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A year of 'firsts'

Kenlee is 1 year old.

Actually, she's been 1 for a week now, I've just been way too busy to blog about it.

 Kenlee's party was great and bittersweet as expected. We had a cookout with family and friends — followed by a bonfire and momma having some much needed margaritas.

On her actually birthday, Sunday, we went to the zoo, just the three of us. It was a great way to celebrate her birthday and my first Mother's Day. (Minus a minor case of food poisoning.)

Kenlee, when you're 16 and reading this you're gonna think I didn't care enough to write a post on your birthday. Actually, I was way too busy party planning, playing and assembling your awesome present (a water table that you tried out today and LOVED). So, I cared, just not on the Internet.

And it's not like I didn't write to commemorate the occasion. Here's the column I wrote about our first year, which was published in The Bryan Times last week. Enjoy!

It was a year of 'firsts'

Last year on Mother’s Day, I remember sitting around and feeling very, very pregnant and waiting to have a baby. Kyle and I visited with our mothers and I plastered on a smile. Because all I really, really wanted to do was take a nap.

I don’t think I ever got that nap, but I did have that baby — five days later — on Friday, May 13, 2011. I endured a 39-hour labor induction before a c-section finally brought our baby girl into the world.

It’s been a wonderful, crazy, stressful and hilarious year since.

And it’s completely fitting that Sunday is not only Kenlee’s first birthday, but also my first Mother’s Day.

“Firsts” is a good theme for the day, as we’ve encountered many this year.

Yeah sure, there was the obvious first feeding, first diaper change, first smile, first laugh, first word and first step.

But there were more memorable firsts, in my opinion.

As a mom, I had my first panic attack. OK, maybe I had two or three or 10. But still, I don’t remember feeling so nervous and anxious as I did on our first night at home, when Kenlee would NOT sleep.

Kyle and I tried everything — soothing, swaddling, bouncing, rocking, feeding, changing, singing, swinging — nothing seemed to work for more than 20 minutes.

I felt like something was wrong, like I wasn’t cut out for motherhood, like I didn’t know the secret password to make my baby happy.

Little did I know I would experience that feeling several more times throughout the year — and I’m positive there are more to come. But I’m pretty sure worrying about your child and if you’re doing everything right is the universal sign that you really are a mother, by the way. It just took a few breakdowns for me to figure that out.

Another first this year: I’m pretty sure Kenlee had her first lesson in wrapping her grandparents around her little finger.

We’ve been very lucky to have both sets of grandparents very involved in Kenlee’s life. They take turns watching her throughout the week, and they’ve never once complained.

I’m pretty sure Kenlee won’t complain, either. It’s becoming more and more obvious that she’s a bit — well let’s just say it — spoiled rotten when she goes to either of their homes.

The kid has nicer toys at both places than she has at home, for starters. And she gets her own TV remote at one house and she gets her own computer keyboard to type on (OK, smash on) at another.

Of course, we didn’t realize why she was so obsessed with our remote or computer for a few months, and she has mini-meltdowns when we keep either object away from her.

So each time I have to find something equally as entertaining or distracting to keep her happy.
Yep, Kenlee learned how to work the system.

Our first game of giggles stands out in my mind from this year, too. I was home with Kenlee, and she was propped up as I began to bounce her on my knees. I simply said “Hi!” at the same time and it was enough to send her into a fit of laughter.

Of course, I continued the game, saying “Hi! Hi! Hi! Hi!” while she bounced and bounced some more. It went on for what seemed like hours, until my voice hurt and my knees were tired.

I was lucky enough to catch this game on video, and I think I’ll cherish the sound of her hilarious and infectious laughter more than the memory of her first steps.

Now, getting Kenlee to laugh, smile, dance or perform one of her “baby tricks” is a new game every day. Kyle and I love when she can show off “How big is Kenlee?” with her hands raised high or make the sign for dog when Rowdy enters the room.

Now, as the big first birthday looms near, I’m not nearly as terrified or hesitant of the future as I was a year ago.

And Kenlee? Well, she’s fearless.

We cannot wait for more firsts, for more memories as she grows each day. Each one will be a new adventure and a new moment to share — just like we’ll share our celebrations on Sunday.

Congratulations baby girl, we both survived our first year.

But I still could use that nap.

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