10. He's just so darn cute. As his mother, I may be a little bit biased. Also, he's got my dark hair and brown eyes, so again, I'm slightly partial. But everywhere I go, people can't help but comment on him, especially his gorgeous eyes and long eyelashes. True, they may just be being polite, and that's fine, but I can't help but agree with the woman named Patty at our church who, not in our presence, looked at him and simply said "Yum." When he was born, he had a plugged duct in one eye that made a little lump and caused his eyes to be very asymmetrical. I always thought he was beautiful because he was mine, but it was a revelation a month or so later when it cleared up and the lump went away--he was like a new kid! A new, devastatingly handsome kid.
9. He's (mostly) a mellow fellow. Charis has always been a fireball of energy, and that certainly has its charms and is fantastic entertainment. Judah's disposition, while certainly playful, is much more low-key. He's the "easy one" in the nursery, so much so that many nursery workers have told me in hushed tones, "I love your son. He's my favorite. I hold him every chance I get." *wink* Judah's biggest (outside of the family) fan is his Wednesday night nursery worker, Jan, who doesn't share him with others (perhaps to our delight). She unabashedly, without hushed tones or winks, claims Judah as her favorite, and that's fine by us. She's our favorite, too.
8. He loves to look at books. Abe is not a reader. I really, really am. I have always had this secret fear that my kids wouldn't like to read and I wouldn't know what to do about it. I think reading is very important and, most of all, fun. I recall spending hours upon hours reading as a child, being transported to all sorts of places and times, experiencing things I just couldn't have experienced in my backyard by myself. I was always sad when the last page was read because I didn't want to leave the world I had become a part of. Now, I'm not saying I caught Judah reading The Count of Monte Cristo or anything, but it just isn't unusual for him to sit down with a book and leisurely flip through the pages, and that makes me happy. (On a side note, Charis also LOVES to read, so we seem to have dodged the bullet thus far.)
7. He is mobile and independent. He scooted for a long time before he crawled, and crawled only briefly (a month or so?) before he walked. Now he practically runs. He rifles through the toys on his own, he explores on his own, he is bold and adventuresome in trying to climb places he has never been before. When I'm trying to get the laundry folded or dinner made, this is an especially handy trait. However, he is still...
6. A cuddly bunny. Charis is a toddler. She's very nearly 3. She is a go-go-goer and only occasionally stops to cuddle with mom. I know Judah will reach this stage, and as a boy, he will probably reach it sooner and to a greater degree, but for now, especially when he is tired, he will let mom cuddle with him.
5. He is all boy. Rough and tumble. Charis sits on him and he laughs. He flops face-first onto a pile of blankets on the floor. He eats sand. He likes his trucks and cars. Abe is already (in fact, was from delivery) planning all of the things he is going to teach Judah--sports, car maintenance, home repair... And this is what Charis has to say about it: "fgfgvfvvvvvvmnm,m " She typed that herself.
4. His expressions are priceless. Maybe it's that Abe and I are overly melodramatic, or maybe it's the huge mirror in the living room that the kids like to stare into, practicing their best faces, but both of the kids play with expressions so much, they may be destined for a life on the stage. People have actually asked me if I teach my children to make all of those faces. Judah's faces have only started to emerge, but he can already run the gamut. You just wonder what's going on in his little head... Which leads me to #3...
3. His personality. The older he gets, the more it shines through. This past weekend, at Judah's birthday party, Aunt Beth mentioned that she thought he would have a dry sense of humor. How can you extrapolate this while looking at a one-year old with very few words who is cramming cake into his mouth? I don't know. But I kind of agree--he seems to have restraint, and may be the quiet life of the party, but the life nonetheless. I don't see him ever being a blank slate. I think he will be a fascinating canvas! The fun part is watching that personality emerge.
2. He loves his sister. I know, what's not to love? But just the same, it is amazing to see the look of adoration in his eyes when he turns a corner and sees her. His face just lights up! Or when I have almost completed a task and he wakes up from a nap, he is comforted when Charis takes my place in the wake-up process. When I do make it up there, he's usually giggling just watching her perform or play. I love that I have not taught him to love her, or forced him or implored him in any way to be fond of her...it comes as naturally to him as loving his mom and dad. It's sweet.
1. He is uniquely Judah. I love that he will tilt his head down so we can bonk heads when he is sitting in his highchair. I love that before he lets me set him down in his crib at night, he loves to give me slobbery kisses. I love that I have to hide when I pass by the nursery so he won't see me and all of a sudden be sad that I'm not with him. I love that he has as much fun wearing his food as he does eating it. I love when he copies me when I blow on his face, or when I say "uh-oh." I love that he thinks the cat is so funny. I love everything that makes him Judah, and I wouldn't trade him for anything in the whole wide world.
Happy birthday, Judah!