Wednesday, January 18, 2006

My Baby Is Turning One

As I sit and type my daily allotment of web assignments, I am thinking of other events in my life. Mainly that my handsome and brilliant son is turning one today! Yes, he was born about 50 minutes ago last year. I am so shocked that the year has passed so quickly. It seems that it was not long ago when he was lying in my arms, a helpless little thing screaming at the top of his newborn lungs.

Now he is upstairs giving his Daddy a hard time. While Daddy is folding clothes, baby - or toddler now - is unfolding them and giggling.

I am experiencing the kind of torn emotions that I suppose characterizes much of motherhood. While I want my son to grow up and I want to see him reach new milestones in his life, I also want to keep him a wee little baby for as long as I can. He has, of course, decided that he is no longer a baby.

About a week ago, he decided that he would no longer eat baby food. We had no warning, and I was not prepared for that drastic change in his eating habits. It is as if he woke up one morning and thought, "nope, I am not a baby."

When I went to feed him, he would purse his little lips and shake his head no. I thought he was not feeling well, but after a day, I realized that he just would not eat the baby food. He is smart about it, too. I tried sneaking in some baby food by putting it in mashed potatoes and by adding some spices and warming it up. He will not budge. Instead he looks at me and just shakes his head.

I know that eating is a control issue for many little ones. I am not trying to force him to stay on baby food. I just wanted to get him to eat the jars we already bought. Still he is telling me that he is growing up.

Him not being a baby anymore is hard on his Mommy. I want to love him and squeeze him and hold him like a little baby. He will not give in, though. Now that he can walk by himself and eat grown-up food, he thinks that he is in charge.

We are having a little birthday party for him. He had one with my family over the weekend, but it was too much for him. There were too many people there, and he could not take all of the chaos. Instead he went to sleep. The party tonight will just be him, my husband, and me. We are having a little cake for him, and then he can open his presents. Then we will have a symbolic hair cutting for his first birthday. Though I do not think he really needs a haircut, several nosy older women (my grandmother notwithstanding) have commented on how much he looks like a girl because his hair is past his collar. Oh, how I love the South sometimes!

He also did not get many presents for his birthday. Part of that is because Christmas was less than a month ago, and part of it is because he already has so much. We did not know what to get him. We opened a savings account for him (nerds!) that we will use to sock away some money until we have enough to begin investing for his college expenses. We also got him this little toy that looks something like a sea anemone and a book of nursery rhymes. Of course, we just got a fish tank because he has developed a fascination for them, so we will be outfitting it soon.

Overall, I am glad that he is growing up. I am looking forward to more experiences with him. There are so many things that my husband and I want to show him, and he is just too young to understand many of the experiences right now. We fully believe that the education he gets from birth to age five is the most important for helping to form who he will be and for fostering his creativity and intellect, so we are making every effort to show him all that we can. Still I will miss him letting me cuddle him and rock. Ah, he is a baby no more!

By Julia Mercer

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