Deep Thoughts on Having a One-Year-Old

May 4, 2018

I had always wanted an April baby. I guess the fifth time's the charm.

The day was warm and sunny and smelled of cherry blossoms. The birth was relaxed and easy and filled with laughter. Both were perfect in their own way.

So maybe I can be forgiven for idealizing Ian's life just a little bit. Some of my dreams came true that day.

As this past year rushed by (at the speed of light, so it seemed), I found myself clinging to Ian's babyness: those squishy thighs, those soft cheeks, those baby blue eyes. As he reached each milestone, part of me wept, even while cheering him on.

Fortunately, he has taken his time with the milestones--at least the ones that involved movement--and that has helped ease the pain. He rolled pretty much exclusively until he was about ten months old. Then he learned how to army crawl. And just recently, he has begun scooting on his bum. That's because he still doesn't know how to get from a sitting to a crawling position or vice versa. Which means that if I sit him down,  he pretty much stays where he is, especially if he's on something that's difficult to scoot around on, like grass.

Before I had Ian, I knew slow movers existed. I just didn't know how wonderful they were. To be able to hold Ian on my lap and not have him constantly wriggling to get down is such a joy.

Because here's the other thing: in every other way, he's just like a one-year-old. He carries on "conversations" with us, says a few words, copies noises we make, laughs at our funny expressions and jokes, eats like a champ, delights in new toys, claps his little hands, and gives the best snuggles. It is so magical to have all of the personality of a one-year-old without all of the stress.

But I know these days are numbered. In fact, last week I took him to the doctor's for his one year check-up, and although Dr. VanDenBergh wasn't concerned per se about Ian's lack of crawling, it did make him think that Ian's hemoglobin level might be low. So he tested it, and sure enough, it was. We started giving him an iron supplement, and I'm not kidding when I tell you that the very next day (the very next day!) Ian got up on his hands and knees and then pushed up to his feet to get into a downward dog position. So maybe the iron is just the oomph he needed to get himself up off the ground. Either way, he's not going to be content with his current transportation options for much longer.

I've tried to enjoy each of my babies fully, completely, and not wish away the fleeting time. But it has felt more desperate with Ian. Is this how it feels with your last baby?

Because I don't know. There haven't been any flashing lights or loud proclamations, metaphorically speaking. Maybe there never will be. I think a part of me will always yearn for a baby but maybe not because I actually want another baby but rather I just want my own babies back.

I feel all this pressure, but I think it's pressure I've brought upon myself. If Ian really is our last, I want to feel like we're ending on a high note. I want him to be the most perfect baby that ever was and complete our family like the candle on his birthday cake. Because of that I've been quick to identify the good (he takes a binky!!!) and slow to find the bad (he gagged on all solid food for three months!).

When you think about it, this isn't really a bad way of looking at life. But it's also not really fair to Ian if it means I'm putting impossibly high expectations on him, nor is it fair to another possible child in our future who would undoubtedly be compared to our perfect "last" baby.

And so I'm realizing, once again, how important it is to just live in the present. And not just with one-year-old Ian. But with three-year-old Clark and six-year-old Bradley and eight-year-old Maxwell and nine-year-old Aaron.

I don't know what the future holds, but at this very moment, everything feels exactly right. Not that everything is perfect but that I think our family is exactly what it's supposed to be like right now. And that feels good.


  1. I totally get you. And I, too, am wondering how I should know whether I am done having babies.

  2. I love to hear how much you are enjoying your family, and that cake looked delicious!

  3. Awww I'm crying now!
    My last baby is almost six months old and it just feels so different the last time, doesn't it?
    I feel exactly the same way. It isn't so much that I want MORE babies, just that I want to be able to re-experience my own babies. In some ways it's silly because I love all the stages we've hit so far and wouldn't wish them away for anything! But even still... my babies!
    Always nice to know you're not alone in those kinds of feelings <3

  4. I loved this post--I'm already getting nervous thinking ahead to that point where I'll wonder if we're "done" (though we're nowhere near close, at least I don't think so). And even though it makes each moment bittersweet, I do appreciate the parts of motherhood that make me stop and savor EVERYTHING more than I normally would, because I know they won't last.

  5. No this appreciation isn't necessarily because he is your last, it's actually more to do with the age of your oldest, and your age. With your oldest lad now being 9 you appreciate more how fast the years really race by, intellectually you knew that before, but now on a deeper level you really get it.
    And you, you're more confident etc as a parent, it's really a wonderful place to be. I wrote a blog post about this years back, about a feeling of sangfroid, still there, still enjoying


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