I think our 52 week old is determined to keep vigil until her official birthday in 5 hours. We've tried bedtime every way we know how... and she is not having it. She can barely keep her eyes open, but she will. not. give. in. Right now she is draped across me in bed, the bed in which she was born, 5 hours from now, a year ago, nursing again... It seems she might, finally, be settling. We shall see.
The smell of "lighter than air chocolate cake" is wafting into our bedroom. Kev is making the layers of this cake tonight which he will then freeze and frost tomorrow. Caroline's cake won't be especially girly or kiddish even. But... we know our girl likes chocolate. Months ago I accidentally dropped a chocolate chip and she gobbled it up. She greedily takes bits of Kev's homemade chocolate ice cream (made with coconut milk and agave nectar). We found a wheat free chocolate cake recipe that seemed a lovely way to celebrate her first birthday.
We have quite a crowd coming over tomorrow evening to celebrate. Jenn and Sean, our dear friends who are expecting their first baby in almost exactly a month. Jenn and Sean kept us company on many Friday evenings through the spring- and they co-planned our shower... and organized meals for us after the birth... They're going to be in childbirth class all day, but then come to join us. Jonathan and Tish, the other shower co-planners, and, in the case of Tish, birth attender/blogger/harmonizer, will be there too. As will dear friend Sam, the nurse midwife who helped me find a midwife here and then became a friend later. She had a baby about six weeks before I did. Her whole family is coming over- hubby, four year old son, and 1 year old daughter. Sung Uk, Young, and Jo An will also be joining us. They joined us for our 100th day celebration and it seemed fitting to have them join us again. Jo An is six weeks younger than Caroline. So we'll have at least three little girls who are all nearly the same age. We're hoping to do a Korean 1st birthday tradition tomorrow and also thought it would be cool to have our Korean friends here for that! Debbie, who was a Godsend when she arrived 9 or so hours after the birth, will be joining us, as will Kimberly (and maybe her family- including her daughter born a few weeks after Caroline) the head of the midwifery practice with whom we worked. Marecha, the primary midwife at our birth, will be stopping by, hopefully, though she has her niece's birthday party to attend. Marnique, one friend from church, will be coming too. I think I'm forgetting somebody. There are others from whom we have not yet heard... so, really, our little house might be bursting at the seams. Should be interesting! I think our little extrovert will LOVE all the attention and will especially love having other kids with whom to play.
Anyhow... developments this past week...
She has made great progress is walking. She still prefers her speedy bear crawl, but walks when she feels like it, quite effectively, and quite proudly. She even stepped over uneven surfaces and kept going this evening. It almost seemed this evening like maybe she'll just take off on her 1st birthday. That would be cool and memorable. I imagine seeing Fiona (Sam's daughter) scooting about, might just inspire her.
Kev reports that yesterday she seemed eager to practice her stair climbing. We have two steps down into our guest bathroom. She kept going down and up them over and over again.
She has been giggling and chuckling a lot lately. She is very ticklish. I was stroking her back while nursing the other day and she started laughing and laughing while nursing. It seemed tonight that she was experimenting with new kinds of smiles and laughs-- they almost seemed insincere at times. Very funny to witness.
She seems to be working on several teeth, again. Her moods have been erratic- high highs and low lows. And she often wakes from sleep screaming intensely. Poor thing. Kev started making roller coaster motions during her swings a few evenings ago. As she was getting more and more excited and wound up he'd make a sound like a roller coaster slowly climbing. And then when she'd start to disintegrate he'd make a sound like a roller coaster racing down, which would usually make her giggle and then send the roller coaster climbing again.
Caroline loves sniffing. She has a book about animals, one of which has a page that says "Rabbits sniff." She sniffs when she sees the cover of that book and races through the pages until she gets to that one when she starts sniffing madly again. Too cute.
Up until today we were ready to report that she had made great strides in gentleness. Aunt Janet taught her a handy saying "Open hands for living things" and she would respond to that or even just "Gentle, Caroline, gentle" by softening her touch and stroking vs. grabbing or clawing. But today... back to aggressive. Ah well. We know she has gentle potential in her.
But the biggest news of all??? CAROLINE HUGS NOW! She wraps her arms around our necks or throws them over our shoulders and squeezes and sometimes pats our backs. It is SO sweet.
We'll surely have pictures of the birthday girl to post tomorrow, but this is all for tonight. She's sleeping soundly now, stretched across me, as I am in the very spot from which I pushed her into the world a year ago. Wow.