PALISADE -- She's a blue-eyed, blond little girl with an infectious grin, making Vallery Ruth Slater the star attraction whenever she visits Our Family Homestead Kitchen in Palisade, the restaurant owned by her grandparents, Ruth and Dennis Lindman.
Vallery, who was the first baby born in 2003 in Crow Wing County, spends every morning at her family's restaurant, eating breakfast with her grandparents and mom, Gina Lindman.
Vallery was born at 6:13 a.m. Jan. 1 at Cuyuna Regional Medical Center in Crosby, becoming the first baby born in the county in 2003. Three other babies -- one boy and two girls -- were born later that day at St. Joseph's Medical Center in Brainerd.
"It feels like it went fast," said Gina Lindman, of her daughter's first year. Her nickname for Vallery is "Monkey."
Gina Lindman, Palisade, held her daughter, Vallery, who showed off a toothy grin. Vallery was the first baby born in Crow Wing County in 2003. (Dispatch Photos by Steve Kohls)
While Vallery was a colicky baby at first, she has emerged into a cheerful and contented 1-year-old, said her grandma Ruth Lindman.
"She is so good, she really is," Ruth Lindman. "She's just so happy. It's been an awesome year."
Vallery has six teeth so far, loves to watch Teletubbies and goes bowling with her grandma. She had dark hair at birth, but that has turned blond. She says a few words, like "Mama," "Oh-oh," "doggie," and "Yes."
But her mother said a person can't let her daughter's smiles fool them; Vallery has a stubborn side too. One night the baby refused to let go of a marker (the cap was still on) and her grandma couldn't get it out of her hand. Vallery just wouldn't let it go. So that night, Vallery slept with the marker.
Vallery Slater will turn 1 on Jan. 1. Her mom, Gina Lindman, said Vallery has been a happy baby who loves to use the telephone, sometimes calling her mom's cell phone by pressing the speed dial.
"She feel asleep with it gripped in her hand next to her face," said her mom with a smile. "She's very independent."
Vallery also likes to use the telephone. She presses the buttons on the telephone and frequently calls her mother's cell phone using the speed dial.
"She calls me all the time," said Gina Lindman.
Gina Lindman said Vallery will spend her first birthday celebrating with her aunt Sara Lindman, who turns 16 on the same day. Both Sara and Vallery were New Year's babies.
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