Dek is 1

Dear little boy,

The day you were born.

 One year ago I was reminding myself that I couldn’t possibly be pregnant forever, and that eventually you would be born and my poor ankles would shrink back to normal size. Then you came so quickly that it was hard to believe you were here already.

The day you turned one.

Now you are 1. You’ve been here a whole year!

We had a pool party with a sticky rice and mango “cake”.

Being a baby in Thailand is pretty fun. It’s a pretty baby friendly place. Everyone wants to be your friend. Everyone stops to greet you. They say, “Chah aye.” It’s a sort of rough guttural sound and it’s literally, just baby talk. It’s how you greet a baby here, along with a big smile and leaning in close to pat a cheek. When you are 40 I think, even if you haven’t been in Thailand for a very long time and someone says that in your hearing, you will wonder why that phrase is so familiar. It’s because you heard it every day for your first year of life.

You are so easy going though. You smile for everyone. You look at Asian women and smile in anticipation, knowing that soon they will come and play with you, drawn by the power of your smile. They do, they cross the road to greet you and make friends. You must think you are magic.

Hamming it up for an appreciative audience

 Every time you pass a new milestone I think to myself, “This, this is the most fun stage ever!”

But then you get to another place and it’s even more fun than before. You started walking last month. You still prefer crawling to get places, but you can walk, and get braver with it every day. You love to climb up and down stairs too. This is frightening for me, not so much for you. You stop up high and laugh, as if to say, “Look at me!”

You understand play. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a baby play with others so early. (It’s probably all the older siblings.)

You play chase games. You run away from daddy while he comes after you and BELLY LAUGH because it’s so funny, and so much fun. Then you chase him and it’s just as funny and you laugh just as much.

You are getting very verbal, saying things that sound very much like real phrases, without consonants. I’m sure I’ve heard you say, “I did it!” more than once.

You prefer to feed yourself, and you are quite proficient with a spoon already, You can drink out of a cup better than any of the other kids. More practice, I guess. It’s so hot here I started giving you water way sooner than the other kids got it so you would stay hydrated.

You adore your siblings and you love daddy, he’s the funnest, and you love all your Thai friends who say hello, but you cling to mommy when you need something or are tired. You yell at daddy for coming to help you instead of me if you wake up in the middle of the night. You cry harder once you see him than you did before he came in. You’ve done this since birth. But you’d rather play with him now, if you don’t need food, or sleep, or comfort.

It’s amazing you know. I’ve had the chance, five times, to be the person who elicits rapturous smiles, laughs and giggles in another person. I’ve been the person who can make everything alright just by picking you up. I’ve been the person who gets to cuddle and smoosh you, and tickle and kiss you and make you happy just by looking at you. It’s still an amazing thing.

I’m in love with your babble, your way of playing, the satisfied way you sigh when I hold you just right, and the way you break off from nursing to grin at me. I want to bottle your belly laugh and share it with the world as medicine to cure all that is sad.

I’m so thankful that you came to join our family on this adventure we call life.

Happy birthday.


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