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Our blue-eyed boy.

About a year ago, we were celebrating Jack’s birthday in the hospital, waiting for our next baby to be born. Like all my deliveries, it was slow, despite all the tricks I’ve learned over the years having six babies. I knew perfectly well that none of it was going to help..and it didn’t. So Jack’s birthday came and went and a half an hour into May, Peter decided he was good and ready to start his life on earth.
Fast forward a year and the baby’s not a baby anymore. Despite being cuddled and coddled by everyone in the house, Peter seems bound and determined to grow up just as fast as he can. I mean, Kate can barely pick him up because he’s so huge.
One of Peter’s many talents is eating. That boy can pack food away like he has a spare stomach and still find room to sneak snacks from the fruit bowl, the floor, the pantry…
…other peoples’ plates that they left on the table.
In an attempt to be more grown-up than he really is, Peter is insistent he have silverware like the rest of us. He’s still working on making it to his mouth, but practice makes perfect, right?
If there is one thing that truly makes Peter happy, it’s eating.
If he gets really desperate, there are always the crayons and markers his siblings leave lying around.🙈
Um, that’s marker, not blood…
It’s not just his massive size that makes Peter seem like a small (albeit hefty) adult-ish person rather than a baby. It’s all about attitude and self-perception. For example, there are many necessities that Peter has to endure but he unquestionable hates. Diaper changes. Baths. Getting dressed. Being told to get off the table.
Nobody tells baby to get down.

He is the epitome of independence and in every way, is determined to keep up with his siblings. I’ve noticed that means he’s also very quiet and observant. If he wants to figure out how to do something, he waits to watch one of his siblings do it. Before he turned one, he could navigate stairs, walk, climb on the table, flush the toilet, and can let himself out some of the doors to the outside. Peter definitely keeps me on my toes!

His dogged determination isn’t all bad, either. I love the phase he’s in because his independence is also laced with a desire to help. There isn’t a meal I don’t wash him off (after he reminds me with a shriek or two that he doesn’t like it) that he doesn’t push his chair back to its spot. He tries his darndest to help unload the dishwasher and knows the broom is for mopping. A little more coordination and he’ll be ready for a regular chore list. 😜

Peter also has a great sense of humor. His teeth came in so early so A) he could bite siblings who wouldn’t leave him alone (eh hem, Zoey) and B) so he could give the sweetest, toothy grins while he giggles and laughs. He loves a good game of hide and seek, running through the yard (as in, someone carries him since he can’t run himself yet) while the wind whips through his flaxen hair, being tickled, and playing peek-a-boo.
Uh oh. The couch ate the baby.

One thing that all our kids have had common is that they love, LOVE being outside which, I have to say, makes me very happy. I like being outside, we live on a farm with plenty of outside space, the animals are outside…lots of good things happen outdoors.
Lost in the sea of woodchips.
Also like all my children, Peter has an affinity for all animals. Every morning and every night, he’s my constant companion while we’re checking on the animals and making sure everyone has food and water.

Daisy letting Peter investigate her nose.
Sometimes, his motivations for helping are clearly to get a taste of the food the animals are eating but in his defense, sweet feed does smell like molasses and is probably quite the treat.
Touch is another huge reason Peter loves animals so much. He will carefully and calculated stalk the chickens or cats or stand at the gate calling the horses in hopes he gets to touch just one of them.
The old man giving the young man a ride.

The interesting thing about babies and animal babies is that they don’t share the same phase for very long. Take Hashi for example. He was born a month ago but within the first two hours, he was walking. The next day he was running and now, he’s basically a small child. It’s taken Peter a year to unfold and he still can only just walk. It’s incredible to watch both but I for one am grateful that even though Peter is determined to grow up as fast as he can that nature has allowed me a little more time with him as a baby than a month.
Best buds.

In my family of six siblings, I come in the middle, though I’ve often wondered what it must be like to be the baby. Peter gets the benefit of five other children who know how to rock a baby, read a picture book complete with character voices, and entertain with the best of them. And, of course, they teach Peter really important skills that will surely serve him later in life, such as plate balancing.

I’d say that Peter also has the benefit of slightly experienced parents but then I think, “Who am I kidding?” I might be able to recognize a drool rash or know medicine dosing ratios like the back of my hand but every kid that comes along is a reminder that they’re all so unique and different that everything I thought I knew or that worked before goes right out the window. There’s no one-size-fits-all in the parenting game. Despite wondering whether or not Peter loves me because he’s so sure he doesn’t need my help (i.e. we battle every time there’s a diaper change because he’s positive he’d rather do it himself), he saves a special smile for me and Jack and gives the most generously slobbery kisses and pat-on-the-back hugs I could ask for.
The day of Peter’s birthday, It was all about him. The older kids couldn’t wait to wrap his presents, decorate, and dote on him. We talked with family via Zoom so they could wish him a happy birthday (hurray technology!)…
We had homemade spaghetti for dinner and holy cow, I think he ate half the pot!
While in a carb coma, we tried to get him to open his gifts. He didn’t really get the concept but he sure enjoyed tearing the wrapping paper to tiny bits.
I’m not one for smash cakes for baby birthdays–to each their own–because I do NOT like waste in any form. Peter doesn’t either. We sang happy birthday, blew out his candle for him, and then he delicately ate every last crumb of his cupcake.
Before bed, Peter took a cruise around in his new wagon, though he was barely conscious for the tour up and down the driveway. He was so thoroughly worn out from all the festivities that he barely cracked a smile and when I did lay him down for bed, he was out like a light.

There are so many feelings and thoughts I wish I could convey about each child that has graced our family but it all feels so inadequate. Peter is another piece that makes us feel more complete. He multiplies love and happiness and has a big personality that can’t help but draw people to him. His smile is contagious and he can brighten a room with his laugh. Peter is a gem, and is truly going to make the world a better place with his presence. He’s resilient, jovial, compassionate, fearless, and tough. In a word, he’s amazing and we’re so, so glad he’s another part of our family.
Hoping you had the best of first birthdays, big guy!

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True stories of raising children, remodeling, braving the elements and plotting out life, all while living on a humble acreage in central Indiana.

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