Oh my goodness. You.
I just adore you. In the past week, you started walking. You had made a few attempts before, but starting on Tuesday, you really went for it. Today, I’m not sure that I’ve seen you scoot once. I love the look on your face, one part wonder, one part fear, one part pride. You hold your arms out for balance, but you’re already attempting to carry things. Your bravery when it comes to climbing is truly frightening.
I know some babies start crawling, start walking and never look back. They’re on the go, and they’d rather be stirring it up than be held. Not you. Though you’re curious and proud of your new skills, you’re reaching up to be held more often than not. The past month, in particular, you’ve been sensitive and cuddly, just wanting to be held close as I make breakfast or clean the house. Thank God for the Ergo. Sometimes I feel a bit frustrated as Lily whines that she’s hungry (while I’m making breakfast) and you’re tugging at my pant leg, crying to be held. It feels like I can’t get anything done, but then I remember. I might be slower with a little bundle strapped to me, but it doesn’t matter. I want to hold you as much as I can while I can. You might be getting bigger, and you might be partially proficient at walking, but you’re still my baby.
It’s so strange seeing you in clothes I really clearly remember Lily wearing. You’re a bit smaller, so I’m not sure that the timing is the same in terms of what clothes at what age, but it is a startling sense of deja vu.
There are many similarities between the two of you: beyond the blonde hair and blue eyes, you both are cuddlers, and love to be held, even at this stage when you’re starting to become more independent physically. You both love/loved to nurse. You both are shameless flirts whenever someone makes eye contact with you, smiling and bashfully hiding your face and then playing peek-a-boo.
But you’re different, too. For all of your sensitive snuggles this past month, you’re still pretty independent, scooting or walking off into other rooms, finding toys to play with, and just generally entertaining yourself. You also hate to be told no. Whenever I shake my head or tell you not to do something, your face crumbles, and you start to cry. You’re a comedienne, too. You love to see us laugh, and if something that you do happens to get that effect, you do it again and again, quite pleased with the hysterical results.
You love: Music! Oh my goodness. You’re whole body perks up when music is playing, and you’ll start dancing. You have this look on your face that tells me you’re really paying attention to the music. You love watching Grandma play her guitar.
You’ve just started picking up a baby and hugging and rocking it. The other day, I even saw you push up your shirt and nurse a little baby. Oh my goodness. SO CUTE.
At the playground, you’re quite brave. You love the slides and stairs, and our playground outings are much more adventuresome these days with two little girls tearing it up :)
You are such a details girl. You adore playing with small objects like buttons, beans, or even spare change, and you love sorting them into little jars or bottles best. The other night, you methodically picked up and donned about 50 mardi gras necklaces, one at a time with such lovely, precise movements. We have a couple tiny books with our instagram photos, and you LOVE paging through those, exclaiming at each recognizable face.
You’re a pretty good eater. You love beans, bananas, and apples. I have this great little video of you eating a green smoothie with your hands, picking up a bit and then putting it in your mouth and grunting, “mmmmmm!” each time.
One of the things I love best about you is your hugs. You are such a good little hugger! You are so generous with hugs and kisses, and man, I feel so blessed every time you give me a squeeze.
You’re not saying too much yet. Mama, Dada, Uh oh, Boo, and No! Are your staples at the moment. I can’t wait until you can say your sister’s name, but I’m worried that I’m consistent enough in using her name. I’m always calling her by nicknames or endearments. It’s more likely that you would say “sister.”
Oh little Lu. I love you so much. You are such a sweetheart, and I am so blessed to be your mother.
I was just snuggled up next to Lily. She has both of her hands pressed together under her left cheek, and she’s snoring softly. In a cute way. She also has a bit of toilet paper sticking out of her nostril because about 45 minutes ago, she took a nose dive off the couch, attempting to rescue Boudreaux, or should I say, “Ivy. The GIRL alligator.”
The nose dive was pretty epic, and when we scraped her off the floor, her nose began to bleed and she really howled. Some snuggling and a nap were definitely in order.
You are adorable. Today, you’re wearing a maroon and orange sweater that looks startlingly like a thneed. Your coral ballet skirt clashes noisily. Your hair is a snarl in the back and a fly-away golden halo in front. You’ve had Boudreaux – er, Ivy – stuck down your shirt and peeking out the neck all day long, and at regular intervals, you announce, “I’m nursing my baby!” or, “Shhh! My baby is sleeping!”
You are vibrant. There’s no other word for it. Whether your picking out an outfit, drawing at the table, playing with your sister, or running around the playground, you are so intense! I think this is one of the things I need to learn from you. How to be so very present. I might, perhaps, exercise a bit more control over my emotions though. That looks like hard work.
But even our Big Emotions are getting easier to manage these days. Sure, we still have our all-out sob fests, but those a spreading out a bit. Some days we don’t even have them at all! You’re getting so much better at explaining how you feel and asking for what you need.
I think our relationship, in particular, is as strong as it’s ever been. You are so sweet to me; you ask me questions. You show concern for me, and though I hope you develop a healthy independence and curiosity about the world outside of me and our little family, I selfishly love how important I am to you. I guess that sounds weird to say, but it’s true. And why not? Right now, at three, I’m really important to you and you need me a lot, and I’m so grateful for this time.
So for now, we’re enjoying long conversations. You especially love anything that has to do with trauma, the doctor, or accidents. “Tell me more, Mommy,” you say, fascinated by anything with a macabre element. You want me to tell the same story three or four times before you’re content to let it go.
Pretty much daily, you say something hysterical. I always intend to write them down, but I haven’t been. I must do that more! Here are a few that I can recall from recently:
“I am the Lorax! I speak for the trees!” and “Oh no! Mommy! The Barbaloot (Lu) is coming to get me!” (After reading the Lorax.)
“Mommy, what did you dream about?”
“I dreamt about living in the mountains.”
“Me too. I dreamt about living in the mountains. Tell me more, Mommy.”
“I wanna live in a Westfalia!”
“Mommy, some people are nice and some people are mean?”
(Hearing a song she recognizes.) “We’ve been there mommy?”
There are so many more. I’ll try to write more of them down as you says them. Some of our funny conversations involve talking about what things are made out of. I realized at some point that you thought the word “plastic” meant unbreakable, rather than the material. So then we identified all the metal things we could see, all the wood things, and all the plastic things. You’re really good at it!
Another good conversation we had recently was about the lunar eclipse. We were talking about why it was happening, and there was this moment when we explained that the earth is round and the other side was in daylight while we were in darkness, and you had a little “aha!” moment. Like, “I thought the world is flat, and now you’re telling me it’s round?!”
For whatever reason, these days you only want to go to the playground. Every morning, I ask you what you want to do, suggesting the Art Museum or the Children’s Museum, and you’re just like, nope! I wanna go to the playground!
Your memory continues to amaze me. The other day, Val was wearing a Metro sweatshirt, and you said, “that little thing is on Mommy’s school card.” The roadrunner. Yeah. If you had held me up at gunpoint and demanded what my school’s mascot was (total plausible situation), I could not have told you. Today, when I was cleaning, you set aside a pile for Ashlee, correctly remembering the two swimsuits, dress, and pair of shoes she lent me last Spring. Yeah. I know. It’s kind of creepy how much you remember.
This week at story time, you answered all of the rhetorical questions posed by the novice librarian with such boldness that I refused to hold you back. Not only was it funny, but you were so eager and engaged! You sat on the edge of your seat, your whole face lighting up or showing concern with each turn of the page.
Lily, you light up my life. I am so thankful for you. It’s hard to believe that you’re three and a half!
All my love,
PS I almost forgot to tell you! You remember being inside my belly! Ok. I know you probably don’t believe me, but one morning, you told me all about being in my belly, including details about being able to hear my heart go “boom, boom, boom,” my bones go “er, er, er,” that is was dark but a little bit red, there was a rope (!), and it felt like being in a bathtub. So yeah. Either you are gathering a bunch of little details you’ve overheard here and there, or you really do remember, and so I’m going to go with the latter, because that’s pretty magical.