Happy 1st Birthday, Eli!

It’s true what they say–the days are long and the years are short.
Elijah Jefferson Meng is one year old today!

I can’t believe it.


My tiny newborn babe. Photo by Sabrena Deal

I feel like I’ve spent the year looking at my fourth son and wondering, “Who are you, little one? Who will you be?”

His personality has slowly unfolded over this year.

First and foremost, this little guy is happy. He always has big grins, especially for Mama and Dada. IMG_4930

He is also full of squeals and grunts, especially for Aaron. He actually has this weird grunting noise he makes just to get Aaron’s attention. Of course, Daddy grunts right back, much to Eli’s delight (must be a male thing. I don’t get it).

Eli is saying and signing a few words right now:
Mama (his favorite word!)
Ah-Dah or Da-da
Signs “sleep”
Signs “milk”
Signs “all done” (or screams. We’re working on that one)
He can also wave “hello” and “bye-bye”

He also has a happy sign he does constantly–shaking his head. It looks like “no” but he uses this sign primarily to dance, say “Hello!” or even “I love you.”

It all started when he was a tiny baby (less than 3 months). We would rub our forehead against his and say “Noggins! Noggins!”

Before long, he was shaking his head for “Noggins! Noggins!” himself and it became a signal of love.
Now, when I whisper “I love you” to him while he is nursing, he will shake his head back and forth–“Love you too, Mama!” Sometimes he will even do it unprompted. It melts my heart.

“Noggins! Noggins!” is also his favorite dance. We first discovered the “Noggins” dance when Micah and Benji started singing the “Potato Song.”

Yes, you read that right: Potato Song.

It is some weird song they heard in a kids show. It goes a little like this: “Potato! Potato! Sha-la-la-la!”

Yep. Potato Song.

Anyways, Eli LOVES THIS SONG! He gets super excited, grins, and furiously dances NOGGINS NOGGINS whenever he hears this song, even if someone whispers it. It is hilarious. IMG_4934

His favorite “real” song is,  “I love you! A bushel and a peck!”
Lots of “Noggins! Noggins!” on that song too.

He also adores “Patty Cake” and learned to clap all by himself recently. While sitting on my lap, he will ask for “Patty Cake” while clapping and bouncing. He can even “roll it!” and “throw it in the oven” all by himself. Adorable!

Eli also loves to take a bath. When I start the water, he will clench up his whole body in a fit of joy and do a combo grunt-squeal! He loves to try and “catch” the water and doesn’t mind getting his hair washed.

Lately he hasn’t been the best eater, despite having 6 going on 8 teeth (This is amazing to me because Micah and Benji were toothless at one and Silas only had 2 teeth when he had his first birthday!). Eli has had a bad cold so I think that his appetite has been down.
He loves Gerber dried fruit/veggie bites.
He also loves cheese sticks, peas, broccoli, carrots, oranges, pasta, and hard boiled egg.
When he isn’t sick, he seems to have a good appetite and is eager to try new foods.

He is still nursing quite a bit, including at night. Yawn.

I am really tired. It’s been a long year. I think he has slept through the night 4-5 times in the last year.

We are going to move him to his own room soon. That transition is always bittersweet, but I need to get more sleep for my own health and sanity.

Eli has been my most inconsistent napper…probably not his fault though. As the fourth child, he is constantly being plopped in the car seat and driven from place to place (lately appointment to appointment).

He never had a consistent morning nap, or even a 2-nap schedule. Ug.

But in the past few weeks, he has been falling asleep around noon and I am going with it. On a good day, he will sleep 3 hours.
He is ready for bed around 7:30 or so.

Sometimes later. Mostly because he wants to be a part of all the Meng Boy Action.
He loves the Wild Times at the Meng House. He loves to wrestle, tumble and tickle. Yep, that child fits right in. IMG_4942

Eli is also a snuggle bug. He plays well by himself with his toys but will consistently come over to me or Aaron to “check in.” He lays his head down on our legs, wants a hug or snuggle at the neck, kisses, “noggins” or just a quick squeeze.

Aaron and I love these special snuggles with our tiny boy.

Well, “tiny” is relative. Eli weighs around 22-23 pounds. He is fitting snugly in 12 month onesies, although 12 month pants are a bit long on him–short and stout, that baby!

Let me say–my biceps have never looked better. He is heavy! It is amazing to think that Micah and Benji didn’t even weigh 20 lbs when they turned TWO.  Eli is my biggest baby yet!

When I look back on his first year, I am so thankful to see this little boy thrive and grow. I love my relationship with him and how loving, sweet, and happy he is.
And yet, I am not sad to see this year go. It has been a hard year.

Eli’s first 4-6 weeks were hellishly difficult due to his his tongue tie issues, despite the high I was on from his amazing birth. I wish I had happier memories from his newborn days.

His middle months are kind of a blur to me, especially since we were going through the child study with Benji at school.
Then Eli had a series of ear infections from September-November. We were constantly at the pediatrician, trying antibiotic after antibiotic.  He just could not get well. Between the ear infections and medication reactions, I barely slept for those 3+ months.
On November 30th, he got tubes in his ears.


Waiting to for surgery in my Tiger Gown

That was about 3 weeks ago. I wish he could say he is doing better but he got another whopper of a cold and still isn’t 100%. I guess that’s what happens when you have 3 older brothers who “share” their germs with you.

Thankfully, with the tubes, treating any ear infection is just a matter of ear drops, not a trip to the doctor.

So, yeah, this year has been bittersweet. Or maybe sweetbitter. Eli is a wonderful, precious boy and I love him so much. But his first year has not been easy.

But today we celebrate his wonderful, miraculous birth. Happy Birthday Eli! We love you so much, little one, and can’t wait to see you learn and grow in the next year! Here’s to many more smiles and snuggles and lots more sleep in the new year!


Freedom!!! Baby bums are the best! (not walking yet but cruising like a champ!)


  1. […] Silas Benji’s Autism diagnosis Eli’s 3 month long ear infection Daily 3 year old tantrums Eli’s ear tubes surgery Emailing, work deadlines, and grading bad papers And did I mention exhaustion? I have not gotten 6+ […]

  2. […] Silas Benji’s Autism diagnosis Eli’s 3 month long ear infection Daily 3 year old tantrums Eli’s ear tubes surgery Emailing, work deadlines, and grading bad papers And did I mention exhaustion? I have not gotten 6+ […]

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