I want to apologize first for not writing this letter to you for your first birthday. I was just over the moon with that milestone that my brain refused to slow down to write this. If you do not know my now, you will soon, your mom is a sucker for New Year. It makes me so happy, fills me with so much hope. So I thought I should write it at least now, so that the world can know what a lovely personality you have.
This year has been such a roller coaster. We started the year off with we all being in the winter shut down. You were getting your monthly RSV shots, we all had to shower as soon as we return from work, shopping , school and sanitizers were everywhere. It was so hard but we survived. Though spring came late, we all rushed out the door as fast as we could.
Your personality is so quirky and I am not able to brand you at all, because every time I do, you surprise us by doing the exact opposite. For a baby who got monthly physical therapy in anticipation of delayed motor skills, you started crawling at 6 months, standing at 9 months and walking at 13 months. You could also communicate so well, by 14 months. I also thought you will be more outgoing, but you are not. You are still shy and quiet.
We took you about 3 times to UVA after you got discharged and you passed with flying colors, and now have been officially discharged from physical therapy and the NICU clinic. Since the surgeons love you so much they will be following with you every year for a while still.
This year we travelled so much more than we usually do. Your first outing was the Tamizh New Year function at Blacksburg. It was a nice place to start. Your first overnight trip was to Columbia, SC to see some awesome friends- you also went to the zoo. The baby carrier saved the day. Your first flight was to Boston to see some of the people who have been dying to see you. We had so much fun. You also got your first haircut, for which you never cried, again a surprise, a beach visit, pampering and so much more. We also went on 2 more beach trips to Virginia Beach and Myrtle Beach. See, I told you, so much travelling. I wanted to show you the world, the world, which I truly believe you may not see. I love you my little man.
Then came your first birthday, it was the biggest gala we threw. People from all over the country came to celebrate you and your lovely brother. We were surrounded by family and friends who love us, cherish us and were so moved by the journey. You probably did not even realize the amount of love you were surrounded by. It was a lot of fun, though you were kind of sleepy and tired.
This year also marked a huge milestone- you started day care. The decision was not easy. Being around you, we felt you needed that extra stimulation. As you grew up, you started getting bored a little and I wanted to go back to work. The first few weeks you cried, and it broke my heart. In time you settled in and now you love it. Seeing your happy face at drop off is what keeps my day going.
I need to write about your favorite things- to top the list “Anna (Avy)”. He seems to be your favorite thing. The way you hug him, the way you call him Anna, the way you tease him, the way you bite him, the way you search for him after he goes to bed, the way you take anything you find that belongs to him like a pencil, a marker, his jacket, you have so much love. I do not see that same love when you are with me or Appa. It is a special bond. You also go to him if you a book to be read and the way you sit intently watching him read is so precious. I wish I can freeze time at that moment.
The next thing on the favorites list is “ball”. You love them so much. You collect them, you keep them safe, you try to carry them all at the same time, you cry if you see anyone else touch it, you kick them so beautifully…it is so precious.
The next thing is books. Now this was a total surprise to me. Avy is a bookworm, he always loved them. You have taken an interest in the last two months and it is so cool you have favorites by now and that you can identify the characters. I feel like I am seeing Avy’s childhood again. You chase us down to read the same book a 100 times and really I do know where the baby’s belly button is, and I do not have to read it so many times, yet I fall prey to the smile.
Next comes Daddy- I cannot believe you have become a daddy’s boy so soon. You call him ‘Amma’ though. You want to be a part of the rough play when Avy and Appa fight, you run away from me and pile on them. It is just too cute.
You are also enjoying Patti’s pampering and I am really thankful for that. She and you enjoy books, drawing on the doodle board. You also love to skype with the other set of grandparents, you smile and talk for them.
You are an independent soul, a fighter, you persevere. You never give up. If you need to somehow climb and pull our Christmas tree down, you do it. If you need anything from the top of the couch, you somehow get it. You also have a mind of your own, no one can make you do anything if you do not want to.
You are also happy. A very happy boy. You play on your own sometimes, you love music, you shake that little booty. When I was doing research on NICU babies one thing I saw across the board was how they are irritated, and difficult children. It would break my heart. Somehow you managed to fight and be happy. Stay that way my love.
All things cannot be so easy with you now? Can they? You are such a difficult child to feed. I mean you will eat anything that comes prepackaged- bars, cookies, raisins, yogurt- but not real food. You dad says I should put home-cooked food in a plastic bag and make you eat. I do know you have texture issues from being in the NICU, you do not like anything mushy in your hands etc, but please try and eat better. You are skinny to being with and I already have so much white hair from last year- let us get better huh?
You are so smart, you understand so much and you remind me so much of your brother at that age. You can identify 4-5 shapes, some colors, some letters, and you enjoy learning. Keep that way my shining star and you will go places. Can you believe this is your first normal winter and we are already in Jan and spring is not too far off? Hope to more travel this year.
I love you so much and life is becoming normal, enjoy that. Also be good to Anna, do not make him cry.