One Year of the Bambino

One year ago, Albert Otto Neudeck V burst onto the scene and it’s been quite a ride (and an adjustment). It still stuns me that our Finn has been around that long…and yet, he’s changed so much that I realize perhaps we have been doing this for a nice chunk of time. The most constant refrain around our home is “he’s just such a good baby!” We truly got extremely lucky with a great sleeper who is rarely fussy. I’m enjoying watching him develop new skills every week and can see a change in myself as well. What a year!

  • It’s been pretty amazing to watch him go from having to wear a harness 24/7 (due to hip dysplasia) to crawling/cruising everywhere. He’s a strong little boy who will find his way no matter what – and he’ll do it with a smile on his face the whole time. I hope I have a similar attitude.
  • It’s hard to occupy a baby’s time! When he’s awake, he’s always trying to get into something. When he doesn’t have the attention span for a movie, what do you do for hours on end?!
  • I’ve seen plenty of changes in myself. Life now requires a bit more planning. After being able to flit about on my own schedule for years (I loved an Irish exit), I’ve learned how to communicate better since more people are involved. I’m also more adept at cramming a lot of action in a short amount of time. I don’t have the luxury of staying at work til 7 to finish a project. I have to figure out how to get it all done in a finite amount of time because a little person MUST be picked up from school and then tended to.
  • There’s no such thing as a “hangover Saturday.” After a late night, you don’t get to just veg on the couch and binge Netflix. Someone is up at 7am every single day and requires constant attention. That has hands-down been the biggest life change.
  • It’s true that personality traits start to emerge early. Finn is Mr. Skepical, he’s always happy, definitely prefers his Dad (/dudes in general), and is such a busy boy. I’m excited to watch these traits evolve.
  • I never took my “me time” for granted, but I also never realized just how lucky I was to have had so much of it that I filled with so many hobbies. Now that I’m constantly occupied by Finn, those pursuits are extra precious.
  • I love seeing him share opinions on something. I didn’t think a 10-month-old could have a favorite book (or communicate that he prefers one over any other), but he definitely does. By 10 months he decided he loved the book Chu’s Day At The Beach. He claps whenever we get to the big sneeze (and gets his hands ready a page before in anticipation) and starts slapping the book to tell us to read it. It blew my mind.
  • I’m currently drinking out of a mug that says “The days are long but the years are short.” I wouldn’t say this year has gone by quickly (every day I’m like “aren’t you supposed to be walking and talking by now?”), but it has felt monumental. Just the fact that Finn has outgrown his infant car seat and is almost done with bottle drinking and eats like a real person feels like we’ve made such strides along this parenting path.
  • Height: 32 inches (99th percentile!)
  • Weight: 24 lbs, 8 oz (but everyone says he feels much heavier – he’s definitely solid)
  • Teeth: 8
  • Nicknames: Finn (this is technically a nickname, short for the fifth since his government name is Albert Otto Neudeck V), Sir Finn, Finsky, Albert Otto Astronaut-o, Finn Finn (his teachers), the Mansky Man, Fahtstah Finstah, and V (this one we mostly use when talking about him).
  • Tricks: Clapping, high fiving, hiding (peekaboo), pretending to share and then taking it away, cruising, waving, and shaking an object when we tell him to.
Our Faves
  • Daycare: Albert and I love having time for ourselves/work and Finn loves every second of his time there. He’s learning so much and particularly loves music class.
  • Anything with texture: Finn has always been super tactile so books that he can touch are big wins.
  • Target clothes: I think the Cat & Jack stuff is extra cute.
  • Miss Rachel: If we need a distraction at a restaurant or on a long car ride, this woman on YouTube is mesmerizing.
  • Baby Led Weaning: I used Solid Starts as a guide (I didn’t buy anything but used the app for inspiration re: foods to introduce and how to cut them). I believe this was successful in large part because he generally just loves eating. Because he was eating solids early, it made going to restaurants/friends’ homes much easier because we’re always able to find something he can eat. It saves us a lot of money on baby food and, as long as I give it some advance thought, doesn’t really require extra meal prep since he pretty much just eats whatever we eat. Getting him to use a utensil or drink water is another story.
  • Books: Top reads in our home are Chu’s Day at the Beach, Gaston/Antoinette, and The Pet Potato.
  • Toys: Currently he loves a ball pit, busy boards, and has a one track mind for the remote control (to the point that most playtime needs to occur in his bedroom or he has eyes for nothing else).
The Celebration

I wanted to keep things simple for Finn’s first birthday party. And, honestly, I wanted to remember that it was a celebration of us making it through the first year as parents because it’s a change that can really rock your world and should be recognized. I just wanted friends, family, pizza, a cake smash, and a lot of alcohol. Success!

We held the party at a pizza place at the end of our block and invited Finn’s classmates and our family/friends. It’s wild how quickly that guest list grows! Each kid/friend comes as a packaged deal. Because they’re just babies, one RSVP from Finn’s school buddy means three or four people (the kid plus parents and maybe a sibling) and many of our friends are married with kids so they show up as a family of four. 25 invites turned into 65 people, which seems kinda nuts. About 50 people ended up showing up, but it actually didn’t stress me out – it actually made me so happy to have so many people who care about Finn and want to celebrate him.

We decided on a football theme (Finn’s First Down) since we’re a big football fam…and because it’s the only time we really let Finn watch tv.

  • The Invite: I designed the invitation to look like a football ticket and pretty pleased with how it came out
  • The Decor: We had a balloon banner that said “First Year Down,” a photo banner with a pic for each month, a football-themed high chair banner, field table runner, themed cupcake toppers, mini foam fingers, and a homemade milestone chalkboard sign.
  • The Outfits: We didn’t encourage anyone to dress on-theme, but we had to do a lil something extra as the bday fam. Finn wore a crown and a custom jersey that said BDAY BOY on the front and FINN on the back with the number 01. We wore sporty stuff and Mom/Dad eye blacks. We also had eye black stickers for all the guests so they could customize and get festive too.
  • The Entertainment: We set up coloring books for all the kids and had holiday music playing. We ended up being too busy partying to set up some of the items like the 1-shaped football piñata, the bubble machine, or the crawl tunnel. Oh well.
  • The Food: Sausage and peppers, rice balls, penne vodka, and salad for apps, pizza for the main, the coconut pineapple cake from LA Sweets, and an open bar.
  • The Goody Bags: I filled football-themed baggies with a bag of goldfish, a toy car, and a mini pop-it keychain.