Hi, crazy boy! It was January 17th when I started this letter and now it's January 21st which means we are LESS THAN two months away from your first birthday. I know - that has to be a joke, right?! You've officially lived out in the world longer than you lived in me.
The last month raced by mostly because you were racing by. This time last month, you were crawling a step here and a step there but now you're crawling with fervor and you're all over the place. You're darting to the door, chasing me into the kitchen and beelining to the stairs even though you haven't grasped those yet, thank goodness. You're also pulling up on everything in sight: your crib, me, Daddy, the couches, the fridge... You name it - you want to climb it.
In the last four weeks, you've popped a lot of teeth. A few weeks ago, Daddy took this very goofy picture of you in the bath. You had one giant top tooth showing in your beautiful smile.
Now, you have a whole front row of some seriously sharp chompers. And the hair. That hair. <3
Daddy normally gets up with you first but one morning late December, I sneaked upstairs to grab you before he awoke. Outside, the temperature was -3 so instead of going right to playing, you and I snuggled in your cozy room among piles of blankets and pillows. You're normally so busy in the morning, but I was happy to have you slow down for ten minutes and blow raspberries at me as we sang and whispered and snuggled close. You have never been the biggest snuggler around but I have hopes that even though you're growing each day, that may still change.
We celebrated your very first Christmas which was two days of nothing but fun with family and spoils from the ones you love. You didn't take good naps and you ended up getting sick while off your routine but boy, did you LIVE. Auntie Kate took this very telling picture at Mimi's house which turned out to be pretty characteristic of the days to follow.
One day you'll have cousins with whom to share the day but for that one moment in time, you were the star of the show.
You were thrilled and curious about everything that was placed in front of you and you'll play with many of the gifts for years to come.
After family came and went, it was pretty slow the week after Christmas. We recovered from our colds and celebrated New Year's with very little fanfare. You were asleep by 6:30 and Mommy and Daddy followed shortly thereafter. We did, however, take out the camera to capture your very first January 1st. We'll stop with the photo shoots one day, we promise.
You went to your very first birthday party - for cousin Henry. The party was at a giant children's play space and Daddy and I loved watching you interact with the equipment and other kids. When we thought you needed a little stimulation break, we took you into a mirrored room with no other people in it. At first, you started crawling around on the matted floor like a madman.
Then, you discovered the mirrored wall. You couldn't get enough of yourself and you had us in stitches.
You did quite a bit of dining out over the last few weeks. You especially loved the French fries at Shake Shack. Here you are exhibiting incredible patience as you wait for Grampa to hand you your next fry.
Many nights after dinner and bath while we're waiting for Daddy to come home, we have a dance party to kill time during the part of the day when you like to be held. Sometimes it's in the kitchen and sometimes it's in the living room. You tolerate lullabies but you really love anything with a beat. Huey Lewis' "Power of Love" and Chingy's "Tipsy" are among your favorite jams right now. Your arms and hands flail, your legs kick wildly in my arms and your shrieks of joy fill our home. I cackle at you and the moment Daddy walks in, your excitement level switches to pure euphoria. For a few moments, it feels like we're in a commercial - sporting smiles we can't turn off and beating hearts that seem to ignite and grow with each thump.
After Christmas, I mentioned you and I came down with pretty bad colds. We fought them off for the better part of a week. The worst night had you up and unable to settle for hours at a time, so Daddy scooped you out of your crib and slept on your floor for a few hours. He slept with one eye open and you slept peacefully on his broad chest.
Your naps also struggled a bit so a couple of times, you and I dozed together in the rocker. At nighttime, when I rocked you, the light of the humidifier illuminated your perfect face. I couldn't sleep. I spent the better part of an hour studying the slope of your nose, your tiny, concave knuckles nestled on my arm, your lashes resting angelically on the soft curve of your cheek. I'd listen to your labored breathing and I kept praying to God, asking him to help keep you resting peacefully and to heal your body quickly.
Every month, I become more and more aware that your baby moments are fleeting and each night I take a few more moments to soak you in. I close my eyes and force my skin and bones and heart to remember what it feels like to have your soft, warm body resting so dependently on mine. "Feel this." "Remember this." "Be present." "This is love." I recite these over and over in my head until I practically doze off with you before laying you in your crib. I kiss you and you look up at me ever so briefly before snuggling into your sheet.
Daddy and I want to provide for you the best possible environment we can and we know that our love for you does just that. Our love for you is ever-growing, ever-changing but always constant. You're the single most important thing in our world, and we'll do anything to keep you healthy and happy.
Now, please make the next seven weeks slow down. Please.
We love you, Harrison. We always will.
Mommy (& Daddy!)