This post has been updated to include Amelia’s First Year Birthday video
Not to steal directly from that hypnotic song from Rent, but one year contains 525, 600 minutes. The movie nor the musical cover whether this is long or short, more than expected or less than expected. It is mostly just presented as fact. After my experiences from this year, I am not sure how I feel about it either.
Yesterday was Amelia’s first birthday. One whole year of life in the books. When I sit and think back on the summary of all of those minutes, I am amazed at how far we (and Amelia specifically) have come. So many experiences, so many memories. At times it seems like just yesterday she was born. At other times, it seems like one very long year.
I still remember receiving “the call”. In actuality, it was really a page. I was filling in at noon conference (doing Metabolism Board Review, a barnburner!) My pager went off and Susie said that she was bleeding. Talk about making my heart stop. All I could think about was that Susie needed to get to the hospital ASAP, but I didn’t want to freak her out. To this day, she is still surprised by my response to her on the phone. Normally, in situations where she calls me about something medically related, I am chatty and work to reassure her and convince her everything is fine. This time, I tersely told her to stop talking with me, get to the hospital and call her doctor. I was fully convinced something very untoward was happening. Luckily, everything was fine and Amelia was born happy and healthy, albeit somewhat early.
At first, the early thing didn’t seem to be much of a big deal. I had seen plenty of late pre-term infants in the newborn nursery and they acted fine. Surely Amelia would be the same. I had been the father of a newborn before, I was prepared and ready to go. In actuality, I had no idea what was going to happen. The first sign that life was going to be different happened when it was time for the evening feeding. We were settling in to feed and watch another exciting installment of The Amazing Race. Unfortunately, we never got to see that episode. Someone started screaming and crying and wouldn’t settle down to eat. There was an impassioned and impromptu discussion about if we should start supplementing our very yellow, not eating well baby with formula, a frantic search in the basement for bottles and what felt like 24 hours later, we all finally fell asleep.
Things got better from here, although there were definite ups and downs. Both Amelia and I found a new best friend:
When Amelia wasn’t sleeping or eating, we were bouncing on the fitness ball. She loved it and I had the best core I’ve had in years. The first few months felt like they went by SOOOOO SLLLLLOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWLLLLLLYYYY. I love her, but at this time, Amelia only had three different moods: Asleep, Eating and Angry. Then, a miracle happened. Amelia was baptized at three months of age and a new mood was sprinkled into the mix: Happy.
While the whole “My Daughter Get Baptized and Immediately Becomes Better Behaved” idea makes for a good story, in the end I think it was the fact that she turned 3 months old. I had heard of some pediatricians having a theory about “The Fourth Trimester”, where infants really need three months to get adjusted to life in the outside world before they can settle in and not be colicy or angry or incorrigible or whatever words you want to ascribe to many newborns. I had never really believed it until Amelia.
Once this point came, the next nine months were a blur. There are many times, when I think that she really hasn’t changed much since then. But when I sit down and think back for a moment, there are so many memories and so many fun changes.
Soon after the baptism, it was time to head to Fish Creek for our annual Sieracki summer get together. While as a 4 month old, Amelia wasn’t actually getting her first taste of Bayside chili, she did get her first experience in one of my favorite places in the world. We took her to the beach, into the state park and to her first drive-in movie.
Unlike Hannah, who was always very content to stay where she was and find a way to entertain herself (a trait that mostly continues to this day), as soon as Amelia could get up into the crawling position, she was rocking back and forth and trying to get into as many new and interesting places as she could. I coined a new nickname for her, Danger Mouse, because if there was an electric socket, cord, tight area, stairs or some other bad place for her to be, she would immediately zip over there like a mouse.
Before we knew it, it was Halloween and our little “love bug” got to participate in the neighborhood Halloween parade. Then it was Thanksgiving visiting Susie’s parents on Hilton Head Island, where she got her first experience of miniature golf and sitting in the sand and trying to eat it. At Christmas she got a lot of great presents (my personal favorite, the talking toy piggy bank that sings. “Ohhhhhh, I’m a Piggy Bank, I have a Piggy Snout…” Mommy make it stop!!!!!) but the best present was when out of the blue Amelia pulled herself up to a standing position next to the couch. Susie and I looked at each other in shocked amazement, each of us asking the other if they positioned her as such.
The memories come faster and faster and blur more and more together. First illness where I stayed up at night rocking her to sleep (and counting her respirations. Not that I am paranoid or anything!) Eating real food. “Mamamamamamamama” and “Dadadadadadadadadada”, plus my personal favorite almost word, “Uh oh!” Smiling and laughing. Lots of smiling and laughing. Teeth coming through. Still not sleeping through the night (but relishign those wonderful mornings when she does and you wake up a bit disoriented because you are surprised you slept so long.) Trying to take her first unassisted steps. Trying more and more to communicate. Playing peek-a-boo with grandpa.
Then before you know it, it is her first birthday. Where did all the time go? What new adventures await us. I feel like she will be like this forever, but I know that she won’t. (When did her hair get so long and thick? Wasn’t it just yesterday that it was so light and wispy that it would stand up and curl when it was just out of the bathtub?) What will the next 525,600 minutes hold?
Lately, after I feed her her last bottle before bed, I have taken to holding her and rocking her for a few minutes before I lay her down. My favorite moment is when she starts to give in to sleep and lays her head on my shoulder. On her birthday, just like always, someone started crying during bedtime. Only this time, it wasn’t Amelia.