WHITNEY GRONSKI-BUFFA: Keeping up with baby Olivia

One year later and I’m none the wiser.

Sure, I now know about things like soft spots and sleep positions. I now know what people mean when they say words like “paci” or “sleep sack,” or ask me things like, “Wanna hear MY labor story?” (The answer is always no.)

On a daily basis, however, I’m starting over and learning again, because Olivia Today isn’t Olivia Yesterday, and she’s certainly nothing like Olivia Two Weeks Ago. Unlike Olivia Two Weeks Ago, Olivia Today doesn’t like yogurt and, come to think of it, she no longer eats solid food. Olivia Today only wants water and milk. Olivia Tomorrow, however, might like a taco.

It seems like just last week Olivia had a big gummy smile and a tiny head that fit inside my palm or snug against my collarbone. Her hair stood straight on end, especially after baths, and her feet didn’t quite reach the right spot in her jammies.

Today she chases cats and dogs — She walks! She runs! — and bites into pieces of pasta with eight pearly white teeth. She’s a fully formed human being, walking around in the world with intentions and thoughts and wants and needs. Both kinetic and potential energy rolled into one tiny package. Walking around, out in the open, running down the sidewalk, climbing the stairs, (eating a leaf?), out of my immediate reach, and I am terrified.

But at the same time, I’m elated because one year later, our little life changer is sitting here on the couch next to me on a Saturday morning, yelling, “Day-ee! Days!” at the television as she watches dogs run agility courses on Animal Planet. It’s better than cartoons, and this — being her mom — is better than I thought it might be. Better than I even hoped it could be. Olivia is here, and she is here to stay.

She won’t be here long though, and I’m already painfully aware of the fact because 12 months has gone by like 12 days and today we’re celebrating a birthday. Her first birthday. One year later.

I am none the wiser, but my life is richer. And messier. And louder. Our house is a home. It always was with just the two of us, but now she’s here cooing and snoozing, crawling and chewing, walking and talking, saying “Dah-dee. Mah-mah. Bid-jah bid-jah bid-jah.” Can’t quite make sense of that last one.

I might not know yet what I’m doing – I still question what to feed her, when to rock her, how to dress her when the temperature dips – but I know that I’m happiest when we’re snuggled together watching the day-ees on Animal Planet on Saturday morning. I know I’m ready to read “One More Swim” one more time if it makes her laugh aloud as I point out the polar bear cubs on the page.

I don’t know much, and I might not ever, but I know for sure that I’m happy here with my little girl and I can’t wait to keep petting the dogs and eating the pasta and counting the years with her as her mom.

Happy birthday, Olivia.


This column is the first in a series by Pioneer Associate Editor Whitney Gronski-Buffa. Whitney is a first-time mom to Olivia and wife to husband, Bryan, and she’d love to hear from other parents in the Big Rapids area. Have a parenting topic you’d like to discuss here? Write to her at whitney@pioneergroup.com or tweet her at @whitneymae. 



Posted by Whitney Gronski-Buffa

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