Today you turned 1 year old. "Chuc Mung Sinh Nhat!" (Happy birthday in Vietnamese, as I learned from the cookie bouquet sent by Catalyst Foundation.) I had always hoped you would be with us by the time you were 1, and I'm so glad you were.
Your birthday was the beginning of a very exciting weekend. We started the day by taking you swimming at the park pool. It was a bit cooler than last Friday, but you still loved it. You seem to be trying to swim, moving your arms and kicking your feet. You also try to drink the water. Yuck!
I bought you a balloon at the dollar store (big spender!) and you played with it for almost an hour. You can hold on tightly and love to pull the balloon up and down.
In the afternoon, you got to meet your "Baba" (Grandma in Bulgarian) and Pop-Pops and your Auntie Trish. They all thought you were too cute. "Just like a doll," Grandmother Margie kept saying.
The grown-ups had pot roast. Your birthday cake was pumpkin with cream cheese frosting, which I knew you wouldn't eat, since you are still being a very reluctant eater on solid foods. You hold a spoon and when you put the spoon in your mouth, we sneak in the food. It's very slow going.
You didn't eat any, but you played with your cake and made it into a yucky mess. After cake, we did the Thoi Noi ritual and put out several objects representing careers in front of you:
- * a dollar bill for business
- * your soft Sears Tower for office worker
- * a pen for writer or scholar
- * a play wrench for carpenter
- * a measuring spoon for food service
- * and a paintbrush for the arts.
At 1, it's still hard to tell what your personality is like. You are laid back most of the time, but scream and cry when it's time for bed. You take very short naps, 1/2 hour or less, sometimes two or three of them a day. For morning nap, you usually wake up happy after 1/2 hour. But for afternoon nap, you wake up crying, really sad-like. Sometimes I rock you back to sleep and you get a longer afternoon nap. At night you sleep 10-12 hours, getting up 2-3 times for a bottle. With all that liquid, your diaper always leaks and you leave a big wet stain on the bed that you share with Mama.
You love to play, but are more interested in things in the house than toys (the strap on your high chair, a wooden spoon or empty yogurt container). You like having stories read to you and you seem to follow along and sometimes turn the page. You like "Is This the House of Mistress Mouse?" and "I Love You As Much" and "Where's Kitty?" Auntie Trish gave you a book called, "What Do You Say" and you love that one too. You also love bathtime.
You can crawl now, with your tummy off the floor. And you can stand up, with help or by the coffee table. You're always exploring and have bumped your head more than a few times. We have some major babyproofing changes planned for the condo. You seem so much bigger than when we first got you (it's amazing to watch the video from just six weeks ago) but really you have only gained a few pounds. But your hair is quite a bit longer and your face fuller and less baby like. You also have so much more muscle tone than in the orphanage.
Your Daddy and I cannot believe how lucky we are to be your parents. We say it dozens of times a day. That and, "He is SO CUTE!" You smile a lot and laugh when you're tickled. You seem happy, but we can also tell that sometimes you are very sad, like when you cry when you wake up. Today we remembered your birthmother by lighting a candle and praying for her. We are so grateful she gave you life, and so grateful that we get to help nurture that life.
Happy birthday, Samuel Dieu. We love you!
Love, Mama and Daddy