Monday, May 02, 2011

Owen turns one

One day last week, I watched my Owen walk from the kitchen into the playroom and began to tear up thinking, Is this the last baby that I will ever watch walk away from me to explore his little world?

A year ago last night, I was lumbering around the house, getting ready for bed. My older two were at Nana and PopPop's for a planned sleepover. Owen, who we did not know was an Owen, was 16 days late. Odds were in our favor that we'd have a baby that night. In fact, my father told my mother after we left their house that I was in labor. And he was right. And I didn't even know it until about midnight. Five hours later, Owen showed up.

Owen turned one today. Setting aside his poor sleep habits, he's been my easiest baby. I'm more skilled as a mother and he's more laid back. Whether he's just naturally this way or my relative serenity affects his demeanor, I don't know.

With my other two, I wrote many, many blog entries on their development throughout their first year. Enough to literally fill a book. I used Blurb to create each of their first year baby books. With Owen, he has a handful of dedicated blog posts. I feel a little guilty about that, but maybe the fact that I've enjoyed him more than I did the other babies makes up for it. And now I feel guilty that I didn't "enjoy" my other two babies as much as I do him. Sigh. Mother guilt is a vicious circle.

I will say that my level of enjoyment of him and her and the first him has more to do with me than them.  I'm different. I'm calmer and more confident as a mother. I'm no longer in culture shock. In fact, I'm fully acclimated to the culture; so much so that five hours of sleep in a row and sweeping the floor only three times a day is actually a good day. I know that there is a light at the end of the first-year tunnel and while it is the toddlerhood train, it comes with more predictable sleep patterns, more independence from mommy, more noise, more mischief and, God help me, potty training. It also comes with a 1 minute timeout for various infractions and a closing of the all-night booby buffet.

King of the leaf pile
But let me tell you about Owen, just to make up for the gross lack of posts about him this year. A mother does hate to compare her children. Each one is special in his own way. And pointing out special attributes of one does not detract from the specialness of the others, of course. However ...

He is definitely the calmest baby we've had.

He's also the snuggliest one we've had. He puts his thumb is his mouth and melts into my body. I could just hold him almost all day, and sometimes do, actually.

He's the happiest one we've had, too. Not that the others weren't happy, of course. But he just laughs and smiles more easily than the other two. To this day, in fact, Fiona makes you earn every smile. With Owen, all I have to do is bark and he giggles; all I have to do is look at him and he smiles.

And he's very smart. Jim took one look at this kid's expression when he was a few weeks old and predicted "He's going to be smart." (He called Fiona early on for wanting to be into and do everything and Danny for being loud. He was spot on.)

Case in point ...

The other night, Jim was running bathwater and it was a hot, but not hot enough to burn. Owen put his hand under, pulled it away and cried. He did it once more, then reached over to turn the cold water faucet on before happily putting his hand back under the water. Whoa.

He's strong willed and just plain strong. Putting a diaper on him, getting him dressed or giving him medication is a full body workout for us. He fights us every time I change his diaper no matter what I give him to play with.

He's persistent; either that or he just can't take a hint. I move him away from the toilet and he darts right back for it every time. I've heard other moms have success with redirection and distraction. That has never, ever worked in this house.

He's a scrappy little guy. Owen barges into the center of the fray with Danny and Fiona. Fiona chases him as he crawls and then the two of them wrestle. Danny calls his brother Oster the Toaster and I have visions of him being a linebacker. He's not afraid to grab toys or food from them, much to their dismay.

We celebrated his birthday this weekend with a small family gathering. The weather was glorious and we ate on the screen porch, which is officially my favorite room in the house now. He downed some pizza, a lot of fruit and an ice-cream cone cupcake. Actually, he grabbed the cupcake and shoved it in his mouth like it was his job. Which, of course, it was.

Then the sugar kicked in and he ran around the living room in circles chasing a balloon. It was way past his bedtime. But I sat on the steps laughing hysterically along with my mother and thought, "Life is quite good indeed even if he is the last baby we ever have."

Check out my dad's photos of Owen's first birthday party!


Kelley said...

Did you ever hear about the Easter Ed & Jeanne spent with us that no one had dry clothes to wear because every time my mom would hang the clothes to dry, Jeanne would throw them into the wash again? She was also continuously emptying the dishwasher--clean or not.

Josee said...

Kelley, that is hysterical!! I can just see Jeanne doing that, too. And I can see your mom's exasperated expression!