Today my sweet baby boy turns one! I remember his birth like it was yesterday, but I also can't believe all we've experienced this past year. Without a doubt, this has been the best year of my life. It's gone by at lightning speed, been full of laughs, tears, smiles, big joys and little ones, milestones, phases, growing, changing, and most of all, this year has been full of love. Here's some things I didn't know a year ago.....
-I didn't know how many phases can take place in a year: There's the snuggly newborn phase, where I was sort of shocked Hank wasn't into all his cool new toys. There's a lot of laying around (him and me!), cozy baby "gowns," adorable wittle mittens, teeny socks, and the smallest little onesies you've ever seen. Suddenly those itty bitty 4 oz. bottles become 8 oz ones, your baby stays awake a bit more, can go longer stretches of sleep (saying goodbye to the 2 am feed brought me immeasurable joy). Next thing you know, you're packing away newborn clothes, playing with your baby, introducing him to rice cereal, watching him notice birds on walks, and seeing some smiles. Within a few months, your baby is in the "big boy" carseat (and thank God because that carrier was getting impossible to lift!), he's eating Cheerios with gusto, and he laughs. Oh the laughs. All in just one year. What a miracle.
-I didn't know how cool my own kid would be: Hank is a fun kid. And I love spending time with him. I love watching him play, reading books to him, and going on walks. Everyone thinks their kid is cute and fun, but dang, he really is. I adore seeing his little personality unfold and I can't wait to see what kind of toddler, kid, teenager, and man he will become. I am so glad I get a front row seat.
-I didn't know how important date nights would be: When Hank was about 10 days old, I had a small meltdown. The house was a mess, I was trying to get used to pumping, I was exhausted and overwhelmed. I snapped at AJ. Then I felt bad and cried. And repeat. My parents came over to babysit so AJ and I went to dinner, I did my makeup and wore real jeans. It was good for my soul. I treasure my times alone with my husband and what we took for granted in our child-free days, we truly savor and enjoy now. Long live dinner and a movie (with a probable Target stop thrown in). Parenting is a tag team effort and it's been essential not to forget our marriage in the shuffle.
-I didn't know that I'd still be Me: I know this sounds strange, but when people asked me what life was like with a baby, I remarked almost always, "It's weird because so much has changed but I'm still me." Seems pretty basic, right? But for me, I wasn't sure what I thought would happen once I walked through the door with a baby. Maybe it's because Hadley's birth so rocked me to my core and changed me, I was surprised that even with Hank in my arms, I was still Leslie. I still like reading, bubble baths, an ice cold glass of Riesling, girls nights, lattes, organizing, teaching, and reality TV. Still. Hank has my whole heart, but I didn't lose my "Leslie-ness" and was delightfully surprised by that.
-I didn't know how important fellow mamas are: I LOVE the fact that I have a tribe in my life of amazing women who I can turn to for advice, support, and a whole lotta "me toos." My mom and mother in law have been such a source of support. Some college friends, work friends, and Little Gym friends who have babies are all part of this tribe. Nothing beats women who are there for other women.
-I didn't know how hard it is to get ready with a baby at your feet: Try flat ironing your hair, applying makeup, wiping spit up, rushing to close the toilet seat and trash can lid, all while trying to get some coffee down your throat and keep the baby happy. At 6 am. 'Nuff said.
-I didn't know how much self control it would take to not buy him everything: I fight the urge all the time not to buy Hank all.the.things. Clothes, toys, books, I want him to have it all. I need to remember 3 things: I don't want a spoiled child. Our house is small. Hank has tons of gifts from his family and friends. But that Cat and Jack stuff at Target, I mean, really!
-I didn't know how to leave work on my desk: I'm good at this now! Haha. Work is a job, it matters, but not as much as being a mom. I've gotten better at delegating, saying no, learning to prioritize, and how to keep stress down so I can be an engaged mom. It's not always easy, but I've been really working at it.
-I didn't know how naturally and perfectly Hank would become part of our lives. We adore him and thankful is beyond an understatement. Not a day goes by, even in the hard moments, where I don't give thanks for Hank Grayson. He is a DELIGHT and pure joy.
Hank had a super fun Lumberjack Birthday Bash last weekend and I will share all about it later this week!
Savor Your Sparkle,
Leslie, Hank's Mom
PS) You can read all about Hank's birth story and more updates HERE