Tucker has a wonderful First Birthday party on Sunday. The theme was Winnie the Pooh, including my Winnie Holiday decorations and a Christmas tree devoted to Tucker. We had snacks with a Hundred Acre Wood theme and a Winnie the Pooh custom made raspberry flavored cake. Tucker had his own smaller smash cake which he sampled with his spoon. We were so blessed by the 9 special friends who came to celebrate and brought Tucker such wonderful presents.
On Tuesday, Tucker reached two new milestones. First, he figured out how to access the backyard by crawling through the doggie door. Second, he took his first steps!! These motor milestones are super exciting. And I’m still surprised and thrilled each day to see him walking more around the house. However, the most important milestone of Year 1 was reached about a month ago – separation anxiety.
I have been surprised that many people do not understand the important significance of separation anxiety. I suppose it is frustrating for some parents that their baby used to go to anyone and now that same infant is fearful of strangers. However, when you understand that this is a signed of Preferred Attachment, then separation/stranger anxiety takes on a whole new meaning. In the first nine months, it is adaptive that an infant is generally happy to be held by anyone. Along the way, the baby is forming an attachment to parents or regular caregivers. In psychology, we call these people the Preferred Attachment figures. This is important because the relationship between an infant and their attachment persons becomes the basis for all future relationships. So for me, the separation anxiety illustrates that Tucker has become attached to me (and to Nana Karla) and this is the pinnacle social emotional milestone of Year One.
On the topic of attachment, I have been focusing my charitable donations over the last eight years on a single charity called Half the Sky. Their mission is to promote this attachment relationship for orphaned children in China by having nannies in the orphanages who care for the same children over time. “It is our goal to ensure that every orphaned child has a caring adult in her life and a chance at a bright future. Children belong in families. The experience of forming emotional bonds with a caring adults is essential for a child's healthy development. A small child's experiences dictate how her brain is wired. Each stimulus - each kiss, each story, each sunset, each smile - promotes the development of brain cells." www.halfthesky.org
Happy Holidays and Happy First Birthday to Tucker. I will end this year with a note for my sweet boy:
I have loved every minute of our first year together. My three months of maternity leave was the happiest time of my life. I will always remember those days in February when you napped in my arms as I watched Olympic Figure skating. I have enjoyed seeing your amazing changes throughout this year. I am blessed by your gentle spirit and easy-going manner. I love how you “kick back” with your feet up on your stroller. I love it when I laugh at something while you are nursing and you start cracking up as well. I love how you throw your toys into my bathtub so that I can play with them. I treasure your big belly laughs when you see or hear something for the first time. I love the sounds of your chattering voice. I watch how you bless everyone you meet with your sweet smile and adorable cuteness. Every day, I witness the path of beautiful destruction in the wake of your excited exploration. I appreciate that you remind me life is supposed to be fun. You are JOY to me. All my love, Mom