I’m sooo late in posting her final monthly baby update, partly because this little girl chose a birthday during my busy season at work (the nerve, ha!), but mostly because I feel so much self-imposed pressure to capture every last detail of her babyhood before her first birthday. But I’m glad I had a little extra time to process this month, because it’s been huge. As I’m writing this several weeks later, I’m realizing that she’s still (and will always be) my baby. She still snuggles the same, makes me laugh just as much as ever, and has so many innocent, sweet little quirks that endear her to me. So…we’ll just keep on swimming and making new memories. And that won’t end just because her monthly updates are finished!
OK…enough of the sappy stuff and on to updates from month 12!
• Her first word was “mama” on August 23rd! We were sitting at the dinner table, and when she looked right at me and said it, I knew it was on purpose. She had been really fussy earlier and it was a tough day, and I had just gotten home from work and felt so exhausted. So it felt like she was trying to cheer me up by talking, and it worked! I was so happy I cried. She kept repeating “mama” over and over again, and it’s still music to my ears.
• She still adores her daddy, but it took her a couple more weeks to start saying “dada.” Until she learned the different name, she would call E “mama” whenever he walked in the door from work!
• She also says “heyyy” and “yeah yeah yeah” but I’m not sure if those count as actual words, or more just fun sounds she likes to make. She loves to say “yeah yeah yeah” while we jiggle her chin up and down to make it sound funny.
• I’ve been working quite a bit with her on standing, but she’s still content to crawl everywhere or just stand/cruise while holding onto furniture. She seems a bit scared to let go and stand independently. I think we’ll be waiting awhile before her first steps…but I’m trying to be patient and appreciate the fact that she can’t run away from me just yet!
• We’ve been slowly weaning her off of bottles, and we’re down to one last bottle in the morning when she wakes up. I never realized how heartbreaking it would be to ditch that last bottle, but I’m majorly procrastinating – I love our morning snuggles while she feeds, and it’s one of my favorite parts of every day. She’ll be fine though..she’s moved on to drinking out of a straw cup like a total champ!
• She loves to move objects by pushing them around, “sorting” them (aka throwing them everywhere), and methodically pulling items out of drawers until she’s emptied everything out. I try so hard to keep the house clean-ish, but she’s always two steps ahead of me and undoing all my hard work 😉
Here’s a list of the words and phrases that she knows/understands right now:
botella / bottle, agua, palmaditas / clap, oreja, nariz, rebotar / bounce, shimmy, terremoto, hello, huggies, wave, mama, dada, Clara, fiesta, pelota, topes, high five, tambor, bang bang, turn the page, Alexa, Baby shark, Elmo slide, No, ho ho ho, lengua, shake, macarena, trapo, brush, mwuah
I didn’t realize until I typed them all out, but she has equal amounts of Spanish and English words right now. Some words she only knows in Spanish, others only in English, and a few she knows in both versions. I love that she is growing up bilingual like her dad, especially since my Spanish is nowhere near fluent. I’m sure it will be harder to keep up as she gets older, but for now, I’m happy to learn Spanish alongside her.
Some funny stories from a couple of those words:
• “Ho ho ho” – every night we put some lotion on her chin before she goes to bed. It makes her look like a little baby Santa Claus, so we started saying “ho ho ho” when we put it on her. She looooves this lotion because she thinks it tastes yummy and likes to lick it off her face, so she started asking for her “snack” by saying “ho ho ho” before bedtime. LOL, silly kid.
• “Macarena” – one time I looked up and saw her dancing for her reflection. I guess she was trying to impress that cool new baby in the mirror 🙂 She put her hands over her head and shimmied, and it looked like the end of the dance from the Macarena. So we started saying it all the time, and now she dances on cue! Sooo adorable!
• “Mwuah” – I say that whenever I kiss her, and she started trying to copy me but couldn’t quite get the “mmm” part. So instead, it came out as “booo-waaahhh” and now she says that all the time!
She turned ONE on September 20th and we celebrated with a little cake smash and balloons at home, just the three of us. She had never had sugar in her life, so she was a little unsure what to think at first – but within no time, she stuck her whole face in the cake! She ate sooo much cake…we probably should have stopped her earlier, but it was fun watching her enjoy it so much!
I wrote this for her birthday and I’m including it here so I don’t forget:
You turned ONE yesterday and I still can’t wrap my mind around it! Wasn’t I just studying your face for the very first time in the glow of 3 a.m. hospital lights? And now here you are, smiling and chattering and eating birthday cake. Time is strange.
This year has been full of transformation for both of us. We’ve learned and grown alongside each other. While you learned how to do things like roll over and sit up, your dad and I navigated wake window schedules and car seat installation and googling diaper rashes. We let go of our old identities and built new ones around you.
I’m so excited for the adventures still ahead of us, and I love the independent little person you are becoming. But I’m holding onto your baby details, too. I live for those fleeting moments when you curl up into my chest and snuggle your head into my neck. My little baby. Skin so soft, hair smelling like Mustela, the rise and fall of your chest as you breathe. The twinkle in your eye when I play hide and seek or pretend to drink from your bottle. The unbridled giggles of delight when I tickle your belly. I know these details will be replaced with different joys as you get older, and I am trying to etch the little moments of magic into my memory forever even as my tired and weary brain lets them wash away too quickly.
My rainbow baby, I love you more than I can possibly express in just a few paragraphs. I hope one day you’ll realize how much joy you’ve brought into our lives. Te amo, Clarita ❤️
Our girl is solidly a belly sleeper now. It’s tricky to sneak a photo of her sleeping because it’s usually pitch-black in her nursery, but once in awhile I raise the blinds to snap a few because she looks so angelic while she’s napping.
I took tons of black & white images this month…there’s something so nostalgic about a good B&W.
Dining alfresco…lucky little girl!
We call it her “nugget pose” when she curls up like this.
She’s tuned in to every little sound, even ones we don’t notice. Here she is peeking out the window to see what’s going on outside!
These next few photos are beyond special to me! The lavender dress is her grandmother’s from when she was a baby. My mom didn’t have the toy poodle anymore, but I was able to find a similar vintage one to recreate the photo!
Here is the original photo of my mom (Clara’s grandmother) from 1961:
And here is the recreated image of Clara in 2021 🙂
Loooves hiding under blankets and scarves with me:
Definitely still daddy’s girl!
Is there anything cuter than a baby in a bear suit?!!! I think not!
I’m making an effort to let Clara play in the dirt more often. I try to trust that Oxiclean has our back 😉
She doesn’t sleep on her back much at all anymore, so this photo is beyond special to me! (blanket and wand added just for the photo)
Celebrating Mexican Independence Day with a special dress her Abuelos gave to her!
Lest you think that our house is typically clean, here is a photo to set you straight: dishes, toys, and baby gear everywhere. I’m constantly trying to straighten up, but I don’t seem to get very far before it’s a mess again!
Here are her “official” first birthday portraits! One of my photographer friends, Beth Miga, graciously reached out and offered to let me use her gorgeous studio for Clara’s birthday. It was such a gift to be able to shoot in such a beautiful space! Beth, I’m beyond grateful for this gift!!!
Mama/daughter photos taken by E ♥
Grumpy Clara makes me giggle.
Later that day, we came home and had our own little family celebration with her birthday cake.
Thank you to Lizzie Johnson for her gorgeous cake! If you live in Boston, hire her!
She makes faces and shudders whenever she tries a new food:
Even though I took the following photos after her birthday, I’ll include them here because I’m not sure when I’ll get around to posting again now that her monthly updates are finished. These deadlines have been so helpful to motivate me to keep up with editing personal work, so I’m hoping to continue to share one post per season. We’ll see how things go! 🙂
The day after her birthday, we had a VERY special visitor who waited sooo long to meet Clara: her great-grandmother!!! After postponing her trip twice, once due to injury and another due to the rise of the Delta variant in August, my grandmother got her booster shot and we all decided it was finally time for her to fly from Texas to meet Clara. I cried watching her say hello for the first time…I wasn’t sure if we would ever get the opportunity to introduce them!
Coincidentally, the timing of her visit ended up right between Clara’s birthday (the 20th) and my grandmother’s birthday (the 25th), so we called them birthday twins and had a little joint birthday celebration for them. You’d never know they were three generations apart, since they became best friends during her short visit!
Wrapped in the blanket that my grandma spent a year learning how to knit for her:
Finally, just a few memories from early fall: apple picking, a visit to the pumpkin patch, and a walk around Beacon Hill when my mom arrived to help take care of Clara during busy season.
If you’ve made it this far, thank you for reading these posts this year and allowing me to share the beginning of my motherhood journey. It has helped the pandemic feel a lot less lonely to be able to share updates and photos here. ♥
Updates from previous months: