Thursday, October 13, 2011

our first year favorites (part two)

Dear Em,
To continue the discussion of our top twelve first year favorites, let's start with: you were a very active baby. It's possible I still have internal damage from your kicks & punches in the womb. Once you were born, you were always trying to roll, jump, kick, walk, climb. On any given day, our emotions run the gammut from amazed by what you have just physically accomplished to white knuckle scared that you are going to experience an injury from trying to be an olympic athlete.


I don't know if we didn't register for one or we just didn't get one. We realized soon before you were born that we didn't have one & your daddy's cousin offered to let us borrow hers. I cannot believe how much we used this. You were less than a week old the first time you played in the gym, and you loved it. The different colors you could focus your little eyes one & the hanging things that you could reach for & kick fascinated you. We actually had baby playdates with you & your baby best friend in your gym. You loved the gym so much that Nonnie & Papi bought one when we went to visit them, & they let us take that one back with us (we kept one upstairs & one downstairs). The one from Nonnie & Papi also had lights & music. I loved to listen to your baby giggles & your baby gurgle conversations with the hanging animals. Your gym gave me the time I needed to fix my hair in the morning, & it made tummy time (which was often a disaster due to the acid reflux) a little more bearable for you.

Daddy, Em, & her first wheels

Oh-Em-Gee, I can't help but smile thinking of you cruising around in your walker. It was your very first car, & let's just say we're a little more than worried about your future driving skills. You were an early walker (yup, you were only 8 1/2 months old when you started toddling on your own), but we had a feeling early on that you probably would be. From your very first month of life, you were constantly trying to stand & push off with your legs. We tried to be your human walkers, but it was incredibly tiring & uncomfortable bending down & holding you so your feet just met the floor as you put one foot in front of the other. So, off you & I went to Babies R Us to buy a walker. I wasn't originally planning to buy you your first convertible. I plopped you into the one at the store, & you were just too stinkin' cute. In fact, a woman walking by (maybe a Babies R Us employee in disguise) said, "She looks so cute. You just have to buy that one for her." You used that walker everyday from that day until the day you started walking on your own (in fact, Nonnie & Papi bought one for their house & Grandma & Papa bought a walker for their house for when you went to visit). You crashed into everything, & we loved it. I'm hoping we can save your walker for hopefully our grand-little loves, because they don't make this one anymore. 

rocker or yoga ball

Before you were born, I had dreams of rocking you in a rocking chair. I was going to use it to sit on as we read together & as I sang you to sleep. The glider/ottoman were your Daddy's Christmas presents to me the Christmas before you were born (I was hoping you would be my Christmas present that year, but you missed it by 5 days). Your rapid movements before you were born should have clued us in to the fact you would want to constantly be moving once born. As an infant (and for the most part still now), you never wanted to be still. We literally had to bounce our bodies as we held you if we were sitting in a still spot. The glider provided a perfect amount of movement for you as an infant, & we still sit in it as we read bedtime stories and say our prayers before bed. However, gliders (& ottomans) can be quite pricey & also take up space. For some, a rocking chair is not an option, and we found a good alternative: the yoga ball. Like I said, you wanted to constantly be moving, but we live in a multiple floor house. I briefly considered asking your daddy to transport the glider & ottoman downstairs during the day & bring them back upstairs in the evenings. I quickly realized how many ways that could go wrong. So, when downstairs we were forced to stand & rock our bodies while holding you or look like we were having seizures by bouncing our bodies as we sat. Then one day I realized how well sitting on the yoga ball & bouncing worked to sooth you. It's portable, compact, & inexpensive. Your aunt Jennie watched me sooth your baby cries as we gently bounced one night & exclaimed, "you have just taught me that I don't need a rocking chair- just a yoga ball." I guess it's true. Although, I wouldn't suggest bedtime stories on the yoga ball. 
*As an added bonus, your nonnie & aunt Jennie made me bounce on the yoga ball to try to induce labor when you didn't come by your due date. It didn't work, but that's another letter.*


With your need for constant movement, your crib & pack & play were not conducive to sleep in our household. The swing was a lifesaver. The movement of the swing calmed you, & the nice thing about the one that we got you was that we could alter it to swing from side to side or back to front. We could also recline you more or less. You slept in the swing for all of your naps & each night for almost three months. At around three months old you basically signaled to us that you were ready for the crib by screaming until we moved you from the swing to the crib, where you slept perfectly fine for the rest of the night (to my horror! I wasn't ready for you to sleep in your own room, yet...but I guess you needed your space). Those first three months, you made it too easy on us. You started sleeping from basically 11pm to 5 or 6am by the time you were a week old, &, except for a few times when you've been sick, sleep has been a wonderful & easy thing in our house (knock on wood). I give the credit to the swing...& God.


Keeping with the theme that you were always moving, you really enjoyed your bouncer & exersaucer. They both allowed you to always keep your feet and hands active. We really enjoyed the bouncer & exersaucer, because they allowed us to get things done. Once putting you in one of these, we had a good 20 minutes of free time for our hands. We kept the bouncer attached to a doorway upstairs. So, if I needed to put laundry away, fix my hair, or do some upstairs cleaning, you were happy to help me along with my tasks by happily bouncing away. We kept the exersaucer downstairs. The exersaucer allowed us to do dishes, vaccumming, & make dinner. I know, it's a charmed life we lead, right? I've put the bouncer & exersaucer into the same category, because you probably would have been just as satisfied with one or the other. In fact, they make some bouncers-exsersaucer combos. I think they're called jumperoos.

activity table

Once you started to toddle around, you no longer wanted to be confined in things like the walker, exersaucer, bouncer, & swing. So, unfortunately, we didn't get much more use out of those once you turned 8 1/2 months & started walking. I didn't even know about activity tables until one day when we picked you up at the church nursery. You were so excited to be standing & playing without being stuck inside of something. We found that they are very reasonably priced (in comparison to other baby toys), & we bought one for our house. The one that we picked was musical, & your eyes just lit up each & every time you hit a button on the table. You were holding on to the table with the music playing the first time we watched you dance on your own. You rocked from side to side, from one foot to the other foot. You were so happy & carefree as you toddled from your activity table to the ottomans & back to your activity table. I think we loved watching you play at that table as much as you loved playing at it.

There were so many things that made you smile & brought light into your eyes that first year, but these were just a few of our favorites. I wonder if you will have little loves of your own someday & what their favorites might be.

I love you so,

1 comment:

  1. The activity table was also a great Spanish teacher for cousin Michaela.


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