Ava had great fun celebrating her birthday this weekend. I can actually say that and mean it. Earlier this spring I wasn’t really looking forward to the big event because she is so far behind other babies her age, and even ones who are younger. But I think by the time we got to this past week I was feeling more okay about it and we really did have a good time.

Yes, people would have come and celebrated no matter what. But it’s helped a lot that finally, Ava gets excited when she sees people—especially people she knows—and there are multiple things that make her really happy, not JUST her beloved Wubbanubs. (She also enjoys people who talk with their hands, the color red, food, eating her socks and long walks on the beach.)

After weeks of googling and mildly stressing, I also found a dairy-free, choking-free way to give her a frosted cupcake with a candle in it. She even got to safely play with it and get messy. 

Ava has also gotten good enough at sitting up that she can play WHILE sitting. I know, your kid (and my other one) could probably always play while they were sitting, unless they had low tone like Ava. Or you never noticed or thought about it because it wasn’t an issue. But Ava has to concentrate really hard on new things and on things that take a lot of strength. It’s taken more than month of sitting to be able to play with a toy in front of her at the same time. At last, she can finally entertain herself for a little while in an upright position. This is actually so much more life-changing for me than I have time to describe right now. #nomoreplaymatmomguilt

I’m sure this year is going to hold a bunch of doctor’s appointments and even more therapy, but it really does help that she is starting to make progress. It sounds selfish, but it’s pretty discouraging to take care of a baby who doesn’t really respond to you and doesn’t, well, do anything for the first 10 months.

I definitely couldn’t have imagined we’d start last week with a one-hour, 5-person meeting to make a plan to help Ava get herself into a sitting position. #rabbittrail

Hope is a big word with deep things underlying, but in a right-here-right-now sense, I am hopeful that THIS year we’ll get to help Ava reach some of the milestones she didn’t get to in Year 1.

Of course, now that I’ve said that you’re going to ask what exactly we think she’ll do next. I don’t know. She’s a long ways from walking or even crawling. Milestones for her are tiny, broken-down pieces of milestones. Maybe we should call them yard-stones or foot-stones. Sometimes they feel like inch-stones. Does that even make any sense? Anyway. While it’ll be fun to help her do new things, we are learning to not let whatever-length-stones be the baseline for our happiness and enjoyment of Ava. It’s not fair to her and it’s not good for us.

Along with her new skills, she is finally becoming more social and we are getting to know her better and getting to interact more. That, I think, will be something we can enjoy this year, even if she doesn’t master crawling or walking.

Happy Birthday Ava.

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