St. Patrick’s Day of 2008 was probably the first year ever that I couldn’t have cared less about a holiday that is good for nothing other than parades and partying. That year there was no time for parades or doing anything other than thinking about you. It was a cold rainy day and I spent the entire day hanging out with your brother and packing for the hospital. I was so excited knowing that I would get to see you and hold you in my arms the next day.
We packed the car up after Daddy got home, stopped and had dinner, then headed to Grandma’s where we spent the rest of the evening. Daddy, Grandma, and I stayed up way too late watching movies but it didn’t really matter because it wasn’t like I could sleep anyway. I could hardly sit still knowing what was headed our way.
Daddy and I got up super early to head to the hospital. Since my doctor was expecting you to be big, she was inducing labor 10 days before my due date. For me it couldn’t come fast enough. It seemed like forever before the nurses got me all hooked up and set things in motion.
Finally, at 2:22 p.m., on March 18, 2008 you were born after only a few short pushes. You gave us a little scare when you didn’t take that first breath and cry right away but I’m sure what seemed like an eternity to us was really only a few seconds. Shortly after that you were in my arms and I think that if the whole world had melted away at that moment I wouldn’t have even noticed.
From that moment on my life has been completely changed. Being the mother of two children is so much different than being the mother of only one. It makes life a lot more stressful, but the good times are so much better when we’re all together. Now that you’re getting a little bit older I can see the bond forming between you and your brother. I love watching you together. The two of you actually play together now. You steal his toys. He steals yours. He gets frustrated at you but then a few seconds later he’s talking to you and trying to make you laugh. The sound of you two laughing together? That is the absolute best sound ever. I don’t ever want to forget what that sounds like.
Speaking of sounds, you are talking up a storm these days. It seems like you have a new word every day, though your favorite is still “hi!”. Anytime someone walks into the room you tell them hi and sometimes string a name along with it. I’ve heard you say “hi kitty”, “hi dada”, “hi caitlin”, and “hi ack (zach)”. You say “uh-oh” when you drop something and “done” when you are finished eating. The last couple of days you’ve been trying to say “bye-bye” but it comes out sounding more like “bubba”.
We’ve been expecting you to take those first independent steps any day now. A couple of weeks ago you started walking all over the place with push toys, but you just aren’t quite ready to let go yet. Sometimes you’ll walk holding onto my hands, but most of the time you still prefer to drop to your knees and crawl. You have perfected the jello legs and drop right down when you have had enough of the walking.
Besides the walking, you have started climbing EVERYTHING. I have to be careful leaving you alone for too long or I’ll find you standing on top of toys, chairs, laundry baskets, or whatever else you manage to climb up on. I’m glad you’re getting more adventurous, but I’m terrified you are going to fall and get hurt. This morning when we made a quick stop at the grocery store for cupcakes (to replace the ones mommy lovingly made and your brother flipped upside down) I caught you standing up in the grocery cart seat and nearly had a heart attack. You can bet I’ll never forget to buckle the straps again!
You have graduated from eating baby food to eating real table foods. Unlike your brother, who would eat anything at this age, you are a rather picky eater. You love macaroni and cheese, spaghetti, carrots, applesauce, bologna, mandarin oranges, and McDonald’s cheeseburgers. You still love the Gerber ravioli so I keep a few around for nights when we have something that is difficult for you to eat. You also have a major sweet tooth! I’m pretty sure that explains all the cravings I had when I was pregnant.
Over the last month we have gradually decreased the amount that you are breastfeeding. Just in the last week we have cut down to about once a day. You drink whole milk most of the day and have gotten much better at taking a bottle from me. You still get mad when I try to put your milk in a sippy cup, although you will drink juice or water from a cup just fine. Although I have pushed just a little more to wean you this week, I’m still trying to let you do it on your own. If you want to nurse I let you, but even I can tell that you aren’t getting much milk anymore. I’m sure that our nursing days are numbered. While it makes me a little sad that we won’t have that special time together anymore, I am looking forward to having my body to myself again and I’m sure you will enjoy becoming a little more independent.
A couple weeks ago I decided it was time to buy you a little potty seat of your own so that we could introduce the concept and you could get comfortable with it. I had no intention of actually trying to get you to use it yet, but you loved it and wanted to sit on it. Just for fun I put you on it during a diaper change and to my surprise you actually peed in the potty. I was sure it was a fluke, but still sat you on there now and then (both with and without clothes). You’ve gone in the potty three times now. I know you are nowhere near being ready to potty train, but it is still very exciting every time.
You have become very lovey lately and give out hugs and kisses whenever you can. Your hugs are sweet as can be, but the kisses can be a little painful sometimes. When you dive in for a kiss it is usually with your mouth wide open. It’s pretty much a 50/50 chance whether you will bite down or close the teeth and give a sweet kiss. I haven’t yet figured out what to do about that because I would like to scold you for biting, yet I don’t want you to stop the kisses. For now I’m just enjoying the kisses and hoping you outgrow the biting soon.
Tonight we took you out to dinner to celebrate your birthday, then came home to have some cake. While we were out, so many people stopped to look at you. They talked to you, smiled at you, and commented about just how cute you were. The same thing happened at the grocery store this morning, at a restaurant last weekend, and nearly every other place that we’ve been lately. You really seem to draw people in and I imagine you will always have many friends around you because of this. You seem to have gotten your daddy’s magnetic personality.
I complain a lot about just how fast the time is going by and how fast you are growing up, but the truth is I love watching each new accomplishment. I love the look on your face when you figure out how to do something for the first time. I celebrate with you as you make each tiny stride toward independence. I beam with pride when anyone compliments you. As my favorite Darius Rucker song says, “It won’t be like this for long” so I’m trying to soak up every moment. Before long you’ll be going off to college, getting married, and maybe even having kids of your own. Only when you hold your own child in your arms will you have any idea how immense the love is that I have for you. I hope that I’m there to celebrate all those moments with you.
Happy Birthday big girl! I love you SO much!