Our baby is 1 today.

I can’t believe it. I can’t believe what a sweet blessing this year has been. This first year has been so full of challenges, excitement, joy, laughter and even total entertainment since she joined our family.

She has been such a gift in so many ways. From that moment on April 6, 2009, when I realized my dream of having a fourth child was really going to be a reality, to the ultrasound when I realized our daughter was getting a sister, to Dec. 1, 2009, when she demanded to come out early and we got to see her beautiful little face.

From those first moments of life, she let us know she wasn’t afraid to speak up for herself. She cried at the top of her lungs for more than an hour after she was born. My husband and I just looked at each other and laughed. “Wow! Isn’t the fourth child supposed to be easy going and quiet?”

She eventually calmed down, and we got to know the little sweetheart that she is.

She loves to be snuggled. She is full of so much joy that she makes everyone around her smile.
Now, when she enters a room, she holds out one hand and says, “HAH! HAH! HAH!” as loud as she can until everyone around her is motioning back and greeting her in the same way.

She has loved music from as early as I can remember. Music has always soothed her. Now, she definitely has her favorite songs. Most of them are by TobyMac. She starts bobbing her head and shaking her shoulders as soon as she hears the beat.

She is spoiled rotten by her brothers and sister. She was an early crawler, an early sitter and an early stander. But walking? She has taken a step or two, but who needs to walk when you have five perfectly good people to carry you around the house? She holds out her hands and climbs up legs until someone picks her up. Then she grins with that knowing look as she is toted around from room to room.

Her siblings adore her. They race up to her crib as soon as they hear that she is awake. They argue over who gets to carry her downstairs or hold her. In a house that is so busy, she does not like to be left out. She cries if she detects the older kids might be going somewhere without her.

And go she does. I’m not sure if she is flexible by nature or because she has to be to survive. We try to stick to her schedule, but she often has to adjust to the activities of three older siblings. She goes with the flow and usually does so with a smile… or by taking a nap.

All of the kids have had a favorite blankie and she is no exception. Hers is a super soft white blanket. As soon as she sees it, her thumbs goes in her mouth and she makes her sleepy sound: “Oiy, oiy, oiy.”

She has been a Houdini from the beginning, wriggling her way out of bouncy seats and high chairs. She races up stairs and shouts at us from between the stair rails.

As the fourth born myself, I have been so afraid that she would be ignored or overlooked. Instead, the five of us can be entertained for hours just watching her crawl around the room, empty baskets and squeal with delight.

“What would we do without her?” we ask ourselves.

Happy Birthday, sweet 1-year-old!

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