Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Whitley Turns 1 Year

My dearest little Whitley has turned into a vibrant, loving, and adorable one year old as of today.

Enjoying some Christmas time with daddy.
What words can I possibly have to describe this momentous occasion in such a precious life? I guess I can start by saying that, 1 year later, Andrea and I still can't look at the birth pictures of our little dear without breaking into tears. I mean, just look at the moment:

Andrea wouldn't let me put up the picture of her crying.
Clearly we were just ecstatic that we had her now in our lives. Looking back, those 36 hours of no sleep were totally worth it so we could experience the wonderful moment of her birth together. The nights of interrupted sleep since have also been worth it (though not as well received). I can't wait to experience this sort of moment all over again.

A Recap of the Year

Whitley has grown up with pretty much all of my family and friends being able to follow some of the special moments in her life because of my constant photo taking/sharing on Facebook. I don't regret it for a minute; and if any of my Facebook friends haven't enjoyed it, then too bad. There is hardly a thing in the world I can think of that would be more fitting to bring joy and happiness to a person's life than a picture or video of one so sweet.

That being said, there has been plenty that I can still say about Whitley. For the sake of brevity, I will refrain from an exhaustive list and just focus on those things that have been truly relevant to both me and (possibly) her. Andrea has also helped out in these moments, but I am the author here so they revolve primarily around me.

Watching from the Chair

Whitley has, from the very beginning, wanted to be involved in just about everything that was going on. Of course, for the first month of her life nothing really happened but watching her be adorable as ever. But as we moved along we were able to start venturing out more and enjoy doing things with her watching. For the most part though, we watched her watch us from a sitting position.

Looking lively.
Every morning when Andrea and I would eat breakfast we would set her in this position to watch as we ate. She didn't mind really, she just liked to be included. In fact, she preferred that to the constant movement involved with holding her and eating at the same time. What this act really reflected though is that she really just wants to be involved in almost everything that is going on, and she wants to see if she isn't able to do it.

A trait that we have loved about Whit is just how much she wants to be around us. I am not really sure what other babies are like (at least not yet), but our little girl would slow crawl and cry after us whenever we would leave a room, even if it was just to go get a kleenex. She has always been attached at the hip, and we love it. One downside to this though is that she really doesn't like other people all that much. Well, actually, she does like other people, but from a distance from the safety of mom or dad's arms. Rarely does she go willingly to someone, even if she knows them, and especially not to someone she doesn't know. However, she will spend an entire church meeting staring at someone, waiting for them to notice her so she can give them a beautiful, cheerful smile.

The Unflappable Whitley

Among the many admirable traits of our dear girl is the irrepressible good nature she exudes at nearly all times. You could smash a cake in her face and she will still be happy. Every doctor appointment's hardest trial is the time spent with the doctor examining her, with the shots being a less traumatic ordeal (only sort of. Dad cried quite a bit the first couple of shots and so did Whitley. But now it is far worse when the doctor is doing stuff). But despite those moments where she is confronted with people who aren't mom and dad, she almost never screams or cries. There have been times when she has diaper sores so bad that she has open sores, yet she only cries when we change the diaper. She is a true trooper.

She is super tough.
One of the strong points of Whitley's personality that has been repeatedly commented on is just how even-keeled and good natured she is. Without fail people will forget that a baby is in the room because she had been sitting quietly and enjoying the crowd for hours without so much as a yell or cry for attention. She loves being with people and enjoys watching them, and most importantly she does so without having to make accommodation for her. Whereas I have seen several people with kids need to constantly monitor and control their little one year old, Whitley just likes to play calmly with whoever is near. She will need that good nature when her future siblings join us.

The Adorable Whitley

Finally I just want to finish this rather short post by saying that there has never been a sweeter, more adorable, and loving little person in our life. Every day we are blessed to wake up to this:

Actually, that is only when she is trying to be creepy. It looks a lot more like this:

Always smiling, ever loving, and constantly gentle. Some of the more adorable traits that you only get to see when you are her parents are the following:
  • The cute way in which she opens up the curtains when she wakes up in the morning to stare out at the sun.
  • When she comes at your face with an open mouth and gums (now bites) your nose. We really can't figure out where this one came from, but it really is the cutest thing ever.
  • I cannot understate just how adorable the slow-crawl-cry is when she is trying to come after you when you leave a room. It is both heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time. I know we aren't supposed to be helicopter parents, but it is hard when she wants you to be and she is so dang cute.
  • Her dancing to music from any source. Right now she can really only wave her arms and bounce up and down, but I can see more advanced moves coming in her future.
  • The way her eyes light up when daddy comes home. She smiles, screams with joy, and then fast crawls to within five feet of me, upon which time she then starts to crawl away in a different direction because she wants me to chase her. Again, not sure where she learned this, but it is so dang cute.
  • Her utter fear at being tossed in the air. She clenches her body like she is passing some major poopies when she is thrown any more than inch above your hands and has this crazed look in her eyes.
  • When she is nursing and gets distracted by the ceiling fan and refuses to focus.
  • Her obsession with holding things in her hands and pushing them along the floor as she crawls. It is so funny watching her hold on to the same chapstick tube for a few hours, and then later realize she had brought it into her crib with her.
  • The little blub-blub-blub she makes when she isn't happy at something.
  • Her laugh brightens even the darkest room, and it sounds indescribably beautiful (best description I could think of).
  • Watching her play with other children. We can't wait to see how she does with her siblings.
  • When she hugs you and puts her head on your shoulder.
  • When she falls asleep mid play because she just didn't want to sleep earlier for the fun she was having.
  • The fact that she preferred standing over sitting since she was one month old.
  • Her bald little head.
  • Her funny little walk.
  • Her climbing onto everything.
  • Her taking things out of the cabinet drawers.
  • Her dislike of getting changed into any clothes (she doesn't mind clothes, she just hates being laid down or forced to hold still long enough to put them on or take them off).
And many, many other cute little things.

For real, I am adorable.

No, for real, I am adorable.
For real, I am really really cute.
Dude, how cute am I?
Ok, last one, I promise.
Did you really think it was the last one?
And I leave you with this.


We really don't know what we used to do for fun before Whitley (actually, we know very well what we did, but she is a great replacement). With our next child we are going to have to plan on how we will balance our time between the two. It has been a great fear of mine (and a little of Andrea's) that when her sibling comes we will not know how to split our love. How can you love someone as much as we love Whitley? I guess we will find out soon. In the meantime, we really just can't get enough of her. We count our several blessings each and every day. It may cause us great pains when we try and leave her in her crib to cry because she has refused to go to bed for over an hour, and it may be that we are always struggling to not feel anger when she doesn't want to sleep at 3 in the morning, or that she decides she really just wants to sleep in our bed and take up all of our space; in the end it is all more than worth it. 

We welcome the next one with all the challenges because we know, thanks to Whitley, that the joy far exceeds the pains and sacrifices. I hope Whitley is a fantastic big sister, and I really don't have to hope that much because I am confident that she will be. Either way, we will find out soon, and Whitley will shine as she always has.