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Baby sister turns 1

The day I left to fly out to Clinical Nutrition Week, my sweet baby Piper turned 1 year old. *sniff sniff* The last year has flown by even faster than I knew it would and it was really hard for me to not be sad about it in the weeks leading up to her birthday. Babies just don't stay babies long enough!

 We had some bumps in the road at the beginning with her but her first year has been a completely different experience for me than the other kids' were. It's hard to un-know the things I've become aware of since Raya was born, and that has made it hard for me to overlook a lot of things with Piper that I probably wouldn't have given a second thought to with the other kids, for better or worse. In some cases, that has been a good thing and in others, it has been the cause of stress and worry for me that I probably didn't need to have.
 Piper is such a sweetheart. She adores her mommy & daddy, and her big sister, Ashtyn. She loves playing with Cole and Kaida and she's learning to hold her own around Raya's endless energy. Raya can't help but smother Piper most of the time and Piper is learning to handle it. They are starting to play together more and it's fun to see them. They both disappeared on me a few days ago and it got very quiet, and when I went looking for them, they had emptied out a toy basket in one of the bedrooms and were happily playing in the middle of the mess.
 Having Piper has been like therapy for me. She has shown me that I am enough. She reminds me that I am a good mom and reaffirms for me that Raya's medical problems were not and are not my fault. I know it's not her job to do that, but taking care of her and seeing the world of difference between her and Raya in so many aspects has reminded me of that. Raya's problems were/are real. Sometimes it gets hard to shut out the doubts and questions of other people, but having a typically developing baby in our home again has made crystal clear to me what Raya's differences were. (in other words, Mommy's not crazy)
 Feeding Piper has been such a blessing. Things did not start out as smoothly as I had hoped with her. She had feeding difficulties at the beginning, and we still have some concerns that we will be looking into with a swallow study in the near future. As a result of her feeding difficulties, I have been pumping and bottle feeding her since day 2. It's something I've had to do for all 4 of our girls for varying lengths of time, but this time has been such a blessing. I would never change what I went through as Raya's mother, but being able to continue pumping past 12 months for Piper has helped me regain something intangible that was taken from me when breast milk was no longer safe for Raya and I had to stop nursing her for medical reasons. Piper is unable to tolerate dairy protein, so being able to continue pumping and feeding her breast milk is even more important to me right now. I've had people make comments to me about how amazing I am for pumping this long, but I am not amazing. I am grateful that my body has cooperated this far. It is an incredible feeling for me to be providing adequate nutrition to her and seeing her grow. She is still our second smallest of the 5 and is long and lean like the rest of them, but she's doing fine.
 This girl LOVES to eat! Due to things I have learned about digestion and being extra cautious due to our other kids' food allergies & intolerances, we have done things completely different with Piper than we did with the other kids. This pink birthday cake was pretty much her first (and only) exposure to wheat. She has had a variety of fruits and vegetables, broths, beans, and meats, and she has yet to turn her nose up at anything we have fed her. We are starting to introduce some of the easier-to-digest grains in small quantities to see how her body handles them. Dairy is still not her friend, and neither is raw banana. She has been hit hard this week with the same environmental allergy symptoms that everyone else in our region has been hit with, thanks to the early spring and the wind. I foresee a trip to the allergist in her future, but we will wait a bit longer before we do that.
 Piper has been on her own time schedule since the beginning. She has a very laid-back, chill personality in every way. (except when it comes to her food) She is not in a hurry to hit her gross motor milestones. It was just about 2 weeks ago that she decided she was ready to leave the army crawling behind and start crawling on her hands and knees. She can pull to stand but she doesn't cruise yet and walking is not even on her radar right now. (and that's okay, she'll do it when she's ready) She is a pretty serious kid and it takes a lot to get her giggling but she is mostly content and happy. As long as she has a full belly and 1 or both of her favorite blankets, she is a happy girl.
This girl likes her bed. A lot. She does not sleep anywhere but in her bed, and she has a specific routine that she likes to follow. Our other kids have not been as self-structured at this age as she is but she most definitely likes things to be a certain way and doesn't like to stray from that. She is not a snuggler but when she decides she wants to, she will sit on my lap and suck her thumb and snuggle with her blankets. Those are the moments when the rest of the world disappears and all that matters is her. I have cherished those moments with all of my babies.

Her favorite things to play with lately are Raya's feeding pump, backpack, tubing, and most recently, her G tube. Piper discovered it after Raya got out of the bathtub yesterday and was quite fascinated with it. Raya thought it was funny until Piper started to try and grab it. Speaking of Raya, guess who kept trying to photobomb the birthday pictures...
Piper is helping Raya to learn that not everything in life is about her. It's a hard lesson for a 5 year old!

Piper Junie, you have changed my life, changed me as a mother, and filled a hole in my heart that I didn't know was there. I just can't get enough of you and I can't imagine our family without you in it. I love you more than words can say! Happy birthday, cuteness!


  1. Happy Birthday to Piper! God, weren't you writing on this blog that you're expecting a child like, yesterday? She's one? That's crazy!


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