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I looked everywhere for a fun birthday tradition for our daughter. One fun thing we did for our daughter’s first birthday that I thought would be meaningful later was to write a letter to her in a journal. My husband and I each wrote our own note. Every year, on her birthday, we plan to write her a new letter about what parenting her that year has been like. Basically reminiscing about the past year and telling her how much we love her. We plan to give her the journal on her 18th birthday or when she graduates from high school. Haven’t decided yet! I don’t think it is possible to tell your child too many times how much you love him or her, so this is just another way we want to make her feel special when she is older and moves away from home.
Here is the journal that we picked out. It has thick, handmade paper that was so fun to write on.
And here’s the letter to our one year old:
“Well, baby girl, you have turned our lives upside down! Your dad and I used to sleep at night, we used to have hobbies, and we used to be able to be spontaneous with date nights, eating out, and even watching TV at night. You definitely showed us how self-absorbed we were when you were born since suddenly our lives revolved around you—all day and most of the night too! We love you so much though, and we wouldn’t have it any other way!
We have been so proud of you as you’ve met every milestone and grown into your own person. Our hearts were filled with love and joy when you smiled your first real smile (at yourself in the mirror of the kick n play, of course!) and laughed the cutest little laugh one day when I went to change your diaper. When you started babbling (finally!), your dadada was with the sweetest little high-pitched voice. You later followed that sweet dada voice with screamed, low-pitched baaaa’s, which were so funny to hear. When you learned to roll over both ways, we were so proud! And then you were all over the house and into everything all of a sudden!
After learning to crawl, you soon decided you needed to stand up too, so you practiced and practiced until one day you did it yourself. You were no longer our little baby, but our big girl then! I couldn’t believe how fast time was moving. You’ve since said your first words (“hiiiii” and “hair”), and we’ve bought you your first pair of big girl shoes. We are still waiting for you to take your first independent steps. And now you’re turning one!
You have some of the cutest, strangest habits too. For instance, you went through phases of sniffing indignantly, panting like a dog, banging your head against the crib on purpose, squealing and goose-honking at the top of your lungs in public, and making absurd wheezing sounds. You have an adorably odd sense of humor. At times, you have laughed when you (or even I) have burped, sneezed, or passed gas. We have been encouraging your potty humor, much to the dismay of most civilized and proper people, I’m sure. You love to play peek-a-boo, laugh your fake laugh all by yourself, and you always have your hands all over us—grasping for hair, necklaces, noses, glasses, necklines…you name it. You love to read books, and you hate napping, although you have formed quite the bond with your little “hankie” you sleep with.
When you were younger, you didn’t like to eat much. We have always worried about your weight. But you keep growing along your little petite girl curve. Madison has looked bigger than you since she was 3 or 4 months old. However, you have yet to see reason to eat more! You really like to eat Crunchies, Puffs, Cheerios, and deli turkey. I know, not ideal, but you adamantly refuse everything else despite months of occupational therapy! Sometimes we have no choice but to let you have a little baby starch buffet for dinner.
We have lovingly referred to you as the tiny dictator and the tiny turd nugget over this last year. You are persistent, stubborn, and you know exactly what you want and how to get it! Pregnancy with you was rough, and we learned you were a fighter in the womb. We should have known you would come out with a personality that was so much bigger than you!
When you got so sick when you were almost 4 months old, I was so scared. Your dad and I held you all night and day for days so we could make sure you were taken care of. I don’t think I slept for days worrying about you. You made that sad little whiny cry, and I could do nothing else but hold and cuddle you while walking you around the circle in our house. I took your temperature almost every 5 minutes, I worried so much about you. I even bought another thermometer (this brought the total count up to 4) to make sure I was accurate enough! Despite how many more times you’ve been sick this year since this first doozy and how many times we’ve been to all your specialists and therapists, you still have the sweetest, most jolly disposition.
We love you so much sweet girl, and we pray for you and thank God for you every day. We are so proud of you, not because of what you have done this year, but because you are ours! And we hope your second year of life is as exciting as your first! Your dad and I wouldn’t complain if it was filled with a couple more hours of sleep, though…”
What birthday tradition does your family have?