Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Happy birthday, Levi!

What a difference a year makes.

This time last year, Levi was a sleepy, immobile newborn. We wondered what being a family of six would look like, and how hard four kids would really be. And now? Well...he keeps us on our toes, that's for sure.

For one, he's a goofball. And I mean that in the truest sense of the word. He thinks everything he does is hilarious, and he's usually right. With one kid, the blowing-raspberries-with-a-mouth-full-of-food thing was annoying. With Levi, it's hysterical. (Also, I think my defenses are shot at this point, and it's easier to laugh at his misconduct than to see it as, well, misconduct.) The stealing-your-brother's-stuffed-puppy-and-hiding-it-under-the-crib thing? Hilarious. The merging-the-clean-and-dirty-laundry-into-one-big-pile thing? Hilarious. He's got a practical joke streak that is going to be TROUBLE if it keeps up. And just when you're about to explain to the one-year-old why what he did is not appropriate, he flashes that big wide-mouthed Levi smile, eyes twinkling, dimple dimple-ing, and he completely disarms you. (Or maybe he just disarms me. Whatever. You try disciplining that kind of cuteness and let me know how it goes.)

He's perfectly content. Seriously. I've never seen a kid roll with the punches the way Levi can. This, again, I think is a by-product of being the last duck in the row, and essentially having no other choice but to go along with whatever's happening. Nurture, certainly, has made him an easy-going, happy little baby. But nature, too, played largely into it, and the end result is a kid with a great disposition and a very pleasant personality. (Except when he's teething. Then all bets are off, and he's pretty much the crabbiest kid you've ever met. Still cute, nonetheless, but teething definitely does not agree with this kid, and he's happy to make sure everyone within a five-mile radius knows it.)

He's on track to be the world's greatest roommate one day. Levi can absolutely sleep through anything. And by anything, I mean that ever-chatty songbird of a brother with no volume control with which he shares a room. I pride myself on raising good sleepers, but Jacob simply isn't one. He compensates for the sleep he doesn't seem to need by spending the first hour of naptime and often the first two hours after bedtime singing, laughing, and generally disrupting Levi's peace and quiet. Levi, for his part, couldn't care less. He wants to sleep for an hour and a half in the morning, so that's what he does. He wants to sleep for three hours in the afternoon, so that's what he does. He wants to go right to sleep when we lay him down at night and sleep soundly until it's time for breakfast, so that's what he does. And generally, no amount of Jacob's attempts at distraction will deter him. I'm not going to lie...his excellent sleep habits are one of my favorite things about Levi.

He's a charmer. Levi loves people, and in particular, he loves the next person that comes into a room. If you're standing nearby, he expects you to hold him. But if someone new walks in, he'll expect them to hold him. It's nothing personal, really. He just loves to be held, and loves people, and loves a change of scenery. He's never met a stranger, and is always eager to be passed off to the volunteers in the church nursery or the neighbor who stops to say hi while we're playing outside. He's too busy to stop and snuggle, but if you're going to be moving around, he'd love to be in your arms or on your shoulders.

He's a great eater. He eats most everything we put in front of him, with the exception of fruit, for reasons I still don't know. He drinks milk from a sippy cup and gets annoyed when we don't give him a fork at dinner like everyone else. And for a one-year-old, he's not too bad with a utensil. He'll eat his weight in Willy's burritos and roasted okra and baked oatmeal, and is a huge fan of smoothies and anything that comes out of a straw. Despite his voracious appetite, he's on track to be tall and slim like his sister, coming in at the top of the charts for height and the bottom for weight. Which is no surprise, because...

He's on the move. All. The. Time. He can't walk yet, but he wants to. He can't climb the stairs yet, but he wants to. He's fast and clever and seems to be everywhere at once most days. After "Keep your voice down" and "Is everything okay?" the phrase I most often yell around here is "Does anyone know where Levi is?" If we're upstairs, he's playing hide and seek behind the chair in Abby's room. If we're downstairs, he's hiding INSIDE the cabinet with all the plastic cups I let him play with.

He's holding out on us. He can say Mama, and sometimes Dada, but only if he wants to. Mostly, he likes to throw things down and say "Uh-oh" ad nauseam. He's a man of few words, but he understands everything we say and is quick to listen and obey, or smile and speed off in the opposite direction. He's only a year old, after all.

He loves books and trucks and his lion blanket and playing with his siblings. He simply adores Abby and still gives her the biggest smiles of all. He pouts when Daddy leaves for work and lights up when he comes home. He has little patience when it comes to meal prep and is always ready for dessert. His smile lights up a room and his laugh is infectious. He's a joy to be around and a blessing to our family, and I couldn't imagine life without him in it.

Happy birthday, little Levi! I'm so glad you're ours!

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