Monday, September 29, 2008

Ava at 12 months

This is a couple weeks late but Ava's a year old! I know that other parents say it all the time: I can't believe it's been a year! But really: 365 days since delivery, not to mention the 9+ months of pregnancy? It really has just flown by. Ava has gone from the tiny figure below on the ultrasound...
to the pig-tailed cutie below celebrating her 1st birthday with family and friends. 

Ava and her Grandpa

I really tried to keep it to a dull roar instead of one of the kid-stravaganzas that I've attended and heard about that are just a street use permit short of ridiculous.

We did have a lot of folks, but even a "family only" gathering for us means at least 12-15 people. So we went with a "y'all come" approach, figuring we'd manage however many showed up. It turns out three dozen or so folks felt like joining us to eat some gumbo and cupcakes and say Happy Birthday to Ava and congrats to us for surviving the first year.

You'll note the much more refined hairdo above. J.'s cousin's wife who is a hair stylist worked her magic just before cupcake time. 
Thanks Cousin!

As the mother of two always well-coiffed girls, she said, "Let me do her hair. Trust me: when she looks back on this picture, you don't want her thinking "Why did you let me have my picture taken like that?!" It'll just take a minute."

So we hustled Ava off to the bathroom for a quick hairwash and re-do on the hairdo. I think she'll be pleased when she looks back in a few years. If not, we'll spring a modification of an old yarn, "There were kids in developing countries without hair who would have been more than happy to have a hairdo like that." 

And she'll be all, "I thought we became the developing world after the stock market crash of '08 sent us hurtling back to dark ages and China foreclosed on our whole country?" And I'll say, "Whatever Ms. Smarty Pants. I'm just saying your hair was darling. Now help me translate this form so we can get food rations. You know I never learned much Mandarin."

With a year under her belt, Ava is cruising the furniture, shaking her head yes and no to indicate her preferences and this week added, "Uh-uh," with a head shake. No definite English words that we can ascertain, although we joke that perhaps she speaks Urdu or Tagolog and we're just too clueless to understand. 

At my parents' the day after her birthday, Ava reportedly said, "Hellooo?" into the phone. But again, we haven't heard it first hand. In my imagination, she intentionally waits until we're out of sight to suddenly walk, talk, read, text her toddler peeps, shoot pool and all manner of non-age appropriate activities, just to tweak us.

J.'s Great Aunt said she walked across the room just before I arrived home from work last week (one of the downsides of the working mom thing). Given that, she's still faking with us and insisting on holding our hands to toddle around, although it's a very fast toddle. Several times she has distractedly let go of the furniture and found herself standing unassisted, but she acts scared to venture too far from any support and try walking on her own. I've tried to use the Wizard of Oz analogy and tell her she's had the power all along, but she just stares at me with a puzzled look that seems to say, "What's this wizard stuff and who the heck is Ray Bolger?"

I'm starting the weaning process and as we phase it out, she's already eating pretty much what we do, with a few limitations: we're holding off on nuts a little longer due to concerns about allergies. And we've nixed fish and shellfish after an incident last month when a few bites led to her spewing a hot mess of it down my back, followed by body-wracking hurls every 6 1/2 minutes for the next two hours. Yeah, I timed it. It helped keep my mind from spinning out of control thinking about all the weird, rare diseases the hurling might be a sign of. Legionnaire's? Ebola? Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome?! Yeah, there is such a thing. See why focusing on her and my watch were much more productive?

The sad, perplexed look on her face just about broke our hearts as we swung into tag-team mode between the tears (hers and ours). J. ran bath water, mopped the floor and called the consultant nurse on speakerphone as I changed her clothes and mine, and cleaned her up and J. rubbed her back and murmured soothing words in her ear. The nurse's advice? Just let it clear her system then rehydrate her over the next 24 hours once the retching stopped. 

So we sat on the living room floor alternately rocking Ava and holding her over the sink and a small waste can. It was one of those defining moments of parenthood that made it clear, as if it wasn't already, that this little girl had unmistakably taken over and filled up every corner of our hearts in a way that neither of us could have imagined over the 14 prior years we'd been together. And it made us feel helpless, terrified, wonderful and close all at the same time.

Ava was fine within a few hours, and we were residual wrecks the next day. But I almost hope she retains some small recollection of the event so that in about 15 years when her friends suggest they try drinking she'll be all, "Um, I vomited once before so I've kinda been there, done that and have this tiny t-shirt as a memento."

Besides adventures in eating (with six teeth now!), crawling, toddling and hurling, over the past year, Ava's also taken her first plane ride, been scanned by the TSA, dodged cigarette smoke in Vegas, attended one of the last Seattle Sonic home games, attended lots of Seattle Storm games, spent the night in Portland, OR, gotten a passport and spent the night in Canada.

She is a happy, smiley little girl who loves shaking things, dancing to any music (Electronica and polka excepted, but that may have more to do with her parents), emptying bags, baskets and other containers to throw things on the floor, and being around new people, as long as she can take it all in from mom or dad's arms.

The slideshow below is evidence that A) we have access to too many cameras and B) it's been an action-packed first year with this little light of our life. Happy Birthday Ava. We love you.


  1. Happy birthday, Ava!

    And congrats to you and J for surviving the first year.

  2. What an amazing tribute! Ava (and her Mama and Papa) are beautiful. I especially love the pic of you and her (hospital maybe? you're in a ponytail looking at her next to you). Best to all three of you!

    And B and I are still happy to babysit whenever you will let us!