Near the end of 2012 we learned a great secret. We learned a little baby was miraculously forming inside of me. Baby #5 was on its way. We were in a position where we could pay the midwife cash for all of the care and delivery. Throughout the pregnancy I refused to know what Zen’s sex was. I already had 2 of each so no matter what Zen was the tie-breaker. We used the nickname Zen because baby movements were so calm and relaxed; almost like there was a Tai Chi going on in the womb.
Fast forward to April 2013. Zen made a fast appearance (4 hours total, 3 of that at the birth center). It was the most amazing birth ever. By far the best I had. I am not here to talk about that though.
Once Zen was born I was thrilled to announce “A boy!” Oddly, once I said the words I felt like I had always known that he was a boy.
My mom was in town and between her and Mark I was able to spend my time in bed getting to know the baby and simply enjoying life. The big kids would crawl into bed with me and snuggle and admire the new little bundle. It was the best recovery time I ever had. It made me want to do this for other new moms; make them just enjoy their kids while I care for the house for them. I think every mom deserves that.
Over the next year we learned a lot about Zen. He really is a calm baby. We call him “Happy Chap” all the time. He smiles easily, laughs a lot, and snuggles contentedly. He is a true joy to all of us. Very seldom would jealously poke its head out, but when it did it was never bad. For example, the girls would get more demanding for “Me and Daddy time” even after spending a day with him. We could handle that.
During this past year the kids have gotten hands on experience with cloth diapers, bathing Zen, feeding, and more. They are learning how to appropriately interact with each stage and teach Zen so much, including sign language! They encourage him when he is learning new tricks, like crawling. They read to him and sing to him and play with him. It has been a year full of love.
We watched Zen go from a sleeping bundle of newborn to a rolling baby. We would have to watch where we walked because he would suddenly be rolling along the floor. He then learned to sit. He was oh so proud of this accomplishment! From there he learned to army crawl, regular crawl, pull himself up, creep, and finally take those first wobbling steps all on his own. He teethed and started solids. He learned several simple words and how to ask for more food using sign language. When he is distressed just start singing “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” and his body visibly relaxes. He rolls cars on the floor, rocks baby dolls in his arms, and tries to steal C-Dog’s army men toys. He loves his stuffies and his blankie goes everywhere with him; Linus style.
We celebrated the year with a small party in March. Bug was camping with the scouts, but 2 of my lovely aunts traveled down to see us and meet my 2 youngest (they had never met Princess either!) and a family friend stopped by. On Zen’s actual birthday we were in our home state so we went to a frozen yogurt place that also serves non-dairy treats and met some friends there. Overall, I think Zen enjoyed his first taste of sweets. He may not have understood what the big deal was but soon enough he will learn that HE is the big deal! He is loved, wanted, and has a purpose in this world.
I can’t believe a year has gone by. I always feel that first year goes too quick. I honestly love that first year. I wish that everything that happens would take 2 years instead of one so I could treasure it longer. As we enter the second year of Zen I look forward to watching his personality continue to blossom. He is turning into quite a clown. Apparently all of my children are nothing if not hams.
Happy first birthday Zen! Here is to year 2. May it be filled with even more smiles and belly laughs.