Thursday, January 28, 2010

One Year Old

Dear Charlotte,

What a year! I feel like we've been through way more than we possibly could have done in one year's time, and like we just left the hospital with you a few short weeks ago...all at the same time.

You've definitely made a spot for yourself in our family in the last year. You and Elizabeth are able to play together now, and it brings your Daddy and me so much joy to watch y'all chase each other or tickle each other and laugh, laugh, laugh. One of your favorite things to do is to fall on Elizabeth's tummy when she's laying on the floor and tickle her. You both think its so funny. I think you're going to be just as strong of a girl as she is. You have no issue holding your ground when she tries to take a toy away from you or make you do something you don't want to. No push-overs in our family!

Your extreme faces are probably one of the things that most characterize you. You're so animated! You can squnch your nose and eyes and mouth up one minute, and then have a huge grin with wide, bright eyes the next, and then be obviously pondering something as you frown the next. Nobody ever wonders how you're feeling.

As for your statistics, you learned to walk at about 10 1/2 months, you're working on cutting your 8th tooth right now, and you are starting to mimic some one syllable sounds now. (Elizabeth has so graciously taught you "noooo!", and you repeat it anytime she says it.)

The thing that has occupied most of our energy this year has been your mysterious health problems. You gain allergic sensitivity to everything we try to feed you. You eczema gets much worse, you get blood in your stools, and you start to loose weight. So, now, even at a year old, you're only on breast milk supplemented with an amino-acid based formula. I've been on a dairy-soy-corn-gluten free diet for the past several months, and you seem to do your best on that, although even that's not enough. We're seeing a pedi GI and a naturopathic doctor to try to sort it all out, but there doesn't seem to be an answer in sight any time soon. Through it all though, I am thankful that we have been able to keep focused on you, the person behind all these medical mysteries and the joy you bring, and not just the medical question marks.

There are so many things you do that warm my heart. You run up and give knee-hugs. You give long, relaxed chest-to-chest hugs. If we ask for kisses, you open your mouth really wide and place it right on top of our mouth. You move over to something that you know is off limits, look us square in the eye for a few seconds, and then walk away laughing saying "noh, noh, noh, noh, noh". You crack us up when you dance, with your knees bouncing and your rear end shaking. You get visibly excited when we start the bath water and do everything you can to lift your tiny leg up and climb into the tub yourself.

You are a joy to me. We've been through a lot together, and I feel a strong connection to you because of it all. Being your Mommy this year has taught me more than ever that there are things in this life that you can't control, and yet, it is possible to have joy in the midst of it all. Joy doesn't always mean smiles and giggles (although we certainly have an abundance of those at our house!), but something deeper. Something more permanent, more holy.

We named you Charlotte Gayle. Charlotte means strong woman, and Gayle means God's joy. I had a profound sense when you were in my tummy, 366 days ago, before we even knew you were a girl, that this was to be your name. Now I see that there couldn't have been anything more fitting. Strong and joy. That's just who you are. And we thank God for sharing the joy that is you with us.

Happy Birthday, Sweet Charlotte!


1 comment:

Alli said...

Precious girl! Give her a great big hug from me! Love you all.