*Miracle blanket: I've mentioned this modern marvel before, but it bears repeating! When we finally got our act together and realized there were ways of keeping you swaddled, despite your insistence otherwise, we all finally got some much-needed shut eye! We swaddled you until you were about 5 months old. If I had my way, we'd have kept swaddling you until you left for college. It was THAT wonderful! You'll always be my adorable little swaddled worm baby!
*Adventuring: Adventuring is what we call "going somewhere... anywhere... other than the house." You loved going on adventures with us to malls, other stores, visiting family/friends, the park, etc. From very early in your life you weren't too content to just stay home all of the time. You were (are) a very social kiddo who wanted to see and be seen by the entire world!
*Bananas: Oh dear lord... bananas. You are APE (heh... get it?) over these things. It was the first food you asked for by name (nana? nana? nana? times infinity) and whenever you see one, you must have it. Just last weekend you ate your first "entire banana in one sitting" and it was HUGE. This was no wimpy banana! But, then again, you do not possess a wimpy tummy!
*Sound machine: When I read the book Happiest Baby on the Block one of the suggestions was to introduce a somewhat loud (think: vacuum cleaner loud) white-noise sound to a fussy/irritable baby. We went to Target and found a sound machine because, prior to that, we had been using our iPods' free Rainmaker app and it just wasn't cutting it. The sound machine has been a HUGE help in getting you to sleep and, almost more importantly, keeping you there. We live in a fairly active neighborhood (aka: loud as hell sometimes) and the sound machine drowns out a lot of the noise, letting you rest and keeping me from getting all murder-y on the neighbors. It's a win-win situation!
*Music: From a very early age you liked to "dance" and "sing" along to the music in the car, on the TV, and coming from the mouths of your mom and dad. We have high hopes for you joining us at karaoke someday!
*Crinkle puppy: Crinkle puppy was your first "buddy" when it came to car rides. Crinkle puppy was pretty much what he sounded like... a puppy that "crinkled" when you moved him around. He was bright yellow, made interesting noises, and you enjoyed "talking" to him on our adventures in the car. Here he is!
*Stuffed toys: While Crinkle puppy was your favorite car-buddy, you really loved all sorts of stuffed toys. You learned to "hug" them very early on and when you learned to walk, you basically carried them all over the place from the very beginning. Between your dad and I, we have you SET UP for stuffed animals. Seriously. They're all totally cool, though. GEEK TOYS RULE!
*Books: Your dad and I started reading to you when you were barely in control of your arms. We would set you in a bouncy chair, buckle you in, then read to you for hours at a time. You loved it! You even learned to turn pages on the board books at the ripe old age of 3 months! Today, you still love books. You love them so much it was the only thing we asked for on your 1st birthday! You used to let us read anything to you, but now you have opinions on what books are good and what books just don't measure up. (Remember that HUGE personality I was talking about? Yeah!) Some of your favorites include: Friends for Calico, Moo Baa La La La, I love you Stinky Face, and pretty much anything with a button that makes sounds.
*Your kitty: Oh my goodness... your kitty Astra! (Or, as you know her... Nyeh Nyeh.) You love this cat more than almost anything. You ask for her when we walk in the door (nyeh nyeh!?!?), you follow her around (NYEH NYEH!!!), and you cackle deviously when you get the rare chance to touch her. You've loved this cat since you became aware enough to realize she wasn't another stuffed animal. The funny thing is, that kitty loves you right back. She has always run away from other babies, but she lets you do things that I never thought she would ever allow. It's because you're hers and she is yours. You two will be buddies for a very long time!
*Kitty puppet: Your love of your Nyeh-Nyeh has bled over into a love for all things kitty-related. The kitty puppet is the funniest of them all! We went to the Maple Leaf Festival in Baldwin City last summer. We came upon a booth full of different puppets. We pulled a few down to use to entertain you, and the guy running the booth saw us. He came over, grabbed the cat puppet off of the rack and said, "here, try this one. Kids love this one!" Oh my gosh... was he EVER right! You laughed so loudly over that thing that I was ready to put a second mortgage on the house if he asked me to. I wasn't *too* far off. That thing cost me $25! Well, it was worth every penny. You love that puppet. It means a lot to me, too, as your mommy because Grandpa (mommy's dad) used to play with a moose puppet with ME. His name was Mr. Moose and he was allergic to pepper, causing him to sneeze constantly. I can't wait for you and daddy to have the same sorts of adventures with the cat puppet (who remains, at this time, still unnamed. Daddy didn't like the name Miss Kitty... phooey!)
*Yo Gabba Gabba/Exersaucer: I have to put these two things together because, together, they allowed me to keep you entertained enough for me to get things done around the house! It was a glorious day (for all of us) when you were old enough to use your Exersaucer because it meant we didn't have to carry you everywhere anymore! It also meant you were kept entertained by the various toys on the Exersaucer AND you were in a position to watch episodes of Yo Gabba Gabba, the only child's show mommy and daddy could stand watching with you! Now, before everyone gets up in arms about us letting a young baby watch TV... I tell you to shut up! Not only does she love the show, but as I said... I get things done! This means we don't have a terribly filthy house (well.... most of the time), had dishes to eat off of, clothes to wear, and clean bottles! It was totally worth it and I would do it again. I may eat these words later when you have tantrums because we made you turn the TV off and go play outside. I'll fight that battle when it comes!
*Ferris Wheel toy: The Ferris Wheel toy is this really weird, seemingly pointless toy, that has a ferris wheel and makes lots and lots of noise. We got it for you for your first Christmas because you seemed to like it in the store. You still liked it at home and it seems to have helped teach you that pushing buttons makes GLORIOUS things happen. You were a bit disappointed to learn that not all buttons make such amazing noises when pushed, but it certainly doesn't stop you from pushing everything... just to be sure.
*Bath time: You really never cried when getting baths as a very young baby, but as time went by you had so much fun during bath time that we let you splash around way longer than necessary just because you were having so much fun! You played with your rubber duckies, your Sesame Street friends, and your water-squirting sea creatures. You also learned how to make HUGE splashes thanks to daddy!
*Day care: We had to start taking you to day care when you were one month old. I had to go back to work. We started you in a day care clear across town because it seemed like a good fit and we really needed to find something. Things went well at that day care until they started *not* going well. We started feeling like it wasn't a good fit and I think you felt the same way because you started acting out (cranky, not sleeping, etc). We were also tired of driving back and forth across town during the two craziest times of the day, traffic-wise. Eventually, your day care provider and we both decided our time there was over. We took a recommendation from a friend of ours to try her day care. HALLELUJAH! It is in our neighborhood and you LOVE it there! You're very popular among the other kids and you have a blast! You run around, get dirty, play with the other kids, have circle time, and do so many wonderful things that I don't feel guilty at all leaving you there while I work! In fact, when I come to pick you up, you act happy to see me for one second before turning back around to play with the other kids. Sometimes you cry when we leave, but never when you get dropped off!
*Red, black and white blanket: We have a quilt made by Aunt Char for our wedding gift and you absolutely love this thing! My theory is the bright contrast of colors was exciting for you as a wee lass. Still, you have rolled around for miles on this thing and still show a preference for it over other blankets we keep downstairs.
Laying on aforementioned blanket with a bat on your head.
*Subway apple: You had this weird little half apple/half orange car seat toy that daddy got you when you two were adventuring one day. We called it the Subway Apple because you would grab a hold of the little wooden ring that hung from the bottom of the apple and it looked like you were riding on a subway. Super cute!
Subway apple AND crinkle puppy!
*Binky and binky straps: We decided in the hospital that you would be a binky baby. They made you happy (until they fell out of your mouth, which was nearly every 5 seconds by my best estimate). We got tired of fishing dirty binkies out from underneath everything after you would drop them, so we invested in some binky straps to, at least, keep them attached to your body. Much better! You got your binky whenever you wanted it by reaching down and grabbing the strap and we spent less time at the sink washing binkies! Parenting success!
*Puffs: Your first snack food consisted of these weird little puffed rice/corn things. They do taste pretty good, I'll admit, but you can hoover your way through an entire can of these things in a couple of days. Puffs are good eats!
*Mexican food: Your first real restaurant-food object of desire seemed to be Mexican food. You are your daddy's little girl in this regard! I've never seen something so small put back so many spoonfuls of rice, beans, guacamole, and various other delicious tidbits! We joked that we ate so much Mexican food because the music in the restaurants seemed to keep you calm. It actually wasn't so much a joke when I look back on it!
*Other kids/babies/animals: Basically, you love everything. You whip your head around when you see/hear other kids and babies. You laugh at any picture or video of an animal or when your own animals get close enough for you to touch them. You're just a happy, giggly, social little girl with nearly anything that is alive!
I can't wait to see what sorts of things you attach yourself to during this next year! Your personality is strong and you absolutely know what you like and what you don't like. Most of the time I can appreciate your independence, but do me a favor... at least TRY things before you make up your mind about them! I don't want you missing out on neat experiences, tastes, etc like I did when I was little. Know what you want and what you like, but be willing to take a chance on other things! The world is full of amazing things to explore!