Thursday, May 30, 2013
Monday, May 20, 2013
You are kind and funny, serious and brilliant. Your ability to forgive and skip along through tough days is both inspiring and bewildering to me. How can you be so serious and so happy at the same time? Your openness with emotions and willingness to feel, really feel your own sadness, exhaustion, and frustration is not only my biggest struggle with you, but also something that I deeply admire in you.
Wouldn't we all move on easier if we could just crumble into a puddle of tears every once in a while?
As I watch you grow, I am increasingly impressed by and proud of you. I enjoy you more than ever, with our morning cuddle sessions, reading chapter books together, or singing in the car. Well, okay, only I sing in the car. You know all the words to your favorite songs, but refuse to sing out loud. I know that you're bubbly and fun and loving and social . . . but that your default is reserved, shy, modest, and careful. I wish you knew how much I can relate--and how much I hope you never try to change or apologize for this part of yourself.
You are breathtakingly beautiful . . . and don't care a single bit. You'd prefer short, easy hair to the long, flowy hair you associate with princesses. You take pride in putting together the funkiest outfits without a concern over conformity or acceptance.
Please don't let anyone change this about you.
Amelia, this year is going to be one of the biggest years of your life. Why? Because you are going to learn to read. You will be able to flip through your stories alone, saying the words instead of making up your own with the pictures. You will be able to pick up a new book and transport yourself into another world with exciting friends and to amazing places . . . and feel unbelievable connection to the pages you flip. I know this will transform you to the core of your existence. You are flowing with the imagination and curiosity and drama and desire of a voracious reader and I am beside myself waiting for you to experience the magic first hand. I know we'll lose you forever after to your books, but that's okay. We'll have so much to talk about too. I can hardly wait to share reading with you.
My favorite moment at your birthday party yesterday was when I looked over at you, surrounded by the chaos of 15 kids and their parents at a splash pool, and you were sitting on the concrete, alone, quietly reading a book from your friend. Totally oblivious to the party, your party happening around you, studying the pages intently, quietly. It made me smile because it was so you. You love your friends and had a blast at your party, but would be choose a warm spot on the patio with a book any day. And you don't even read yet. You of course had that Wonder Woman book memorized by the time you got home. So you.
I love how carefully studious and observant you are. I hate it too. When we 'borrowed' a couple of the gift bags from your party for your birthday presents this morning, the first thing you said, "these bags are from my birthday party!" I didn't even know that you'd noticed the bags! But of course you did. Because the reality is, Amelia dear, that you notice everything. You've been able to give direction to your favorite places since you were 2. You memorize puzzle pieces and entire movie scenes. You always know where my keys are. Or when I try to hide something. And when it seems like maybe something gets by you, you've cataloged it, thinking it over, only to bring it up later. Sometimes I swear I can see you storing information, processing. It's scary and impressive and crazy, annoying and awesome too.
From two pacifist, animal-loving parents, it's totally perplexing how much you like to kill things. When I explained what it's like to go fishing, your dad and I told you that you can release the fish back into the lake or eat it. You chose the latter option. So that scenario backfired. For such a sensitive, sweet little love, you are completely fascinated by dead things--little creatures from the yard, or scary, bloody zombies. Maybe this is weird, but I kinda love your little dark side. I love that you love to be scared and are drawn to creepy things without fear. Of course, it's hilarious considering how fearful you tend to be otherwise.
I love that you're a mixed bag. So tough and strong physically and without a competitive bone in your body. How easily you get hurt, but how easily you forgive. I love that you cry from the tiniest scratch on a knee but take the doctor's shots without blinking, insisting on watching the needle. I adore how loving and cuddly you've become but how independent you are too. I love that you have a huge sweet tooth for dessert "gessert" but that fruit disappears from your plate first at every meal. I can't help but giggle when you use grown up words and sentiments with child-like innocence.
Nothing makes my heart sing more than watching you as a sister. I'm convinced that you are the best big sister ever a baby sister could have. I've caught you protecting her on the playground, holding her during the sad scene of the movie, and sharing your birthday presents. I love that the only thing that can end our morning snuggles is Annie waking up--because as soon as you hear her, you run to her room. Every. Single. Morning. I melt watching you introduce her to your school friends or random kids at the park. You're such a proud, loving sister. You use kind words with her, help her with your shoes, and give her hugs when she cries. I can't help but think that your baby sister Annie is so lucky to be guided by you. We should all be so lucky to have a big sister like you, Amelia.
You really are an awesome girl.
You are my all-time favorite little kid. You are my light, Bug. You are my greatest lesson. You are my heart and you are my soul. And when it finally hit me that you were turning 5, I slid to the floor of the shower and cried big, sobbing, ugly tears. I think we are closer than ever now that you are such a big girl and I think you've gotten more fantastic each year and I look so forward to the changes in store for you this year. . . I really do, baby. But you know what? It just hurts sometimes. I don't want you to stay little forever and I can't wait to watch you grow, but I will still miss the littler you.
Happy Birthday sweet angel. I love you so. . . even if it hurts sometimes.
Saturday, August 25, 2012
Amelia absolutely loved the gymnastics. Of course. I did too! We learned all about the girl gymnasts and called them by name. Just like the rest of the country, she was mesmerized by their talent.
“She’s AMAZING.” Amelia whispered watching Gabby Douglas vault.
It was a solid 10 minutes that she watched the first gymnastics heat before she was inspired. The next thing I know, she’d put a blanket on the floor and was using it as her own vault. She’d run across the living room, put her hands down on the blanket, and . . . throw herself on the floor.
I really shouldn’t even try to explain it.
Annie served the part as supportive sister, who’d clap when Amelia was done. Both hilarious and sweet. But not to be outdone, Annie wanted in on the action.
She has tricks too.
*Note: I started this right after Annie’s birthday and just now posting. Some of these things have changed and I’ve noted the updates below.
1. Though born into the 90th percentile for size, she is now in the 39th for weight (19 pounds, 1 ounce).
2. She is 29 inches long, ten inches longer than she was at birth. (43rd percentile)
3. She has a smile reserved just for mischief.
4. She is a smart ass, already trying to get others to laugh.
5. She hates milk of any kind, in any form, at any temperature, with any flavoring added. Except breast milk. UPDATE: She likes Vanilla Almond Milk! Slowly mixing it with regular milk.
6. She’s still nursing. :/ UPDATE: She’s totally weaned! No issues whatsoever! :D
7. Annie sleeps with a glow worm given to me by a student the semester I was pregnant.
8. She does not like being changed.
9. She pulled herself into the tub, going over the edge head first. When I found her, she was sitting in the there smiling the above smile.
10. She tries to climb on and get into everything. (note the smile)
11. She pulls on her hair when she’s tired.
12. When she’s pulling on her hair, she makes a distinct noise, “uhhhhhhhhhhhh.” She also makes this noise when she plays with anyone else’s hair. Pulling hair is the only time she makes this noise.
13. She says a few words, like hi, hey, Dada, and Mama. She also has a word for dog, naturally. When she says hi, it’s “Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiii” and “Heeeeyyyyyyyyyy”
14. She giggles when I make voices at story time.
15. When Annie gets excited, she squeals, gasps, and pants like a dog.
16. She loves to climb into her sister’s bed and to play in Amelia’s room.
17. She is starting to play with a fork and spoon at meal time, pretending to eat with them.
18. She loves spicy foods.
19. She doesn’t love making signs with her hands to communicate, but it’s usually pretty obvious what she wants.
20. She has a goofy grin that she flashes just to be silly.
21. She ditches her friends to get close to the camera. ha
22. She has the same expression as her sister when people sing “Happy Birthday to her”
23. When she’s tired, Annie puts her head on my shoulder and tucks her arms under her chest.
24. She loves to dance.
25. She has 8 teeth.
26. She loves, loves, loves blowing raspberries not just for fun but also in context when she dislikes something.
27. When she’s done eating, Annie very quietly holds her arm to her side and drops pieces of food to the floor. When you tell her to stop, she raises one eyebrow, smiles a tiny little grin . . . and drops it and starts giggling.
28. She is the fastest crawling baby I’ve ever seen.
29. She loves to be chased
30. She’s a good sleeper.
31. She is a trooper of troopers and can go longer past bedtime without melting down than . . . another little girl.
32. She hates shoes.
33. And refuses to have anything in her hair.
34. She walks.
35. Amelia is her favorite person and Annie squeals and laughs at everything Amelia does.
36. She cannot be trusted with goldfish because she’ll shovel ten in her mouth and try to keep them in her cheeks.
37. She mostly grunts and points when she wants to talk.
38. She runs, yelling “DADADADADA” when Justin gets home from work.
39. And only says “Mama” when she’s angry or upset, “MA-MMMAAAAAAAAAAA!”
40. Next to Amelia, Mollie and Luke are Annie’s favorites.
41. She sleeps either in fetal position or sprawled out on her back.
42. She has hardly any fear. And I’ve already caught her standing on chairs.
43. She does not love going to bed.
44. She thinks she’s totally charming.
45. Pancakes are her favorite.
46. She almost always insists on eating whatever is on my plate.
47. She is a complete smart-ass.
48. She’ll stop crying to giggle if you try to make her laugh.
49. She loves hugs and kisses.
50. She cries when we tell her No.
Friday, July 13, 2012
When Amelia was a baby, I kept my eye on her first birthday like a sprinter eyes the finish line. It was always in my sight, always my goal. Make it through the first year. Get to the finish line. Keep a steady pace. Don’t. Stop. Running. The summer after Amelia’s first birthday was like one long, triumphant victory lap. From there forward, every time I’d see a mom or parents with a baby, I’d think to myself, “Haha SUCKER! My kid’s ONE. I made it to the other side. Alive, dammit!” And I’d pity them with their drooly, sleepless monster.
And then on July 12, there was Annie.
And we began our love story.
That sounds silly or melodramatic I know. But only through Annie’s babyhood, did I begin to heal from Amelia’s. Annie slept 4 hours straight in the hospital and then for 9-hour blocks once we were home. She fell asleep willingly, easily. She nursed quickly, efficiently and smiled socially at 2 weeks. She cried in the arms of anyone else and settled happily with me—every single time. She’d nurse in bed with me in the pre-dawn hours and snuggle into my body and fall back asleep. For hours. She rolled over at two weeks (!!), sat up at 4.5 months, and took off on her hands and knees by 7 months. She took her first steps the day before her birthday. Everything on time. She turned away mashed and pureed baby foods in preference for adult food straight from Mama’s plate at 6 months. She stayed healthy and we only took her to the doctor ONE time for illness. She’s never taken medication, formula, or a special diet. Everything on time or ahead.
As a newborn, she’d cry every evening uncontrollably. I’d put her in my carrier and walk around the neighborhood with her on my chest. She’d be quiet by the time we got to the end of the driveway, watching the trees, and settling in to sleep by the end of the block. Yes, she cried, but it was predictable, and most shockingly for us, fixable too. Always fixable. Always knowing that I could soothe here was revelatory for me. After that newborn phase, she hardly cried ever and always because she was provoked and always fixable. I took her to Amelia’s gymnastics class every week from the time she was 10 weeks old and the other moms always remarked that they’d never heard her cry. She’d just sit in my lap, happy, laughing, playing. I never worried about taking her anywhere or being out past her nap or bed time because she didn't fall apart or meltdown. I could take her with me to coffee with a friend without sweating it a bit. She’d get tired and fall asleep in my arms, wake up, and smile contentedly in my lap until we left.
She only ever got up in the night once to nurse and then would sleep in. Even during the 3 am feeding, when I looked at her, she'd catch my eye and begin to smile and laugh, sending milk spraying and me scolding through a smile. She was just . . . happy. All of the time. Predictable and flexible, cuddly and loving. And with the best smile ever. Ever.
She can be relied upon for a solid 2 naps a day and when she wakes up, she sits in bed gabbing and laughing until someone goes in to get her. Everyone who spends an hour with her falls in love. They say things like “SO sweet,” “melt your heart,” “easiest baby!” And I always have to chuckle because they’re talking about my baby. When her first tooth came in (on her 7 month-day!), she had a couple restless nights. And that’s it. Very little fanfare and then there were teeth. If a stranger catches her eye, she waves and smiles, her whole face exploding in happy-ness until they have no choice but to melt into a reel of silly faces and noises.
Rather than an a victorious yet treacherous obstacle course finish line, her birthday just kind of . . . arrived. Much to me own ignorance and denial. I still think of her as my little, teeny baby, even as I see her toddling around me. Even when I catch her playing in the toilet or having climbed into the bathtub, or in the dishwasher, I still think of her as the easiest baby ever and my sweet little angel.
Just as my love for Amelia was fierce and protective, heavy and rebellious because of her painful problems, my love for Annie is sweet and giggly, soft and enamored because of her mellow normalness. It’s only been through Annie’s first year that I have managed to grieve and reconcile Amelia’s first year. It is literally through mothering her that I have recovered. Having Annie has made me understand why people love babies. Sucking on her cheeks and getting huge, sloppy kisses have made me inclined to the drooly, raspberry blowing baby-folk. And now that she’s one, I shall look at people with tiny babies and think, ‘damn. I wish I had one too.’
Happy birthday sweet angel baby. You have been the apple to my pie, milk to my cookies, the Annie to my Amelia . . .
and it is impossible for me to love you any more.
Sunday, May 20, 2012
Despite the fact that I can barely hold my eyes open for a minute, I have to mark the day. THE DAY. It’s the fourth anniversary of the day Amelia was born and the day I became a mom. Amelia’s fourth birthday. FOURTH BIRTHDAY! It’s kind of crazy really. Things have been so hectic that I haven’t had much chance to think about it much or figure out how I feel about my little baby girl being such a big kid. Since last Sunday alone, we’ve crammed about 6 months worth of illness, stress, work, and general busyness including but not limited to finishing up a rough semester AND leaving for a week long vacation the next day. Add sickness, birthday, and a nice root canal and you’ve got about half of the craziness of our week. Never mind the midnight pukefest the night before we left for vacation for Amelia, and um, the BABY that just adds to life’s insanity . . . but I digress.
Because it’s Amelia’s birthday! yay! My baby girl is just turning into such a big girl. In any case, it was a little unusual this year because we are actually out of town right now, on the real day. Even though she’s now 4 and in the height of birthday party appreciation, we figured a week at the beach is much better. Always.
It was a pretty big day. And even though we are away from home, we did our best to make it extra special.
Complete with cupcake liner streamers. In addition to cheery decorations, there were also some presents waiting . . .
Followed by a pancake breakfast, Annie’s nap, and then . . .
Beach Day! Amelia is a beach baby. That’s all there is to it. She’s been asking every second since an hour before we arrived to go to the beach and even on the shortest walks to the sand, she just kind of drifts . . . towards the water. It pulls her in. There is some kind of soulful connection she has with the ocean because she can’t stay away and it so clearly calls to her.
it was a fun afternoon ocean side. Amelia pretty much stayed in the water the whole time, save for a short lunch/sand-play break.
Annie loved the beach too. Sister Love. Heart.
Then we got ready for a pizza party with friends.
Complete with wings and ribbons.
Met our friends Megan, Molly, and Lola for pizza. Molly is Amelia’s dear friend and the two of them are quite the pair.
Nice photo bomb, Annie!
Speaking of Annie, she LOVES birthday parties.
After pizza, it was back to our beach house for cake!
What kind of cake, you ask?
Ice cream cone cupcakes! Too fun.
Amelia’s quiet, excited smile as we sang.
Hand puppet ROAR!
Busted! Annie eye-balling Amelia’s cupcake.
I’m so glad she was born. I am so glad she is exactly her. Because she is pretty amazing.
Happy Birthday Sweet Love. Thank you for making me a mama. Your mama. Because I’ve never loved a single thing more.