Eleanor at 1 year!

My baby is a year old!  It blows my mind every time a stranger at the grocery store asks how old she is and I respond with "She's one."  They go on as if it's no big deal but I'm like, "Holy cow, did you hear that??  She really is one!"

I always thought being one meant you are a totally a toddler but on her one year birthday I just kept thinking that she still is very much a baby to me.  Although every day that is becoming less and less so.  She still isn't walking, still uses a pacifier, still only has two teeth (although her top ones look like they are coming soon!) so to me she's all baby still.
But the signs are coming that babyhood is ending: her hair is growing, her rolls are almost gone, she's furniture cruising constantly and she is incredibly playful.   She has the BEST cheesy grin for which she is constantly called "Cheeser" for by her mom and dad.
She plays a mean game of peekaboo and is learning how to interact with her toys as they are intended to be played with (aka not just knocking them over or sticking them in her mouth).
She knows when she's being naughty and has started to push the limits.  Her naughtiness is actually incredibly cute, so much so that I have to remind myself to be serious when I say "No."

She can be dramatic, as seen in this next sequence.  I was dangling her book above me to try to get her to look up and laugh.  Of course she wanted the book though and when she realized she wasn't going to get it, she made sure I knew she wasn't happy.  We call it: hopeful, hopeful, defeated and then angry:
She doesn't have very many words, reserving "Mama" for when she's crying and "Dada" for when she's happy (how is that fair?? ;) but you can see her mind working trying to say "Mooo" for a cow or "Ruff" for a dog.  And even though she doesn't have official words per se she is CONSTANTLY babbling. She will carry on a full babble conversation with you, pausing for you to say something and then responding and then pausing and responding.  She discovered how fun her tongue is to use so most sounds she makes have a lot of tongue action.
After a rough bought with sleep for her 11th month, she is an awesome night sleeper now.  She goes to bed at 7 pm, wakes at 6:30 am to eat and then will sleep until at least 8 am but often times beyond.  Her naps are lengthening beyond an hour more and more often although the past two days she has fought her afternoon nap. I refuse to give up the 2 nap schedule though for now so we are doing what we can to maintain our current schedule.

I have lots of friends/family who just gave birth to the cutest newborns and it's crazy to think of their sleepless nights and then realize that I'm actually doing ok in the sleep department (of course I don't mention this while talking to them!).  I thought I'd forever be in the zombie/constantly-tired phase but really we are past that.  Again it is SO weird to say that and realize that my baby is no longer a baby-baby.
Food became SO much easier at a year when all the rules came down.  I really fought off giving her eggs, citrus, honey, sugar, dairy etc. etc. til her one year birthday but now that we can eat those things, life is so much easier.  Giving her a slice of cheese to hold her over til dinner is ready was life changing.  And eggs are our new staple.  She has eggs at least once a day and they are becoming my new favorite way to hide veggies in her food.  Thankfully she likes cows milk and she LOVES little cuties.  We do green smoothies many mornings now and she is seriously fighting me for control of the cup, she can't guzzle it fast enough!  The only thing she really has no interest in is yogurt, which is really bizarre to me seeing as she loves all other dairy and especially likes ice cream.  We still don't give her treats and are trying to stay away from packaged products (she actually isn't much of a fun, expect for the occasional graham cracker at church) but she usually gets a good lick or two of ice cream on the weekend.  
Speaking of eating, we are casually starting the weaning process. If you had asked me at 2 weeks old, I would have told you that the day Eleanor turned 12 months she would be totally weaned.  I had committed myself to a year if possible, but thought I would never go a day over.  

It's so interesting how nursing changes over the course of the year though.  The first 4-6 weeks were full of toe curling pain and grin-and-bear-it emotions.  I was amazed that anyone nursed at all!  Nursing stopped hurting though and then by 3 months Eleanor turned in to a pro and knew what she was doing.  Nursing became much more mindless, easy and relaxing.  Although she continued to insist on nursing every 2 hours. Life was dictated around that 2 hour schedule and I often felt a little trapped.  I never let down to the pump very well so, except for a time here or there, the longest I would ever be away from her was 2 hours.  

Around 7-8 months though Eleanor became much more flexible with her schedule and didn't need to be nursed right when she woke up from her nap.  It was at that point that Eleanor really started to love being nursed and started becoming more and more attached to nursing experience.  This was when nursing became really sweet to me, not just a means to provide her with sustenance but really a bonding experience.   

And now at a year, nursing is just SO easy, to the point that changing up our rhythm to try and wean seems like such a bother.  Eleanor would gladly keep nursing forever (so it seems for now at least) but I do crave more freedom and the idea of having a night away, just me and Aaron, sounds so appealing.  Also, the idea of having some time where my body really is 100% my own before turning it over to another baby sounds crazy wonderful.   So we will see how fully weaning goes.  It's not looking like it's happening any time fast but I think we will get there eventually. 
We've started going on more walks recently.  I'm trying to move more (being a stay at home mom to a baby leads to so much sitting) and thankfully we have a park just minutes from our house.  She's warming up to the swing again but she clutches on to me for dear life as we go down the slide.  I kind of love that type of clinging :)
Our house now feels like it's overrun by toys and my spare brain power goes to thinking of things like toy organization systems (riveting stuff).

I'm also becoming aware of needing to do more structured play activities/crafts. Eleanor does at a great job playing independently so much so that I often times forget to get in on the playing too.  I starting researching "activities with a one year old" online and realized that we could be finger painting and play dough playing and sticker sticking and all of a sudden we have so many things we can do!  We are headed to Michaels this afternoon in fact.
All in all, one really is great.  She is full of energy and life.  She has tons of personality and spunk and we love all of her passion for life.

I took these pictures on Eleanor's 13 mo mark (Feb 9th) but she wore her 12 month old birthday crown :)  The crown was already too small for her though!  She will continue to grow and change every month but I'm going to stop the monthly chair photos for now.  So this is the last post of this exact sort!  It was not easy to take these photos every month and put together a post (which was why I posted her 7 to 11 mo posts all together the week before she turned one, whoops!) but I'm sure glad I did it in the end.  The whole year journey came full circle as I printed out all the month photos for her 1 year birthday party.  I'm so glad I have this picture:
And that's a wrap on this epic post!

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