Sunday, June 24, 2012

What an Amazing Year

Happy Birthday to my handsome, charming, intelligent, creative, snuggly and loving little boy!

I've watched it approaching though it was stealthy for a while. A slow change has been creeping upon Levi in the last 6 weeks or so. His pursuit of understanding in his play - his posture - his appearance... he is moving further away from true infancy and is getting a whole lot closer to toddlerhood.

This birthday has dredged up a whole lot of emotions which I thought had been dealt with or solidly buried. I can honestly say I've never cried over my child's birthday before. It brings back memories from last year and all the worry and grief that came along with Levi's surprise diagnosis. I find myself walking a line between wanting to interact with Levi like he has no different-ability and wishing for more time to push extra therapies into his schedule. It's hard... but then, many say that nothing worth doing is ever easy.

Like (on to a lighter topic) party planning... I spent several weeks prepping for the big celebration, choosing just the right theme and accessories. In the end, I chose a monkey theme with bright colors because I feel it reflected the joy and fun of his personality.

I have a love of baking and decorating the birthday cakes for my kids, with the exception of the ones for the first birthdays. This year, I felt compelled to do it myself and fell in love with a building block cake design. It took two days and approximately 7 hours of time in the kitchen, but I managed a level of success with which I was happy! The result was this:

My geometrical shapes weren't perfect - but overall, I was impressed with my first try at this design. The big cake was for guests - the little cakes were for Levi to smash (A) at the party and (B) at his birthday photos tomorrow. It went over well... you can see how much he enjoyed his cake! He dug right in without any hesitation...

He wore himself out a bit and needed a short rest...

And once he devoured (smeared) most of it, he yelled for more!

Once he recovered from the wipe-down, which he despised, by the way - he was content to drift off into a post-sugar-high coma in the arms of a good friend. After he recovered his wits, he returned home to open a few gifts before heading to bed for the end of his first day as a one year old!

Sure, it looks like he's asleep - but he's actually fascinated by the all the cool puzzles he received (to help him work on his fine motor and cognition skills)

Notice the cat, providing assistance in the "unpackaging" department? It's her calling in life...

He also enjoyed reading (and tasting) a multitude of birthday cards... several of which noted donations to our local Down syndrome association in his name. Very thoughtful of our friends and family...

All in all, it was a wonderful birthday celebration. There were people we'd invited who weren't able to attend and we missed them, but some great friends were able to celebrate with us and that means the world to us!

Levi is able to do so many wonderful things, I couldn't possibly list them all. To name just a few, he can pull to a stand from a 90-90 sit. He can get into a kneeling position while holding on to a higher surface. (like peeking over the edge of the toybox). He can get Mom's attention by yelling for her to look at him. He recognizes several signs for things like, "eat", "milk" and "all done." But he tops the list with being able to capture the hearts of all who take the time to know him... He is a sweet, sweet, little baby who is growing into a little boy right in front of my eyes.

This past year has flown by in an instant and my experience tells me that he'll be two before I can fully comprehend it. He'll be walking and communicating (talking or otherwise) and surprising us more and more with all that he can do with our faith, love and perserverance.

Levi has had a rough couple of weeks because of his teeth that are ready to break through the gums. They've caused him a ton of pain and difficulty eating and drinking. As such, he lost almost 2 pounds in the last 3 weeks but somehow managed to grow almost an inch longer during that time. That probably didn't feel so great either...

So one year after an expeditious delivery into my arms, Levi has gained 9 1/2 inches in length and almost 12 pounds. And his head has grown by 4 1/2 inches too! That's a lot of work for such a little guy...

Length: 29 inches (~24th percentile)
Weight: 20 pounds, 6 ounces (~15th percentile)
Head Circumference: 17.75 inches (~18th percentile)

He's wearing a size 4 shoe and has adorable footprints, just like his siblings. He's filling out a 12 month outfit and was close to moving into size 18 months in some items. With his recent weight loss, that may be delayed a bit, but it's still not far off...  His beautiful blue eyes are clearly going to stay blue, just like his siblings. I had hopes that at least one of the kids would have green eyes like their mom, but I get to look at five sets of baby blues (hubby's included) each and every day! His hair is definitely darker than it was when he was born and has just the tiniest hint of a reddish hue in the sunlight. I would describe it as being a combination of light brown which graces Evan's head with a bit of the coppery red afforded to Katelyn and Trevor.

He is beautiful and snuggly and perfect and I dream of great things for him - love, life and the pursuit of happiness. Just like us all...

Happy First Birthday, Levi Jacob.

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