Vivvi, my girl. My sweet and salty little renegade wonder. I cannot believe you are one, and at the same time I can hardly remember you as a helpless little ragdoll last April—it feels like so long ago.

I feel bad that I hardly remember, but I mostly blame you for my lack of memory. You have proven to be such an independent starlet that I can’t remember you needing me so much. Ever since you could sit independently at four months old, you have entertained yourself for hours at a time. I can leave you wandering a room, and you will find an item to walk around with, staring at it, fiddling with it, banging it on different surfaces to test the sound. Then you will find something else after a while and do the same thing.

And you are smart—an engineer. Always opening and closing things, testing what fits where. (Just today you put your brother’s stuffed animal giraffe in the diaper bin and closed the lever to make it disappear. I had to fish it out of the dirty diaps.  I won’t tell him if you don’t!) At 9 months old, you were playing with a tube you found in a sliding door insert. You did your fiddling thing, and then you returned the tube to where you found it, and puzzled with it, putting it in parallel with the door slides, the right way so it would fit, like a puzzle. Then you practiced taking it out and putting it back, until you had it down.

This puzzling work shouldn’t surprise me, though, since you are also persistent. This is probably why you have been able to walk since 10 months old—you like to try something, and then practice it until you know it. When you first started walking, your favorite thing was to walk 10 feet between Daddy and Mommy, throwing yourself into us at the last second for a congratulations hug before turning around and going back to the other. You would do this for hours. Occasionally since then, you will “work on” something for a day—walking backwards, fake laughing, stepping up and down a stair. You do this all completely deadpan, all day, and we laugh and laugh.

Somehow, despite your independence, you are so in love with our little family. You can’t get enough of your Daddy, you are fiercely attached to your mommy when we are not home, and your brother is your hero. And you are his—it would be an epic challenge to discover who cherishes who more between the two of you. You are so lucky to have each other. Ever since you could move, you two have played, laughing at each other, each thinking you are playing a different game, but each enjoying it the same. You are an excellent little sister to counterpoint your big brother.

Now before I get too carried away with my compliments, I’ll tell you what I tell your brother all the time—Vivvi is a trouble maker. You think “no” is funny. Your dad and I agree that we may be in for it. Ever since you could crawl toward trouble, I’ve seen a fiery look in your eyes—you’ve got spirit, you do, and a lot of it to boot! I hope you can tame your spirit into true grit and stay out of trouble. That pluck can take you far, if you can steer it!

And girlie, you are one funny cookie. You make goofy faces, nod your head like its off its hinge, and try to figure out what will amuse us the most. And then when we laugh (your brother splitting his gut most of the time), you just keep at it to keep us laughing, never breaking character. You’re toddling your way right to Second City, in your own Vivvi way.

We love you, girlie. It was a great first year. Thank you for being our sweet little spark plug.

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