Family

12 months with Wallis (and Merry Christmas)

In her first birthday outfit!

Wallis loves to dance and this is her signature move.

Real life…Wallis has already figured out how to open the baby gates, so we have to lock them now, here she is telling us what she thinks about that.

First, before I even get to the part about this being her 12 month post…I’ll reflect as I always have on the 4 weeks before…and let me tell you, they have seriously kicked our butts. 11 months has felt like we were back in the newborn days with how terrible Wallis has been sleeping. Keep in mind that Wallis has never been a great sleeper, so her parents are already pretty deliriously tired and then add on top of that, whatever the heck we’ve been experiencing is.

Basically, the first two weeks of 11 months she fell into a sleep regression, which turned into the most intense separation anxiety sleep, which became sleep regression + separation anxiety + getting her first molar….all rolled into one and means we are getting maybe 2 or 3 hours a sleep a night.

Wallis has only slept through the night a handful of times over the last year and as she’s gotten older has narrowed night feedings to only one, but we’ve been able to in the past get her back to sleep with relative ease…not this month. It has taken over an hour to two hours before that is even possible, not to mention as soon as you think she’s asleep and you lay her down, she’ll pop right back up hysterically crying. It has taken a lot out of us, and cast a bit of shadow over all that holiday cheer and first birthday parties.

Needless to say, we’re praying this passes, and my eye hasn’t stopped twitching in so long, it has become like an old friend.

Wallis is running now, full sprints and trying to climb stairs and getting herself into constant mischief. She has a cupboard dedicated to her that we call her store and in it there are lots of goodies that she likes to carry to the ledge of one of our widows to set up shop each morning. She runs/waddles quickly belly first, so we’ve decided her run looks like a cross between a penguin and Tracy Morgan. She’s saying lots of words and their clarity is developing swiftly…I am not sure how people decide what a “first word” is as she’s been “saying” several always at the same time for months now…it’s confusing, I thought it would be a more defining moment. Maybe that’s yet to come?

Her teeth (all 8 of them soon to be 10) suddenly look like big people teeth and she gives huge smiles while cocking her head back. She loves to lay on the floor to look under beds, cribs, chairs, and every morning she gently lifts the dog bed covers to say good morning to Pierre and Olive (they have those cave beds and hide deep inside them).

She’s finally willing to wear shoes and loves going outside, even if she looks a bit like Frankenstein walking in them, ha! but we still have a terrible time getting her to keep her socks on. When music plays she either dances or conducts with her hands, she knows her farm animals, and she’s been using all of the sign language signs we gave up using a few months ago. Ha! Her eat sign is particularly aggressive, basically if a viking was to tell you they were hungry with hand gestures.

She helps me clean up and loves to smell my hair, and it doesn’t matter what I’m in the middle of doing (usually cooking) if she sees me, she runs up to my legs placing her body against mine and blocking me from moving, leaning her head back and either whines or says ump ump to pick her up. She’s a serious mama’s girl and I feel ridiculously too special for it. And no matter what the day was like, I go to bed every single night, wishing I had more time with her, even though I spend every waking second with her….so it is, to love this much.

Andrew delights in seeing her change, he’s so happy to have gotten through this year – but not me, I have burst into tears daily watching as the last 4 weeks move towards that ever so defining 12 month mark. I am not sure my heart will survive it, it’s so damn tired and full.

I think a lot about how Wallis was meant to be ours. Pregnancy is pretty terrifying when you really think about it, and it isn’t something that just happens for everyone, or is even successful for everyone, it’s something that should never be taken for granted, because it truly is miraculous.

The morning I took my pregnancy test, I knew I was pregnant. It was way too early to be taking that test, but I did it anyways, and the pink lines were dark and permanent. I took it twice with the same results. From the very beginning of her life, Wallis let us know she was here to stay.

I spent 9 months in a constant state of nausea unable to keep anything down without medication, and oh how I worried over that medication, but it was my only way to keep nutrition in my body, so she could grow and grow well, and boy has she exceeded every single idea I had in my mind of what she would be.

After exactly a week past my due date, I spent 3 days in painful labor as my contradictions came fast non-stop, but my body refused to dilate. I was so exhausted, but she wasn’t ready yet. I was minutes from a c-section, and feverish when she and I finally got the hang of it and 45 minutes later there she was, lying in my arms, both of us running fevers at exactly 102 degrees.

I remember how natural it was to hold her, comfort her. I had worried about that. I made jokes about what if she slips out of my arms, what if I am the first mom ever to drop their baby right after she’s born…I couldn’t imagine that it would be so natural to hold her, to love her, to see her entirely and feel as though I have always known her, but that is exactly what happened for me.

I was in a state of euphoria. Andrew and I laugh about it now, how I was totally naked and rambling at everyone, I had no idea I was naked, I was on the biggest high of my life. I could not stop smiling and I could not believe she was finally here, and on Christmas night…talk about a baby with big plans. Ha!

Wallis has taken a piece of dynamite to our lives in the most fantastic way, everything, everything is better because she is here. We have never been so tired, so worn and fragile, but we have never been so in love, so happy, nor so grateful either. I can’t believe it happened, I can’t believe we’re already here, and I can’t believe we made it.

She has come so far and so fast. I have done my best to document it all, but Wallis has moved at a speed that has been hard for my brain to catch up, I’m often dumbstruck looking at her in amazement and then it’s over, and she’s on to the next thing, and I’m left clambering, wait wait! I didn’t have my camera! That’s happened too many times and I worry often about forgetting everything, because my mind is so focused on all her immediate needs that time passes around me…and here we are.

Oh Wallis, as I said to you the day you were born, I heard a bird sing in the dark of December. A magical thing and sweet to remember. Thank you for choosing us, we are the luckiest, and this has been the best year of our lives (also the most delirious).

One month to twelve…oh Wallis, you light up our lives.

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