Today our precious little Monkey turns 1! As cliché as it sounds, I can’t believe it’s been a year since we welcomed her into our lives. While some of the days (and nights!) seemed unbelievably long, when I look back on the past year, I can’t believe how quickly it flew by.
Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised. Monkey has been in a hurry since she arrived 10 days early. Her habit of keeping me up all night began right away too, when my water broke just after 1 a.m.
It was less than 12 hours from the time my water broke until the moment Monkey made her grand entrance. Pretty darn quick, considering that I wasn’t having contractions and was barely dilated when I checked into my hospital room around 3:30 a.m.
Thanks to that crazy bitch Pitocin, I went from 1 cm and irregular contractions at 6 a.m. to fully dilated and ready to rock-n-roll by lunch time.
Did I mention that when it was time to push, it only took one series and less than 90 seconds? Yeah, I’m kind of a rock star when it comes to pushing.
And just like that, at 12:50 p.m. on April 25th, lightning struck for the second time in my life.
It’s Like Lightning Striking Again
Words can’t accurately describe the way I felt when Monkey’s big sister, Bean, was born in 2009. Becoming a mother was the most indescribable, life-changing moment for me. It was simply amazing.
When I became pregnant with Monkey, there was a little voice whispering in the back of my head that the experience would never compare. I was even a little worried that I wouldn’t feel the same way the second time around.
I felt like my heart was already bursting with love for Bean, so where would this new love fit? Was there enough to go around?
Want the truth? There was no comparison. Monkey’s arrival was completely different from my experience with her sister. Just the way it’s supposed to be.
But as far as love goes, I should have never doubted the heart’s capacity for love. The moment I laid eyes on my beautiful little Monkey, my heart expanded and my love multiplied.
Holding her in my arms, feeling her heart beat against mine, was my little piece of heaven on earth.
She Was a Good Little Monkey (Ha!) and Always Very Curious
Just like her rush to enter this world, Monkey has continued to experience life’s milestones at warp speed.
The first time I put her to my breast, she immediately latched on, and her insatiable appetite continues unabated to this day. She can really put away the food. You’d think we had a ravenous teenager in the house and not a petite little peanut who barely hits the 5th percentile in weight.
She started rolling over at nine weeks. Sigh. That was the end of swaddling and ‘back-to-sleep’ for Monkey. Every morning I’d find her happily snoozing on her belly.
At five months, she was sitting; a month later, crawling. And climbing. Stairs, furniture, the dog, her sister. She started walking at 11 months. No cautious first steps for this gal; she was literally running a week later. Makes me wonder how many trips to the ER we have in our future.
Once she was mobile, she started going for every dangerous object she could find. Cords, plugs, outlets, her sister’s crayons, the dog’s water bowl. If it was off limits, she’d find it. And then stick it in her mouth.
The best/worst part: Monkey knows she’s doing something she shouldn’t. She just doesn’t care. She’ll literally look you right in the eye, flash the most adorable, mischievous grin, and then go about her naughtiness. It’s equally endearing and infuriating.
Oh how I dread the tween and teen years! I can just see my mom and dad chuckling as they read this. Something about payback…
Growing & Learning Together
Monkey continues to surprise and delight us every day. Just as frequently, she persists in challenging, frustrating, and driving us a little closer to insanity.
After a relatively easy introduction to parenting with Bean, I thought I had this motherhood gig all figured out. Boy was I wrong! Monkey kicked that pedestal right out from under me and served me a heaping dose humility.
Looking back on her first year, I have to thank my darling Monkey for teaching me so many things about motherhood and myself.
Monkey taught me that it’s silly and pointless to compare your children. Every mother says she will never compare her children, but, to some degree, it’s inevitable. You’re not trying to measure them against each other, but the only experience you have is based on your first child.
From day one, Monkey’s made sure we don’t compare her with big sister. She simply defies comparison by doing things her own way.
She taught me to enjoy the tranquil moments. Monkey had a raging case of reflux. For the first nine months, I spent most evenings holding her upright for at least 30 minutes before I could lay her down in her crib.
I grew to love those quiet moments with her. Belly full, cheeks flushed, she would drift off to sleep, and I would just hold her. Sometimes I would read, but more often than not, I would drift off too. It was nice to have that quiet time; to stop running around and just be with her.
Monkey taught me that I need to stop trying to do and be everything all the time. Going from a family of three to a family of four was a bigger transition than we ever imagined. Juggling a full-time job and the very different needs of two little girls is challenging, to say the least.
Having Monkey forced me to prioritize and let go of the less important things, to give myself permission to stop feeling guilty. Some days I’m just not going to get it all done, and that’s ok.
The Best is Yet to Come
I can’t wait to watch Monkey grow up, but part of me wants to freeze this moment in time. Because I know the next year will fly by even faster. Monkey won’t be a baby much longer, and while there are some things I won’t miss, there are infinitely more tender moments that I don’t want to let go.
So, today I’m going to scoop up my mischievous little girl and breathe in her pure, sweet baby scent. As she squirms and giggles and tries to get away, I’m going to squeeze her a little tighter.
And I’m going to be grateful and humbled by this amazing, silly, sweet daughter of mine.
Happy Birthday Monkey!