In a few days, Eli will be a year old.
While there is always the bittersweet moments of realizing your baby is growing up, with Eli it is overshadowed by my joy for his achievements. Each month he gets stronger and healthier. Bit by bit he his shedding those NICU shadows. He is catching up to his adjusted age and slowly weaning off a few meds.
Of course we are still cautious, especially as winter approaches. I'm sure all parents of young children feel the same when the chill in the air signals the return of flu shots and runny noses.
Batten the hatches and break out the hoodies, the cold brings colds. Eli falls fast when it comes to the contagious. So we've primed the inhalers and refilled the scripts. I would love to go full mama-bear mode and hibernate away with the children for the winter, but instead I will dole out the Purell to anyone who will listen.
Getting to watch a stronger, older Eli is something that brings tears to my eyes daily. We are so very lucky. He has started taking his first steps. They are ever so awkward and tentative, but they count.
His current loves include opening and closing a variety of doors, drinking a sip from a cup while the rest lands in his lap and making a dash for Jackson's closet. He loves music and will drop everything to dance a tiny jig. He waves good-bye and finishes the flourish blowing numerous back-of-the-hand kisses. He says mama, dada, ball and uh-oh. However, his uh-oh actually means "look, I threw this toy down on the ground and I am curious as to who is going to pick it up."
One of my favorite ways Eli communicates is how he lets you know the general direction he'd like you to carry his royal highness. He lifts his arm and waves his hand a tiny bit, resembling the Queen of England. He has finally deciphered his stacking toy and loves to stack and unstack the colorful rings. The other night I was letting him make a giant mess in his room. He was strewing diapers everywhere when I noticed that he was actually trying to put one of the diapers on.
Of course, Jackson remains Eli's priority. They play together so well, and Eli finds him absolutely hilarious. Jackson's silly noises, funny faces and general five-year-oldness is right up Eli's alley.
Barely into his kindergarten career, Jackson christened the school playground with a broken arm. Getting that sickening phone call about his fall from the monkey bars was rough, but Jackson has been remarkable - bouncing back like a champ. But that is a blog post all on its own.
These precious boys continue to amaze me.
Many of my evening prayers are simply of two words: thank you.