Monday, February 22, 2010

Happy Birthday, Natalie!

My baby turns one tomorrow.

Natalie-new brings so much joy to my life, to our family. Her big, whole-hearted smiles light up a room. Her little snort-laugh cracks me up. She brings plenty of excitement, with her constant movement and go-go-attitude. Natalie is a very laid back girl and only gets upset for two reasons: she's being left alone, or she's being put in the carseat, which also means she can't see everyone. To say she is a social baby would be a massive understatement. Technically, I guess she is a toddler now, with her big girl slow-but-steady stance and wobbly, fast first steps.

Last year at this time, I was closing up my office, preparing for maternity leave. I was looking forward to an evening with Jay, Mom, and the girls. I was tired, cranky, contracting, anxious, nervous.

She definitely made her birth exciting, from almost being born on the floor to causing some post-delivery problems for me. I cannot recall one second of disappointment, despite many people thinking we were 'trying for a boy.' I was so happy, content, with our little Natalie-New. I remember being so proud of the drug-free birth, like I had ran a marathon and finished with a personal best time. I remember holding her in those first moments and being concerned that she looked a little too purplish, so I handed her to the nurse to be rubbed down, even though the nurses thought she looked fine. I remember that first 24 hours, when she ate just about 45 minutes of every hour, and yet we determinedly fought through it to keep nursing (for 11 months!) But most of all, I remember being so proud of our little baby girl and hoping and praying she would remain healthy and strong.

From day one, Natalie has found ways to set herself apart, to shout at the world, "I may be the fourth daughter, but don't you forget me!" From her stark blue eyes to her full-face smile, itty-bitty stature and roly-poly moving, she is an amazing little girl. I sometimes catch myself thinking of what she will become, of what type of teenager or woman she will be, but I have to stop. It makes me too sad. I'm enjoying her right now and don't want time to move too fast. Don't grow up too fast, baby girl.

Natalie is such a daddy's girl now. For 11 months, she wanted mama, needed mama. But for the past month, she's been all about daddy. She won't even say Mama anymore, silly girl. It's only appropriate that she be a daddy's girl, since she is every bit her daddy's gene pool. From the light hair and eyes, to her easy-going demeanor, to the adorable cheekers, she is definitely a little mini-Jay. I'm not (too) jealous... at least, I wouldn't be if I could hear "mama" now and then! :)

Happy Birthday, Natalie Grace!

We love you

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