Alice Juliet- 12 Months

Alice Juliet- 12 Months

Let's go ahead and acknowledge the fact that Alice's birthday was almost a month ago so I'm clearly late in getting this update written- the last one of her first year. =( In my defense, we have been pretty busy for the past month but I'm also admittedly in denial about her turning one. My baby is so BIG and it just makes me sad. Plus I have so many thoughts about this first year of motherhood that I've been trying to articulate them mentally before attempting to share them here, but I have finally decided to just press on, organized or not. 

That face!!! (All the heart eyes)
*All these pictures are by my friend Shelbie at Five Star Portraits! She's awesome! 

Weight and Length- not entirely sure because a mixup with her insurance meant we had to push her 12-month appointment back a few weeks, but definitely over 20 pounds (I'm thinking about 23) and probably 30-31 inches long. It seriously blows my mind that her entire body used to fit in the crook of my arm and now she hangs down past my waist. Crazy!

Nicknames- Al, Alice from the Palace, Ali Cat, Squish, Jolly Holiday, Chunky Monkey, Troll, Sugar Bee

Sleep- she is still a champion nighttime sleeper (around 8:30-7:30) and for that I am still throwing up all the praise hands emojis possible. We've balanced out to about two naps a day, around 10 and 2 or 3, and she (mostly) does a lot better about falling asleep although she still cries when I lay her down (only at nap time though, fortunately.) She still isn't a long napper but I've just come to accept that she's a cat-napper like her daddy. It's not ideal but it's okay. =)

Eating- as of this past weekend, she's officially done nursing! She was down to just one bedtime feeding anyway, but it still feels weird to be totally done. (Not that I'm complaining....) She is chowing down on just about anything I give her- seriously, this kid loves her food. And if she is sitting in her high chair, forget it- that location means she expects to be fed! She would eat indefinitely if I left her in her high chair! Ha! Lots of green beans, eggs, carrots, cheese, other vegetables, chicken, soup... she never met a food she didn't like! (Not yet, anyway!)

Clothing- she's mostly in 12 or 12-18 month stuff but definitely wearing some 18 month clothes too, especially tops since she needs the length of the bigger sizes. All the Christmas outfits out right now are SO tempting and we actually did just buy her a little plaid nightgown that is unbelievably adorable. The next few weeks are going to test my self-control for sure!

Pure Magic

Mood- for the most part, insanely happy and jolly. She is SO friendly and sociable (from a distance- she doesn't actually want anyone else holding her =) and typically very content unless she's hungry or it's nap time. She gives big grins to just about everyone she sees and is definitely curious and into everything. She's also starting to, shall we say, express herself more forcefully which is requiring more discipline and consistency on my part (which is challenging for sure.) But she is usually very joyful so I just focus on that as much as possible. And she's a mama's girl all the way. =)

Loves- snuggling with her mama (it only took her like 9 months but I'll take it! 

-Bath time- our number one go-to for a grumpy afternoon!
-Playing with daddy 
-Really anything with daddy- when he walks in from work she goes crazy. I love it!
-Chewing (on literally everything) 
-Mickey Mouse
-Music (White Christmas is our current favorite)
-Dancing (she doesn't dance much on her own but loves to bounce around with whoever is holding her)
-Ice cream- I blame Jonathan
-Riding in shopping carts 
-Snow globes (recent shopping discovery =)
-being read to (my favorite part of the day is her bedtime when I read to her.)

Doesn't Love- her carseat
-Being left in her room for a nap (oh the horror!)
-Sitting in her high chair without food. Ha!
-Having her diaper changed (so fun- it's like wrestling a snake)
-Being stuck in one place when she wants to move around and play (so basically all the time since the world is a death trap to a curious crawling baby with freakishly strong arms and legs)

Little Miss Determined (and Jonathan's twin!)

What I Want to Remember/Milestones- so many things! Her first birthday was so fun and kind of surreal, honestly. I just couldn't believe (and kind of still can't) that a whole year has passed. It has flown by but I also can only vaguely remember life before her (like, what did I DO all day?) We got her Alice pictures done (as you can see) and they were every bit as magical as I had dreamed. And at long last, she has teeth! Her first one arrived just in time for her birthday (about 3 days before) and she's had two more pop up since then with another on the way. Poor little thing was all gums for the longest time! She has changed so much in the past few months. She's into everything, very affectionate, pulling up and "walking" around that way (but not by herself),  and so so sweet. I just love her little arms wrapping around my neck and how she rests her hand in my hair pretty much 99% of the time. Even though she can be very stubborn (again, I blame her daddy =) and tests me daily, we have the best time together and she is just so fun to be around. 

Always happy with a stack of books!

What I'm Looking Forward To- the holidays! She's already obsessed with Christmas music, lights, and snow globes =) so I can only imagine how magical the next couple months will be now that she's much more aware of what's going on. If only I can resist buying ALL the Christmas clothes, books, coffee mugs (oh wait, this is about Alice, not me.)

Me- so, this is the part where I'm feeling super reflective and also so overwhelmed with thoughts and emotions (or feels, as I believe the kids call them these days) that it's hard to put it all into words. This year has flown by and crept by at different times. There were moments when it seemed a whole month had passed in an instant and times that half the morning felt like a week. (Those were usually when we were in the throes of a nap strike, heaven help me.) I've learned quite a bit about myself. I've learned that while I have adapted in countless ways this year, motherhood hasn't caused this massive change in my personality or the core of who I am like I thought it might. I still love to read, shop, sing Broadway songs as loudly as possible, watch Disney movies, etc... but now I do them with a little sidekick in tow. My sense of humor is still firmly in place and I am not a picture-perfect, never-loses-it "blogger mama." (You know the type.) But I am more patient than I ever dreamed I could be. Even when I'm tired, sick, mad, or whatever, I look at that face and (usually) manage a smile or a softer tone of voice than I really want to use or the energy to dance around the kitchen for a laugh. (You know I'm always a sucker for a laugh.) This little girl has brought me so much joy. We're together pretty much every moment, and that can be challenging (for both of us, actually) but she never ceases to delight me. 

I wondered (and worried) about how in the world I would handle being a mom, how I would know what to do, and when, and why. Nursing, food, schedules, sleeping, and round and round and round I'd go. I used to look at my sisters with their babies (especially their firsts) and think, "How do you know what to do? Like, HOW DO YOU KNOW?" (The Kid moment: "But what do I dooooo?") Anyway, they never really could answer me (super helpful) but it's the same for all moms, I guess. It's instincts and prayer and a supportive husband and educating yourself enough to not be ignorant but also ignoring the 17 trillion contradicting opinions available on your local Facebook. (God save us all from the Mommy Wars, amiright?) I've surprised myself not only with how much I've loved being a mom but also how much more natural it has felt to me than what I feared. (I'm not sure where all the uncertainty came from since I'm a reasonably intelligent person and had no plans to tote my baby around like a bag of flour but you know the mind does crazy things.) 

Of course I couldn't have done any of this without Jonathan. From my conversations with a lot of other moms, I know for a fact that he is a far more helpful and shares much more of the load of parenting than the average dad. He doesn't view his time with Alice as a chore or as babysitting. (Um, she's your kid, so...) He is so sweet and playful with her and is definitely the "fun" parent. And he gives me time to myself (cleverly disguised as "daddy/daughter dates"- ha!) and reminds me of all the good I'm doing when I feel like a big flop (which is fairly often.) 

Best daddy ever! She thinks he hung the moon, for sure. 

I may have to write another post on this subject but I'm just rambling now so I'll wrap it up. 

Ugh, I have a one-year-old. A TODDLER. Well, she's is technically a baby but still. "How could this happen, Nina Dickerson?!" I just want to remember this first year. It's been super hard with lots of tears shed but seriously more fun and joyful and hilarious than we thought possible. Everyone who knows Alice loves her. She lights up many lives, not just mine. She's sweet and loving and friendly and hilarious and SUCH a troll (but she knows it.) She is a gift from God to all of us! I don't know what we did without her and I know that our adventure is only just beginning. 

Happy birthday again, my darling girl. Your mama just adores you.