Alice: 12 Months

I used to think that the first year of B’s life was the fastest one of mine…until these last 365 days.

Over the last few days, I’ve been trying to remember the details around Alice’s birth and it’s all a bit fuzzy. I was pretty mad that I had to be induced, feeling like I had somehow failed in some way because my blood pressure was out of control and my body couldn’t just do what it was supposed to on its own. I have a vague memory of watching reruns of Downton Abbey and repeatedly pushing the call button to summon the night time nurse every time it felt like my epidural was wearing off.

But, I clearly remember the moment that they laid her on my chest. Alice’s eyes locked on mine instantly, and it felt like we had known each other forever.

I loved her immediately.

But, bringing her home threw me for a loop. Those first few months were hard. While I was pregnant, other mothers told me how much easier it was for them to go from one to two kids. Not so, for me.

Knowing that Alice was going to be my last baby, I tried to soak in every bit of her newborn-ness, like I did with her sister. But, it turns out that’s a lot harder to do when said newborn cries almost continuously for the first five weeks of life and you are running up and down the steps with a potty train a 2.5 year old.

I remember my exact worst moment: standing in the kitchen, holding a wailing three-week old Alice, willing a bottle to just warm up faster god damn it, while an over tired B tugged on my pant leg while yelling “Mama, mama, mama” over and over again at top volume. All I could do was stare straight ahead and cry myself.

It took months for me to begin to feel like myself again and months after that to even begin to figure how to balance the demands of two tiny humans, along with all of the other things that life dishes out.

But, suddenly, one day, our new normal actually felt…well, normal. It was like she had always been in our lives.

And, before I knew it, it was February 18 again, and the littlest love of my life woke up as a one-year old. She is taking tentative baby steps, learning new words every day (her latest phrase is “good girl”) and getting bigger–in terms of size (21 pounds, 9.5 ounces and 2 and a half feet tall!) and personality–every day.

It’s hard to put into words all of the reasons that Alice is so special…but I’ll try:

Most days, it seems that no one loves life more than our Allie Girl. She smiles with her entire body, and when she laughs, her eyes crinkle so much that they are reduced to tiny little slits. When I’m having a down moment, all I have to do is think of her little face and I can’t help but laugh, too.

In spite of this extreme goofiness, she has a serious side. I frequently catch her in a daydream or intently studying her toys to figure out their inner workings. So, it seems that she’ll either be a stand-up comedian or an engineer.

A always seems to know when someone needs a hug, kiss, a laugh or a pat on the head (for her friends of the four-legged variety). I love how much she loves B. Just this morning, the two of them walked across the living room floor holding hands, and I was so happy because I know that no matter what happens in their lives they will always be each other’s “person.”

She has strong feelings, and she isn’t afraid to let you know about them. When she’s happy, she practically vibrates. When she’s pissed, it’s hard to tell the difference between her and the Hulk. She’s completely and totally herself.

I didn’t think it was possible to feel more love, joy and sense of purpose than I did when B came into our lives. And, then, along came Allie. She was the missing piece in the puzzle of our little family.

Happy Birthday, my Allie.

I’ll love you forever.

I’ll like you for always.

As long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be.

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