Memo to Emmy: 12 Months

Dearest Emmy Pearl,
I hope you don't become an Animal like Kesha, but that was a helluva first birthday celebrathon! It lasted 7 hours instead of 2 and you were the last one standing. Until we put your tired tutu'd bottom to bed at 830PM. Which is 4AM adult time. You totally partied like a ROCK STAR, girlfriend.

You are ONE. ONE WHOLE YEAR OLD TODAY. I am astonished that 365 days ago, you exited where only one other person may ever exit again. And for the first few months, you were a little creature with all sorts of crazy habits like shooting liquified poo from your buttocks.

But now, now I bask in your toothy smile. Four on top and at least three on the bottom, plus a molar on
the bottom left. I don't know beyond that because the last person who tried (Daddy) walked away with two deep red bite marks on his fingertips. I'm not even going to say I told you so.

I love to play with you, but Daddy is way better at inventing games and entertaining you and being a human carnival machine. He's the Gravitron, Zipper, and Tilt-A-Whirl all in one tall, strong, non-carnie smelling package. It's actually fine with me because it gives me all the more time to watch you both in action. It is one of the happiest states of being for me.

You have a monstrous appetite. Legendary. You will try everything at least once. And most things a lot more than that. You can eat 20 blackberries in one sitting. Easily. In fact, you ended your birthday party with a blackberry poop like no other. You made an impressive brown blackberry jam. Happy Birthday indeed!

The only small disappointment at your party: you were a SUPER DUD when it came to your cake. Picture everyone gathered around your highchair, so excited to watch you show that cake who's the REAL CAKE BOSS. You looked at it. You looked back at everyone else. Back at the cake. Then you looked at Daddy. Crickets. Chirp... chirp. Then Daddy tried to coax you into touching it and he showed you how to taste it by dramatically putting his finger into the icing and back into his mouth. You scrunched your face and flapped your arms. We gave you a spoon and you halfheartedly poked at it. NOT HAVING IT.
You survived your first cold. 5 days of super snot, coughing, and no appetite. It was a battle of the booger police. Bad Cop Mommy wanted to wipe, suction, and squeeze your nose at every turn. Good Cop Daddy was your protector. Sick Emmy =  UnFun Parents.
The doctor said today that kids get 6-8 colds a year for the first few years of life. And symptoms can last 10-14 days. So I guess one cold by age 1 isn't catastrophic, but still, we're thinking about putting you back in a bubble. We're still negotiating.
Happily, you have crossed into the 50th percentile for height! You've grown 10 inches in the past year. And gained 12 pounds, now tipping the scale at 19 pounds. You're not allowed to eat shrimp for another year but at least you are not a shrimp baby anymore. Your head continues to amaze and astound in the 90th percentile.
You can pretty accurately identify Mama from Dada but sometimes you call me Dada anyway, and then you bury your head into my neck because you think that's just hilarious. You're still pretty serious and you don't shy away from staring people down. Your Dada has taught you how to high five and sometimes fist bump, in addition to your snappy claps. Other skills you've mastered, because Dada is all about teaching you skill mastery: balancing a ball on top of a container, stacking things, putting things into containers, and walking along while pushing the shopping cart you got from Uncle Mike for Christmas.

Skills Mommy is mastering: putting on a diaper while you stand or assume the downward dog yoga pose, catching any food items that are not to your liking, closing drawers that might pinch off your fingers, growing gray hairs when you try to take a header off the bed to see Tofu, and putting you down for a nap without igniting a Waterworld of tears.

Skills Daddy is mastering: not waking up in 5 minute increments for 30 minutes before his alarm goes off at 530AM worrying about where we will be "doing the games" for your first birthday party. Yes, he did worry about that. Many times over many days leading up to your party. "Doing the games" will now be the euphemism for the many worries he will likely have for the rest of his life about you, but thankfully there are drugs to help him cope. 

But Emmy, one thing I definitely think we've mastered over this past year: loving the bejesus out of you Just A Little Bit More. Every day it's a little bit more. We're always saying, "I love that little monkey/turkey/babyloo/babykins/Lemmers." 

You are seriously one cool little baby. And thank God you are still my baby. Even though you're a whole ONE YEAR OLD, you are not too big to be scooped up and eaten.

In a mash up of traditional Vietnamese and modern American culture, we put out a bunch of items to see which one you would pick up first. It's supposed to predict your future profession. The array included: mirror, makeup brush, ballpoint pen, dollar bill, cooking ladle, and golf ball. You chose the golf ball first. Then the ladle. Then the dollar bill. So you're going to be an athlete who loves to cook and make tons of money. LeBron meets Emeril meets Oprah.

Happy Birthday Emerson P! We are ready for Year 2 to BRING IT!
Your biggest fans,
Mama and Dada

P.S. Un-retouched photo courtesy of Uncle Kiet.
P.P.S. Your very own copy of the United States Constitution courtesy of Uncle Sean.