Halloween 2009Last Halloween, we woke up after Wally Ben’s first night at home. (Well, I woke up again, after waking up around 3 or 4 times before morning with the little bugger.) We didn’t have a costume for our tiny lump of a thing because we hadn’t known if he’d be born before Halloween, and he was just a lump, so putting anything on him, including onesies, was a feat for us newbies. We snuggled him all day, clueless and hopeful for what our future with this little guy would bring.

It’s so odd how much changes in a year. If you were to look at monthly snapshots of how he’s grown, it would seem like each new thing happens in a flash. Wally smiling. Wally rolling over. Wally pushing up. Wally crawling. But the real life experience of milestones is so much more gradual. It happens like breathing. You breathe in one breath, then you breathe out. Then you are on to the next, without even thinking about the fact that the first breath is passed. Some of the air from the original breath is part of the next, some is new. And by the time a minute has passed, the air is completely different from the original. But it all happened gradually and without notice.

Your baby’s cheeks are turning up a little when he makes eye contact with you. Days later, he’s smiling every hour at least once. A week later he is smiling as long as he’s not sleeping or hungry. And you can’t remember when he went from a sleeping, crying lump to a little person who loves the sight of you.

Your baby turns his head a little when laying on his back. Days later, he squirms until he’s on his side. A week later he’s twisting his whole body, determined to flip. And then, when he is sleeping on his stomach every time within minutes of you putting him down on his back, you don’t remember a day when he couldn’t.

And so on with sitting, standing, crawling, and walking. One Halloween you hold him in the crook of your arm to keep him warm and hold his head up, and the next you are setting him on his feet, fighting him to keep his socks on and laughing at him as he stumbles around the room looking for the next thing to throw.

No wonder babies are so popular. That first year, they spend so much time learning how to be human that they don’t have time to hold grudges, be mean, or think about what’s wrong with the world. They live in a constant state of awe and wonder at what is great about what is around them. They look at a half-empty bottle of pop and see the bubbles, hear the crinkle it makes when you squeeze it, and feel the shift of weight when you tip it. (Yesterday, Wally Ben was fully entertained for 20 minutes in the car by a nearly empty plastic coke bottle. He’d shake it, then look at me, like, did you hear that? Do you see these bubbles? Can you believe it?)

What a great time—your baby’s first year. Every stage is better than the last. Every day is a new chance to get to know who your little guy or gal is going to be. And then 365 days have gone by, and your lump is walking, and you are trying to remember if you lived before you knew him, and you know the answer is yes, but you’re just not quite sure how.Best Smile


Wally Ben, so far you have proven to be so loving—you learned on your own how to give the dogs a hug the other day. You walk up to them, lay your head on their bellies, and give a sweet smile.

You are also so stubborn. If you don’t want your shoes on, good luck to the jamoke who’s job it is to put them on.

You are so social with kids, but shy with adults. You stare blankly when adults you don’t know try to say hi or tell you that you have such beautiful eyes. (A stare that says, hey, dude, you’re interrupting my view of the beautiful exit signs and fans in the room. Back off, bucko.) But you are so interested in your cousin Grady, and you could sit for hours in a room of playing kids and just watch.

This is one of the few times we can get you to sit, since you are also very busy. No snuggling for you. If you aren’t moving, you aren’t happy.

And you are also pretty funny. We’ve told you “no” to the bookshelf so many times that now you’ll walk up to the bookshelf, make eye contact with us, and shake your head no. And then you’ll proceed to pull a book or two down. Even though your dad and I are hiding laughs, it is NOT funny.

We can’t wait for you to start talking, since it will be great to know what’s going on in your curious little mind. We love you so much. Thanks for a great first year. Like everyone said it would, it went too fast, but it was a great adventure!

Privacy Preference Center