Sunday, March 12, 2006

I'm in love

I have a new crush. Well, not a *new* crush, because I've already loved this person for a handful of years. But lately it's kicked up a notch. I'm not sure why, probably a combination of events and timing, but I'm totally in love with my youngest daughter.

When I wake up, I can't wait for her to wake up too because I know from painful trial-and-error that this is the only time of day that I might, just might, get a couple minutes of good snuggles from her. The rest of the time she is just too busy and ornery to bother much with physical affection. If I'm lucky she won't wake up until after Daddy goes to work, because if he's here then he usually gets those coveted sleepy morning snuggles.

It has a lot to do with how fast she's growing up, and my older kids too. Lilly at 4-and-a-half is almost all Big Girl, but every now and then I see a glimpse of the baby in her still. I'm pretty sure she's going to be our last baby, so that also makes me want to really cherish those last little baby-isms of hers even more. She still has the slightly chubby hands of a toddler, with dimples on the backs. Her skin is so soft and white it's almost translucent. Her hair is just now really starting to grow out, and she still has some of that baby fuzz on the back of her head.

In a lot of ways she's in a difficult stage right now. She is fiercely independent and wants to do every single little thing by herself. Not being an incredibly patient parent, this tends to drive me nuts, especially when I'm in a hurry or anxious to get moving. She has to put her coat on. She has to zip it. She has to open the door, has to be the first one out, has to open the car door, has to buckle herself, has to do everything HERSELF. But...but. I can steal my moments of mommy-ness, and I do. She lets me pick her up or at the very least hold her chubby sweet hand while she gets out of the car. If it's cold or windy she'll "let" me carry her into the store, so I take my time walking across the parking lot with my big baby snuggled up to my shoulder. It doesn't matter that her feet hang down to my knees now, her breath on my neck feels just like it did when she was a 6 pound bundle in my arms.

Sometimes when she's watching tv I can sit by her on the couch and put my arm around her, and it might take her a few minutes to notice and skootch away. Sometimes she falls asleep in our bed, or comes in during the night, and then I can lay by her and hold her hand and listen to her breathe and remember when she was a newborn and the time I held her for 24 hours straight.

It's hard to believe that before I know it she'll be big like her sister, getting ready to start high school and busy with friends and activities all the time. There's not going to be a time again where she'll want me to watch (Watch, Mom! Watch!!) everything she does. Somewhere in the busy-ness of raising the boys and this precious baby girl I lost the closeness I once had with Brittany, and while I'm trying to fix that with Britt I'm also trying to hold onto it with Lilly for as long as I can.

Plus, every single thing she does is so stinkin' cute! She dances and draws and paints. She loves Ed, Edd and Eddy (a cartoon I can't stand that's on Cartoon Network). She dotes on her pets and loves to snuggle up on the couch with a blankie and the dog on her lap. She plays Strawberry Shortcake and Nick Jr. games on the computer, and still loves the Teletubbies. She begs to go to Starbucks for Vanilla Milk, and often she'll want to watch a u2 concert dvd rather than cartoons (her favorite u2 songs are Elevation and Vertigo, and she regularly asks me to invite Bono over for tea).

Her favorite shoes are her pink Crocs which she calls her "Crockets", and she's obsessive about brushing her teeth 3 times a day. She loves to take baths and pretend she's a mermaid, and while she's in there she repeatedly demands everyone in the family come and watch her. She likes to call her dad at work ("Can I talk to Laurie please?" she says when she calls, she says Larry like Laurie) and tell him to bring her home a "white kitty cat" which is her name for a white chocolate kit kat bar. Heaven help us all if Daddy forgets the white kitty cat. She loves to go to the library and get 4 books and 4 movies (because she's 4 years old, you know!)and a drink of water at the drinking fountain that she's tall enough to work all by herself.

Sometimes when she disobeys me and asks "Why? why? why?" as 4 year olds tend to do, I'll answer by saying "You just have to, because I'm the mama and you're the little girl." Last time she said "Fine. But next time, when I'm the mama and you're the little girl, then you have to do what I say". Sounds like a deal to me!
She tells stories that start with "lasterday" and "yesternight", and this afternoon she put her socks on her hands and called them "sock puckets" and they were named Lilly and Merrily. Speaking of merrily, she sings Row Your Boat like this:

Row, row, row your boat
gently down the string
merrily, merrily, merilly, merilly,
once upon a dream

Her brother Barrett is her favorite person in the world right now, and she wants to marry him when she grows up so she can live with him forever. He taught her to write the dog's name, Coco, last week, and she is so proud! She has to be coached "half circle, now circle, now half circle, now circle" by Barrett, but she can write it. The rest of the time when she writes she makes a lot of little scribbles that look like letters but aren't really, and then asks me what it says. I always stumble here, not knowing what to say. Do I just make something up? Do I tell her I can't read it? I've tried asking her what it says but she gives gives me a look and says "I don't know, I can't read!". Last time she told me that, though, she followed it up by saying "I CAN read, I just don't know what it says when I read it". Who could argue with logic like that?

For all those reasons and so many more, I'm in love with my baby daughter. She knows, because I've told her a hundred times, she'll always be my baby.


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