You are passed out on the couch right now, snuggled in your Boppy pillow. You have a fever because of an ear infection, on top of a cold, on top of teething. You are a total mess.
But despite all of those things, you've still been a wonderful, joyful little boy today. I took you to St. Francis, the nursing home where I work, to pick up my paycheck and visit with the residents. You smiled so big at all of the old ladies who wanted to kiss on you (showing all five of your teeth!) You toddled down the halls, tried to push wheelchairs, and even played peek-a-boo with Darlene through the legs of her walker. You brought so much happiness to so many people today, baby.
I love to watch you explore new things. You are all boy - if there is something you can knock down / push / pull / rip / roll... you're bound and determined to do it. Now that you're walking it's gotten even worse! When we tell you not to do something, you give us the most mischievous grin. Then you keep doing it, usually. And when we pull you away from it, you scream and growl and kick. But once we distract you with a toy (or food, that always works) you're all smiles again.
You're officially done with "baby stuff". Formula, bottles, baby food, nursing... the only holdover is your pacifier, which I am terrified to take away from you because how else would I get you to sleep without screaming? You're taking two naps a day, but we can get by with one nap if we're out and about. No naps is not a pretty sight, though. We don't like no-nap days. You're eating three meals and two snacks a day, plus a bunch of sippy cups of water and milk. Your favorite foods are the four Ps - Pasta, peas, pickles, and puffs. I could add plums in there, too, you love to gnaw on a whole plum, juice running down your chubby little arms.
You are a daddy's boy, for sure. When Daddy is home, you follow him around the house like a little shadow, mimicking everything he says and does. It is too cute. People ask me if I'm jealous that you're so attached to your dad. Of course I'm not. For one, it melts my heart to see you two playing, cuddling, and being best buddies. Second, you were attached to me (literally) for nine months, and then you were basically attached to me through nursing for another eight months. It's about time your daddy had a turn as the favorite parent :)
Declan, we love you so, so much. It's really crazy. When you were born, we were in love with you. But this, a year later, is a whole different kind of love. We don't just love you for being our son, we love you for you - for your personality, for the way you crawl right up to our faces and, with a big grin, yell "DADADA" when you wake up the morning, for your determination, your stubbornness, your friendliness towards *everyone*, for the excited, proud look on your face that you have when you're walking, for the way that you stare into our eyes like you're trying to read our minds. And for so many other things. I couldn't write a letter long enough. This first year has been so much fun. So full of changes for all of us.
I love you, Declan River. And I can't wait to see what the next year brings.