Today you turned one year old. ONE YEAR! My goodness how the past year just flew by! You started off a sweet, easy-going, happy baby. And now, you're a sweet, energetic, happy, Mama's BOY. You are an absolute joy to be around (most of the time :) and Daddy and I love you so, so very much. Ryan loves you too, even if he does get easily frustrated when you want to play with his toys. You are a silly, fun-loving little boy who is the perfect addition to our family. It has been such fun to watch you grow over the past year.
You seem to do everything to extremes. You love fiercely, often giving hugs and sweet little pats spontaneously. You are an excellent snuggler. You cuddle into my shoulder--with your head turned sideways and your hand reaching for a handful of my hair or grabbing tightly onto my shirt--anytime you're tired or sad. And anytime you are feeling tired or sad there really isn't anywhere else you'd like to be than in my arms. This is sweet, and makes me feel very loved, but you do kinda take it to an extreme at times. Fortunately, you're starting to let Daddy comfort you more and more. Daddy has figured out your secret tickle spots and you love when he rubs your back and neck in all the right spots.
Speaking of being such a great snuggler, this has resulted in you being a pretty crummy sleeper. Well, you sleep great when attached to Mommy or Daddy. This has made Mommy and Daddy rather unproductive at night (and thus, I blame you for why I didn't write your 11 month post...I didn't have time because I was rocking you to sleep all the time!). Daddy and I plan to remedy this situation when we return from Great Wolf Lodge in a few weeks. So, you better enjoy all the extra snuggles, and night time nursing you're getting right now. It won't last forever! Operation "Get Zachary to sleep through the night, or at least sleep the whole night in his own crib" will commence on or around January 29th! You have been warned.
But other than your preference for sleeping nuzzled up to your favorite people, you are, like I said, an absolute joy. You are mischievous and playful. One of your favorite games is "chase" in which I crawl around the house (since I can crawl about as fast as you can run) and I say, "Mama's gonna get ya!!" and you try to run away, and hide around the corner, but then you see me peek out from the opposite corner and you laugh hysterically and run in the other direction. It is great fun and is often what Daddy finds us playing when he comes home after work. Usually, Ryan is riding around on his scooter helping with the chase while all this is going on. Life with two boys is busy!
You love to climb in, on, or over anything. If something can be used as a step, you will figure out how and do it. You love to climb the stairs and usually our gate is closed, but sometimes it doesn't lock by itself, and you always notice when this is the case. You get so excited when you realize its open and you immediately start heading up the stairs, hoping no one will notice. But, I do notice. And I say, "Zachary! Come back here! And you look back with an impish smile and clamor up the stairs even faster! One day, when I had just finished washing your hands in the kitchen sink, and was drying my own hands, I suddenly heard a CRASH followed by an "uh oh, Mama!" from Ryan. What I found was you, on top of the toilet! In about 15 seconds time you went in the bathroom (where Ryan had just finished and left the door open), climbed up the step stool, onto the toilet, and you were pulling all of the Kleenex out of the dispenser. Well, then the dispenser crashed to the ground, and it made a loud noise because it was ceramic. Once again, you had that impish little smile on your face when I found you.
While you don't have many words yet, you find ways to communicate what you want by pointing, shaking your head, waving, clapping, and yelling! You clearly watch everything we do and you're figuring out this world rather quickly. You try to use screw drivers correctly. You know exactly where to find the screw to change the batteries on a toy and try to put your toy (or sometimes a real one if we leave a tool box open) screw driver in there to open it. You know how to open and close most any drawer, door, or cabinet, even some that have child safety locks, you move your toy vacuum in the back and forth motion that you see Mama and Dada do. You play with legos, blocks, and trains with great dexterity because you watch your brother in everything he does. You want to stir any pot on the stove and you always want to "help" when Mama is making dinner. You're one, but you clearly think you're so much older than you are. I expect, being a second child, that this will be a theme throughout your life!
I've mentioned Ryan a few times, but he deserves his own paragraph. As I've said, he finds you a bit annoying at this age. But, you love him fiercely. You give him spontaneous hugs, especially in the morning when you go with me or Daddy to get him when he wakes up. You love to "dig" for him under the covers as he is hiding. You wrestle and build towers together. You play nicely in the bath tub. You're brothers, and you're friends and enemies simultaneously numerous times throughout each day. I expect it will be like this throughout much of your lives. But I know at the core of any disagreement is immense love, and that warms my heart tremendously.
You love your extended family members as well. Neenee is hands down your favorite, and PopPop comes in a close second. PopPop is the only person for whom you consistently will give a high five. Neenee and you love to play a game where you "bonk" heads gently. You smirk and giggle when she does this. Uncle John makes you laugh when he makes funny faces and sounds, and Uncle Mark gets right on your level and I'm pretty sure you think he's a kid too! Auntie Cindy and Auntie Catharine always makes you smile, and you love to watch Caitlin and Julia play. They love you too. Caitlin talks to you and is always so patient with you. Julia thinks pretty much anything you do is funny. You've enjoyed visits to CT and from your CT family to Maryland, and you're getting to know and love them as well.
Zachary Joe, you are my sweet baby boy, and I love you with my whole heart. I can't imagine our family without you. January 15, 2013 was a joyful, wonderful day, in which my heart grew exponentially. It is a day in which our family became more complete. It is a day I will never forget. Happy 1st Birthday, Sweet Boy!