In my first blogging days, I spent a lot of time ruminating on my newish motherhood. Son was about a year old when I started the first blog, and my being so enamored with him and writing about him a lot immediately put me in the ‘mommyblog’ category. I didn’t have a problem with it then, and I still don’t, but I’m so much more than that. As such, I haven’t written nearly as much about Daughter as I once did about Son, and I realize that it shouldn’t be about how I’m perceived on the web by the content I produce, but that I write to preserve the memories. I need to do so for my own mind, because it’s not the steel trap I once fancied it to be, and now I’m afraid I’ve forgotten so much before having a chance to record it down.
Daughter is now 19 months old. She’s talking a smidge. She says Mama with perfect clarity, sometimes, however, confused with Nana, which is what we call her babysitter. She says ‘ba’ for bottle, which I’m still wishing I could wean her from more quickly, but she’s having none of it. She’s down to 3 bottles a day, her morning one, naptime, and nighttime bottles. When she’s done with her morning bottle, which she drinks cuddled up in her boppy pillow on my bed under a soft blanket, she’ll reach out her arm awkwardly to hand it to me without lifting so much as a hair on her head to look up. I just hear a muffled but insistent, “Mama” until I take the proffered bottle.
She snuggles into me when I pick her up, wrapping her legs around my middle as far as she can get them, laying her little head on my shoulder, and each hand patting my arms as I squeeze her for all she’s worth and drink in the smell of her hair.
Her hair hangs into her face, and I refuse to cut it. I won’t do bangs maintenance very well, and so I’ve decided that if we can get through the first bit of growing out, then she won’t have bangs and I’ll get her hair cut once it’s long enough to be even all over. It’s not long enough to shape yet, and while I try to pin it back with barrettes or pony tails or pigtails so she can simply see, she will also have none of that. As soon as we get in the car for the morning ride to the babysitters, whatever pinning back device I’ve used is out and offered to me from her chubby hand in the backseat.
She dances when she eats. Much of the time, she likes to eat at the dining room table, if she’s not there by herself. However, her high chair is not good enough. She has to have a booster seat (though it still makes me a wee bit nervous, so we use a more stable Bumbo chair that holds her steadier than a standard booster seat) and be right up to the table like the rest of us. Every time she throws a fit until she’s put at our same table, I can’t help but think, “Nobody puts Baby in a corner.” The high chair has been relegated once again to basement storage for either listing on Craigslist or handed to my sister when she decides to have a baby. However, if we’re just having a sandwich or something in front of the TV, she eats better if she can have a plate to flit back to between bouts of playing. I’ve learned from Son not to fret too much over food. They eat when they’re hungry, and so what if it’s in a bite here and there over an hour or an entirely clean plate at the table in half an hour? Eating is eating. But the dancing. Every time she has a chip or a Froot Loop or a cracker, she weaves back and forth a la Davey Jones/Axl Rose swaying and shimmying. But she’s cuter. Sorry, Axl, but she is. Whether she’s perched on your hip or standing next to you, anything munchy and yummy sets her body in motion and you can’t help but wiggle along with her.
She also dances to the TV music. A commercial with a catchy tune, the music channels from the satellite, or the closing credits of a movie, they’ll all catch her fancy and before long, we’re all clapping and egging her on. Once, she stood on the dining room table at her great-grandmother’s house and did a jig complete with stomping feet and straight-backed poise. Maybe she’ll grow up to be a clogger girl. Sometimes the dancing devolves into simply spinning to make herself dizzy. This would be unremarkable except for her eyes. She holds them to the corner of her periphery, and it’s so damn cute, like she’s spotting her spins like a dancer or ice skater. I’ve tried her way, though, and it makes you dizzier. It’s funnier. It makes her laugh out loud, and anyone who sees her spinning with her funny, off-kilter eyes can’t help but laugh with her.
She’s the happiest baby I’ve ever encountered. She rarely cries, unless she’s been hurt. She’s fearless, which has caused me a few heart palpitations as we’ve learned to climb stairs together, learned to jump/crawl/flop on the furniture. Lately, her Terrible Twos are showing, but she’s a total girl in that when she flops down to the floor to throw her hissy fit, she does so gingerly enough as to keep from bonking her head on the linoleum. It doesn’t stop her from throwing the fit, and last weekend, she flopped onto the ground at our campsite only to realize she was lying in dirt and leaves and she instantly became more offended by that than by whatever had sent her into a fit in the first place.
I have been so lucky with the gifts of my children, both of whom are distinctive and sweet, happy and loving, and different from each other in many ways, and yet still my children. My son is the more headstrong of the two, and my daughter is the happier, more adventurous one. I can’t wait to see what else lies ahead. I don’t care what it is, as long as they’re with me, and we can experience it together. I’m fuller for having them in my life.
Mother of the Year here, for having my son drinking from a coolie cup that says, “I got my crabs from Dirty Dicks,” a restaurant on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Yeah. That’s how I roll.