happy birthday, hazel!

happy birthday, hazel!

my baby is one. in fact, she's been one for ten days already, but i'm just now writing this. that's in part due to the fact that i've been sick again (since roughly january, but was basically non-functional for a couple weeks there, coinciding with larry's trip to qatar --but frankly i'm sick of thinking and talking about all that, so the less said the better at this point). but i've also not written about her turning one yet because it took me a while to process it.

it sort of snuck up on me, as i was doing my best to get through the minimum level of daily tasks until shortly before her birthday. and then it felt bittersweet -- she's amazing and i love seeing all the new things she can do, love bearing witness to the person she's becoming before my eyes, but it's also a little sad that she's not a tiny baby anymore. she's likely my last, and i already miss it. and i worry at times that i wasn't present enough, because i already can't really remember her first year. i worry it happened while i was busy dealing with life, and if so, that's sad, too.

but really, i think i don't remember it because i was living it rather than recording it all as it happened. i was far more present this time around, that whole living-in-the-moment thing. i spent more time just being with her (and with eva, and as a family with larry) and less time worrying about whether or not i was doing everything the right way. i guess that's the gift of being a second child. the drawback is that your mama's memories are foggy -- but hey, hazel doesn't remember it either, so we're even.

hazel's baby dragon cake

we had a lovely little party to celebrate her big day -- postponed a day with a venue change due to rain, but happily most guests were still able to make it. she looked like such a kid in her puffy party dress, running around with all the kids (who were really basically eva's friends and younger siblings, but at the tender age of 1 hazel is already starting to roam around in the pack of preschoolers and toddlers -- i love that). she really liked her cake and would light up when she saw the dragon (signing for dog, because what baby has a frame of reference for a dragon, right?) and doing her best to get her hands on it and, i presume, eat it.

she is so fun at this age. she has been walking with assurance for a while now, so is trying out new tricks like climbing and "running" when excited (which tends to end with a face plant as her center of balance gets ahead of her feet). she copies *everything* we do, especially eva, and is watching and absorbing everything. yesterday, eva had a doll, so hazel went and found a doll (uh, more accurately, hazel had the first doll, eva snatched it away, and hazel found a new one). eva wrapped her doll in a blanket, so hazel disappeared into the kitchen and came back with a scarf, holding it out for help wrapping up her baby. hazel holds the baby up to her neck and twists back and forth just like eva. eva set hers down on the coffee table (for a diaper change or something), so hazel followed her over and did the same. this morning, hazel walked over to me after i fixed eva's hair for school, hairbrush in hand, wanting me to brush her hair as well. the other day i implored eva to get her shoes on so we could go somewhere, and there's hazel, walking over to me with her shoes in hand, ready to go, too.

it's those sorts of behaviors (as much as size, or walking, or the like) that has totally shifted my perspective. she's not a baby now, she's a small kid. she participates in our family life. eva and hazel play together, they snuggle up when they need a break, they wrestle each other (eva may find they're evenly matched before long!), they play games of chase. the other night before bedtime, the girls got us started in some crazy running around giggling game (good ol' RUSD as larry has termed it -- rile them up to settle them down (before bedtime). he claims it works, i claim it makes bedtime harder but is fun so i go for it anyway). hazel was gigging like crazy, running at one then the other of us, diving at us, wanting to roll around and be silly. i chased them in circles around the pathway through the kitchen, they flew in the air, larry tossed them on the sofa. stuff like that was always fun with eva, but is exponentially more joyful with two, since they feed off each other.

hazel has also reached the stage of having very strong opinions. no longer the happy-go-lucky laid back infant, she now will let you know what she thinks. if she wants to drink out of your water and you decline (or stop after you get bored of helping her after 10 minutes), she might scream. or plop down on her bum, tilt her red face up at you, and cry. or, if proximity allows, scratch you on the face. at this point it's mostly cute (mostly), but it is definitely a preview of toddlerhood to come.

happy birthday, my sweet hazel penelope. we are all thrilled beyond words to have you in our family. and while i will always remember your babyhood (and probably bore you to death recounting it when you are a teenager), and though i look forward to getting to know the person you will become, right now, i'm so happy and thankful to simply be with you. (i'm sniffing your head as i type this. you're nursing on and off, interspersed with roaming around carrying blocks in a bag, putting the phone in papa's (empty, phew!) coffee cup, and climbing in and out of the rocking chairs. busy as always.) i love you, little one year old baby. forever and always.

mama and girls

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