more excited about the cake and presents than anyone else and didn’t quite understand that it was your birthday. We had cake with cupcakes on the side, and you had no clue what was going on and why everyone was so excited. Which, resulted in crying. Sorry it was so traumatic.

It’s all fun and games until someone cries.

You did enjoy stabbing your cupcake with a spoon though, so that has to count for something. You didn’t enjoy tasting it. One little nibble was all you needed, and the screwed up face let us know it was better to let you keep stabbing than eating.

Maybe this isn’t so bad…

You loved the toy cars from Nanna and Pappa, and the super hero cape that Auntie Andrea made. Now we don’t need to worry about you only having tutus to dress up in when you play with Olivia.

The whole point of writing these letters to you and your sister is so that we can all look back at who the two of you were as you grew up and to keep track of some of the things that were going on for you guys. So, who are you now, at 1?

You, on the second day of your outside life.

Almost one year later.

Well, you’re my little charmer. I can look at you from across the room, and when you make eye contact you break out in a big smile, just for me. You love to give Daddy snuggles, but you’re Mommy’s boy. I’ve heard that rings true for lots of boys, and I won’t complain.

You are funny and expressive. One of your favorite words is “Oh!” We often hear you say it when something surprising happens, which makes the situation even funnier. You love to laugh and you have a great belly laugh that Olivia is a master at bringing out. Daddy has his ways too, which usually involve tossing you on the bed after you try to crawl away really fast when it’s time to put your pyjamas on. It’s become so much of a game that diaper changes are a nightmare now. Thanks Daddy!

You love to snuggle. Your new discovery, and favorite morning activity now, is to come crawl in bed with me after Daddy gets up, have a bottle the nestle down and go back to sleep with me. Until now you always thought being on the bed meant it was time to play, so I’m actually really excited that you’ve discovered this sleep in and snuggle routine because it means I get to hold you close and enjoy feeling you next to me while I get to watch you sleep. You especially love to be burrowed under the blankets, and you always have to be touching me with some part of your body. I’ve tried moving you over so I can have a bit of space, but you just wiggle your little self back next to me and then let out a big sigh of contentedness and fall back into a deep slumber. We’ve slept hours away in the last week and I love it.

I love too that you reach out for me when you just need the comfort of my arms. That’s your safe place.  You snuggle in and just take a break from the world.

You love to travel! Because of the life we live and the way we do vacations, this makes Daddy and I really happy. You giggled and smiled the whole time the plane was taking off and landing, like it was some fair ride. And, the first time we got in the van to start our drive to BC you laughed like it was some big, free adventure, which I guess it really is. You get excited when you get put in your car seat or stroller because you just want to see what’s next. You love it so much that the other day when I was doing some organizing in the van you actually climbed in your seat and sat there like you were all ready to go.

You love all things with motors and wheels. Toys, real cars and machines… you name it. If it moves or makes any kind of engine sound you are totally entranced. You love to crawl around pushing things like cars on the floor. Even if they have no wheels. You rode on a friends plastic trike and kept making an engine sound with your lips. I think you’re going to be like Daddy when it comes to engines. He ordered some parts for the van and when they arrived you watched him playing with them and tried to put them together just like he did. Your concentration was amazing and it just confirmed that you have his mechanical brain.

You’re a very happy little man. The only time you kick up a fuss is when you’re tired, hungry, or not getting your own way. It’s kind of funny, actually. You throw yourself on the floor and cry. You only need a minute and then you’re ready to move on. Recently you’ve been figuring out what “NO” means and will often shake your head when I tell you “no”. I’m glad you’re paying attention.

You have a great sense of humor too. You think it’s really funny to drop food onto the floor to feed George, Nanna and Pappa’s dog. It got to be such a distraction that George now has to go outside during meal times so you actually eat your dinner. You also thought it was funny when I walked into a sign yesterday in the mall parking lot. Nanna told me you let out a big belly laugh when you saw it from the car. Thanks kid.

You’re learning to walk, though you’re very calculated about it. You’ve taken steps here and there, but haven’t decided to fully commit yet. Often you’ll stand up and then go through a process of assessing the distance and difficulty and then decide to crawl. It’s a catch twenty-two for us – we want you to walk because you’re so stinkin’ heavy, but we know that when you do life is going to be crazy because you’ll be into all sorts of things.

Speaking of weight… we had you and Olivia weighed when you got your vaccinations done and you came in at 31.5 inches and 28.6 lbs. Olivia weighed 27 lbs at 2 1/2 years old, which was normal. She’s now 34.8 lbs and 41 inches. Not bad. 3 1/2 years between you and less than a 7 lb difference. When you’re both on the floor and you decide to lay on her she’s pretty much pinned. Good thing she thinks it’s funny.

You two are so funny together. You love each other so much that you literally light up when you see each other, even if it’s just first thing in the morning after a good sleep. This morning you crawled into Olivia’s room and when I put you on the bed you crawled right up on top of her and snuggled in. You have both already figured out that fighting is a normal part of having siblings too. I wasn’t quite ready for it to start so early, to be honest. But, it has and as annoying as it can be I’m glad you’re both normal.

As of today you have almost all of your first teeth. Just one more molar waiting to poke through, but it’s trying really hard. When you do things you like to go all the way. Why cut one or two eye teeth at once when you can do all 4??? The good thing is that in a matter of a week you pretty much wrapped up your teething for the next year.

Well Alex, I think that pretty much sums you up at 1. I can’t believe how much joy you’ve brought into our home. You’ve rounded off our family and added so much. Yes, things get chaotic at times, but we know that this is such a small part of life that I’m trying to savor all of it even when I feel exhausted. We know that this is the last time we’ll go through the baby years and are looking forward to seeing you become the little person that God made you to be. I get excited when I think about what’s to come in the next year. You’ll be walking and cruising around, exploring life. Hopefully you’ll start talking and letting us know more of what’s going on in that not so little head of yours. Life will slowly get easier as we transition from bottles to full solids and not having to pack so much stuff around. You’ll grow more hair. You’ll wear size 3 or 4 clothes. You’ll be in size 10 shoes. Okay, maybe not 10 but probably 8 by the time we’re done. You’ll probably be almost the same height as your sister if you keep going at the rate that you have. Maybe you’ll even be driving.

Little Man, I love you so much and am so grateful for that day when the doctor told us we were having a boy rather than the girl we expected. It threw us, but in the best way possible. I can’t imagine not having a boy, and not having YOU. I’m so grateful for who you already are and for everything you’ll bring to our family over the years.

Happy Birthday!

~Love Mom

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About Leslie

I'm Leslie. Wife. Mother. Missionary. In the day to day my husband and I are responsible for running Clean Water for Haiti, a humanitarian mission that builds and distributes water filters to Haitian families. Living in Haiti full time provides lots of stories, and as I tell my husband, our grandkids probably won't believe most of them. Maybe writing them down will give me some credibility.

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