letter to madison

Madison and her smash cake

Today is Madison’s first birthday! I wanted to give Madison a keepsake for her birthday, and I had the idea to ask some close family and friends to write her a letter for her birthday. I’ll put them all in her baby book so that she can look back and read them once she is older. Maybe one day when she becomes a mother herself, she can do the same for her baby.

I decided to share the letter that I wrote for her last night.

Tonight is August 24, 2011 – the night before your very first birthday. I can’t believe it has been a whole year since we welcomed you into our lives. This has been the most amazing year of my life, full of moments I never could have imagined before you came along. I learned a lot about myself and a lot about love.

I started loving you from the moment your Dad and I found out I was pregnant. I’ll never forget it. It was Christmas morning 2009, at about 5AM, and I couldn’t wait any longer to take the home pregnancy test. I remember holding your Dad’s hand as he opened the bathroom door, and we both leaned in to see the results: two pink lines. It was my very first glimpse of you, and already I was in love.

All through my pregnancy, I carried you lovingly, and I couldn’t wait for the day until I would get to meet you. On August 25, 2010, at 4:27PM, you came into this world and into my heart. I can’t begin to describe the feeling I had when I first got to hold you in my arms. You were sticky and wet, but having you on my chest, skin to skin, was the best feeling in the world. My first thought was, “I can’t believe you’re here!” That would be the first of many times you amazed me just by being you.

You’ve grown and changed so much in this first year, from being a tiny 6 lb 8 oz newborn, who relied on me for absolutely everything to where you are today: walking around all on your own, feeding yourself independently and making sure all of us know exactly what you like and don’t like… You’ve taken so many leaps forward in your development, from all of the typical baby milestones like learning to roll over and sit up, to showing us your unique sense of humor and personality.

You’ve inherited a lot from me. I can see my stubbornness in you, but I also see my determination. I can see that you love animals, like I do. I can tell that you like to have things done your way, in your time, and that’s like me, too. I hope to teach you many things as you grow up, but to be honest, sweetheart, you’ve been teaching me so much in return.

I feel like I’m experiencing life through your eyes sometimes. When you said “ooh!” the first time you saw a giraffe at the zoo, I thought of how incredible it must have felt to see something that you’ve never seen before. When you looked at me in amazement after you tried ice cream, I thought of how interesting it would have been to have something so cold for the first time. I’m so happy that I have been with you for all of your firsts.

I read somewhere that for the first few months of a baby’s life, the baby thinks that the mother is actually part of its being. I can see how that could be true… everything you did was with me right by your side. I carried you everywhere, I nursed you, changed you, comforted you, rocked you to sleep, cuddled you while you were awake, sang to you when you were upset and kissed you and hugged you endlessly. Now that you’re turning one, you’re able to play on your own and put yourself to sleep, and even walk away from me. You’re starting to realize that you’re separate from me and that you are your very own person.

Just know that as you grow older and more independent, I’ll always love you and be amazed by you. Munchkin, I love you more than I ever thought was possible. Happy birthday, Madison.

my little walker

Standing and eating an apple

Two days before we left to come back home to Vancouver for a visit, Maddy took her momentous first step! I was so excited and proud of her. That day and the next day, she continued to take a step on her own a few times throughout the day. The morning that we left, she took two steps. That was just over a week ago, and already the difference is staggering. She is walking all over the place now, much to the delight of all of her grandparents, aunts and uncles.

 
I guess it’s even better for her that she gets so much encouragement and positive reinforcement for every single step that she takes. It’s more praise than I can lavish on her by myself, and I think that it must make a difference in how confident she is and how motivated she is to try again and again. She still crawls around, but it’s probably a bit closer to 50/50 with walking and crawling now. What blows me away is how quickly she is progressing. She’ll turn one year old in just over a week and she’s already developed so many new skills.
 
When she first took those single steps, she was so wobbly and wasn’t sure how to balance on just one leg for long enough to take a second step. Now she is walking from the couch to the kitchen, from the coffee table to the bench at the front door, and everywhere in between. She’s starting to move pretty quickly and I can tell she wants to run. No doubt skating will be next 🙂 When she loses her balance and falls down, she’s very good about landing on her bum, then will often stand back up and try to walk again instead of just deciding to continue by crawling.
 
She has adopted an interesting pose while walking, though, and it really cracks me up. Madison seems to like holding her arms up when she walks around, whether she’s got them bent at the elbows so that her fists are at her shoulders, or straight up so that it looks like she’s cheering.
 
We’re cheering her on, too!

like a dream

Happy Madison

It’s incredible. It’s working!!! It has been just over two weeks since we started sleep training Madison, and the results have been nothing short of amazing. I just put Madison down for her nap and it went something like this:

Madison starts getting cranky. It’s one of her sleepy signs, along with rubbing her eyes and yawning.

I pick her up and sing her sleepytime song as I walk up the stairs, take her into her room and turn on the sound machine, fan and baby monitor.

I give her a milk top-up in the rocking chair, then pop her soother into her mouth and give her a little cuddle.

She gets a kiss on the forehead as we walk to her crib, and I put her in gently and give her her teddy bear.

I leave the room.

That’s it! It’s magic! She now falls asleep on her own, nearly every time, for every nap and bedtime. I have to say that our quality of life has improved dramatically now that Madison has been sleep trained. Sometimes I can’t believe that it’s possible that she falls asleep on her own so well. Originally, we had only gone to the sleep consultant for help with baby’s naps, and we were happy enough with her nighttime sleep. Well, with this sleep training, we have gotten the additional benefit of better nighttime sleep as well.

Bedtime is now earlier. We used to put Maddy to sleep around 7:30 or 8, and we had to rock her to sleep. Now, I do her last milk feed at 6:45, then Murray reads her a book and puts her in her crib. She’s often asleep by 7 or 7:10PM, then we have the rest of the evening to ourselves! It’s nice that we get more time with just the two of us so we can actually relax together. The mornings are also better now, too. She used to wake up sometime between about 4-6AM, at which point we’d put her in bed with us. Now she will usually sleep in her crib till 7, occasionally 7:30AM. This morning she stunned me by sleeping until 7:45!

We are so proud of our little girl. She did it! And I survived.

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