Last Baby’s First Birthday

Months and months ago, as I was wading through all of Grady’s health issues, I remember thinking: If I can just make it until he turns one, we’ll be alright. And now that his first birthday is upon us, so much of the weight of the unknowns have been lifted and we have really been enjoying life with our big guy the past couple weeks.

It’s hard to be exact, but I would guess that we have been to more than 50 doctor appointments for Grady in his first year of life. We’ve seen the pediatrician more than a dozen times and his first year has been dappled with visits to the allergist, the optometrist, the ‎gastroenterologist, the dermatologist, the plastic surgeon, the otolaryngologist, the orthotist and the physical therapist.

But just two weeks shy of 12 months old, we finally felt the reprieve. Nearly every single health issue he’s had has been resolved, except for food allergies, which we are continuing to uncover. But in the grand scheme of things, food allergies aren’t a big deal for our family because we have experience with another child who has a food allergy condition.

And just to sweeten the timing of this medical reprieve, Grady also began sleeping through the night for the first time just shy of 12 months old. I attempted sleep training a few times during his first year, but I was never able to make any headway because of all his medical issues (I just couldn’t let my baby with chronic ear infections cry it out and cause him more pain.) But he finally figured out things on his own between 11 and 12 months old (most nights, anyway), which is exactly when my other three kids began sleeping through the night as babies. It must just be a Hobson thing.

Grady never enjoyed tummy time very much as a younger baby, which makes sense due to his torticollis and food allergies. Once I cut some of the known culprits out of my diet and he saw the physical therapist for the neck issues, he began enjoying being on his stomach more as he got older.

Developmentally, I was a little worried about him because it took him forever to crawl. And even now, at age 1, he hasn’t figured out how to crawl on his hands and knees. Instead, he lugs that heavy 26-pound body across the floor army style. And I still find it crazy that he figured out his first army crawl and took his first unassisted steps within 24 hours of each other. (This was also around the time that he began sleeping through the night—possibly a correlation.) At any rate, he can take 7 or 8 steps now, but honestly prefers to take just a few and lunge for your outstretched arms. It’s a fun game for him.

He was born my largest baby by far at 8 lbs 7 oz and he’s still my heaviest 1 year old, outweighing Beau by three pounds, James Michael by 6 pounds and tiny Scarlett by nearly 10 lbs at age 1. But as big as he is, we wouldn’t want him any other way. Somehow, his size makes him a little sturdier when my three big kids are playing around him.

Grady is all about Mama, even though you’d never know it by listening to him. He constantly babbles Dada, baba and other sounds. And he’s fine playing with his siblings and Daddy . . . until he sees Mama walk by. Then it’s tears and crawling toward Mama with every ounce of energy he has. It should make life really interesting when he starts morning preschool at our church two days a week in August. (Mama needs time to do her freelancing work.)

Though Grady likes Mama nearby at all times, it’s ironic because he actually gets bored if it’s just the two of us. He’s used to having lots of people around him all the time, and this summer that lack of personal space or quietness was taken to a new level while school was out. So when my three big kids are gone to school it will be quite the adjustment for little Grady.

Grady has been over the pureed baby food for a while now, but I’m treading cautiously with new foods to avoid allergic reactions. Major allergens at this point include dairy, wheat, soy, eggs, avocado and coconut. And from his allergy skin prick test, he was positive for 15 out of the 16 allergens they tested. So he is also avoiding peanuts, all tree nuts, oats and corn. We will go back for another allergy test with more foods this fall, but for now, he loves picking up food with his fingers such as banana, blueberries, watermelon, strawberries, peaches, tomatoes, sweet potato, white potato, butternut squash and any kind of soft meat. I’ve also just started feeding him dishes that we eat such as allergy-friendly shepherd’s pie.

He is still nursing roughly 5 times a day, and though he has slowed down a bit, I don’t see him stopping any time soon. And I’m ok with that since there isn’t a good dairy milk substitute for him at this point.

Overall, he’s a pretty happy baby and loves to play peekaboo, throw toys, pull hair and bite. So let’s just say preschool will be very interesting for him.

As much as a fourth baby surprised us, looking back, we can’t imagine it any other way. We may be nearly retired by the time he moves out of the house, but we are hoping all these kids will keep us young and active for years.

Leaving the baby stage is bittersweet, but we are also excited to enter the toddler stage and hear this guy talk and see him absorb so many new things.

Happy first birthday Grady Tate Hobson!