"The most wasted of all days is one without laughter." ~e e cummings

Thursday, February 21, 2013

the Dragon Lady has a Birthday

I read somewhere (fine, it was in Us Weekly) a quote from a new mom (fine, it was Drew Barrymore). She compared motherhood to having the worst crush ever. When you've been away and you're on your way back to be with your baby, your heart is fluttering and you can't get there fast enough. You're wondering, hoping, that she'll ask you to spend the night.

I totally get it.

I'm not apart from Molly much...I think I've gone to the grocery store without her...once...? But this girl's got a hold on me even when we're together. And that crush? I've got it bad.

Now that she's sleeping in her own bed, I'll go in to check on her before I go to sleep. Seeing her sleeping in her crib...so peaceful....so all alone....it takes everything I have to resist picking her up and snuggling her. I don't, because I, ultimately, want to sleep, too...But knowing that I won't see her until 4am (or later!) breaks my heart just a little bit.

When it is time for me to go and get her, she reaches both arms up to me and says, with a sigh of relief in her voice, "mah-ma!" As soon as I scoop her up, she lays her head on my shoulder and her face buries into the hollow of my neck. She holds onto my shirt in both of her little fists, and wraps her legs around me. She lets me bring her into our bed where she scoots up close to me and, if we're lucky, eventually falls back to sleep. It is this daily nightly ritual that I want never to end.

There's so much that I'm looking forward to in the weeks and months and years to come as she grows. I can't wait for her to start talking. I can't WAIT to see her run around with her brothers this summer. I am on the edge of my seat wanting to know if she'll be a total girly-girl princess or a rough-and-tumble tomboy or, probably, something in between. But that part of our day night when there's not a hair's breadth of space between us, and her sweet baby breath leaves a warm spot on my chest? Those days are shortly numbered. And I'm starting to miss her already.

But I won't get ahead of myself. And I won't be staring, wistfully, into the rear-view mirror of her first year too much. Right now, it's time to celebrate this girl. In this moment. My beautiful, bright-eyed, curly-haired, funny little One-Year-Old lovey.

I love how she kicks her legs when she's excited...whether it's when she sees her baby doll or that giant first birthday cake heading her way...

I love how she still sleeps in my arms. Her naps have been all over the place lately. She's transitioning out of needing a morning nap, but she often falls asleep during preschool drop-off which completely throws off her afternoon nap. So, when she won't let me put her down for a nap in her crib, I'll happily hold her and let her doze while she nurses. I love watching her sleep. And if Pop happens to be here at nap time, all he has to do is pick her up. She melts into him and just drifts off. They're napping buddies.

I love how she toddles over to me the minute the music, any music, starts. She raises her arms for me to pick her up and she perches on my hip while we sway in time. If I pause for a moment, she scoots in my arms until I start dancing again. I even love, though admittedly less so, when, while we're dancing, she spies Uncle Mike enter the room. She practically lunges out of my arms to him. They're dancing buddies.

I love how she's such a Little Mommy. 

She LOVES her buddies. She kisses them and takes them for rides around the living room. My favorite, though, is when she gives her baby a hug. She brings the baby up to her shoulder and rests her head on it. She squeezes the baby tight and kicks her little feet out with happiness. Then, she looks up to see who's watching her be such a sweet and adorable little mommy...because we all always are. 

We are a dedicated audience to this girl. The boys can't get enough of her because she can't get enough of them. She wants to be included in all of their games, even if that just means toddling after them as they race through the kitchen. But if she happens to grab a game piece and one of them tries to get it back? You'd better watch out. This petite little thing can summon her inner Dragon when she needs it. She straightens her arms and clenches her fists. She throws her head back and squirms up her face into a look of obstinate determination. She shrieks out a cry of defiance, and then immediately looks at you to see if you've given her her way. She's testing...and it's hilarious. 

And she's not only funny by accident these days. I love watching her sense of humor develop. She is playful. She is smart. And even she is not above potty humor.

She'll play a "joke," putting a sock in a train car, for example. She'll do it and smile to herself. Then she'll show me. I'll smile back and say, "That's silly!" She'll repeat the game a dozen times for herself, and then offer me a chance to play. I LOVE watching her play. I feel like I can see and hear what she's narrating in her own mind. This girl PLAYS with toys. I realized the other day that people who write baby toy reviews must have babies like Molly. If I were ever to have reviewed a toy after watching the boys "play," it would have read: "My baby loves this toy! It's really good for throwing/chewing on/disassembling/scattering all over the house." We have a ball drop toy that the boys never EVER used for anything other than ball-throwing and ring-hat-wearing...

(baby Max)

They loved it. Still do, actually. Max wore the pink "ear muffs" just this morning! I honestly didn't think my kids were ever going to play with it the way it was "meant" to be played with...so I didn't even bother modeling it for Molly. Instead, I put the rings on her arms like giant, squishy bracelets. She thought it was silly. Then we put the toy back together. She immediately dropped in a ball, danced to the music that the ball-dropping produced, and reached for the next ball. She played with that toy for a solid four or five minutes.

I love noticing how very different this baby girl is from her big brothers....and I love noticing the little similarities that they all share....those things that define them as siblings....as Family.

But most of all...I love how this little girl perfectly fills up that last little bit of my heart that was just waiting for her. She completes this Family, and together, we are Just Right.

Lesson Learned:
Happy First Birthday to my sweet, beautiful little Dragon Lady. You are so, so Loved and we are the lucky ones to call you Ours.

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