A letter to my daughter~
Abby, I can honestly say that a year and a half ago I had no idea how much you’d change our life. You are the sweetest, silliest, happiest peanut I’ve ever met. Yes, I’m biased and that’s ok! You’re mine and I will tell you that every day, forever and ever. Looking back you’ve changed so much and though I’ve got each “first” intricately documented and dated, there’s lots I’ve missed writing down. Like, when you were a few weeks old you hated bath time. I gave you baths in the sink for a long long time because it was easier than bending over the tub. When I thought you hated them because you were cold I started microwaving your towel. Which led to a towel, on fire, in the kitchen! Now, when you see the water running, you run for your bedroom, bonk into the chair and stomp your little feet squealing to be undressed. Then, once you’re free of your clothes you run through the whole house laughing with your little elbows swishing back and forth to keep your balance. When Daddy asks if you’ve escaped you laugh and laugh and run into the bathroom to get into the tub.
We swaddled you long past the suggested cutoff time but you were happy and slept well, so why mess with what works? You slept all bundled up like a little baby until you were 7 months old and you know what, you taught me something important in that moment. You taught me that it’s ok to do things at your own pace….you’ll grow out of it eventually. It’s one of my biggest pieces of advice for new parents. I suggest they ask “will this be an issue when my son or daughter is 20 years old”? If the answer is no (like needing to be swaddled to sleep, needing a bottle at night, or loving a paci), then what the heck? They are only babies for a short while, let them be babies!!
When you were just about a year old and learning how to walk you HATED shoes. You’d cry at the very site of them and screamed your head off until we took them away. Even if they were just sitting on the floor you’d run in the other direction. It was my fault, I think shoes for newborns are silly….where are you going to walk? But shoes for walkers, those are a necessity! It took about a month of you crying and us coaxing to get you used to them but now you get excited when you see your shoes out and laugh when we smoosh them onto your feet. You look up at us and say “shoe-shoe?” asking if we are going somewhere.
When you were about 14 months old you decided that you were done eating from a spoon that Mom was holding. In fact, you were done with anything that looked like baby food (except your squeezy pouches which you still love and demand whenever you catch sight of one). We went through a really picky month where you hardly ate anything and I was worried. But you know what? Just a few short months later you’re eating anything and everything. Last night you stuffed some much broccoli and meat into your mouth that I took away your fork so you could concentrate on chewing. You always ask for “gookies” which the babysitter gives you too often, but I’ve convinced you that crackers are cookies too and you’re fine with that. You’ll eat just about anything now and that makes me one happy Momma!! Oh, and you love it when I share my snacks with you. You’ve really made me cut back on the Oreos because I’ve got to be a good example (sometimes you catch me sneaking a cookie in the bathroom).
We went through a tough time where you stopped sleeping through the night and woke up wanting a bottle at 3 am nearly every night. We got into a bad habit and I worried how we’d ever get through it, but you know what? One night you slept through the night, and then the next night and the next. Now you’re back to your 13 hours of sleep a night plus naps.
I’ve been trying to teach you to say “love you” for about a month now to no avail. When I say “say, Love you Momma”, you just look at me and say “Momma” and that’s close enough. In the last week you started to understand when I say “can I have a kiss?” and you run back to me with your little toothy mouth wide open. You’ll stop running wherever you were going, turn around and with your mouth wide, give me a big slobbery kiss. It’s the kind of kiss only a mother can love because it’s filled with more slobber than anyone finds cute…but I can’t stop asking for them!
And the stripping! Boy do you hate your pants and socks, much to your fathers chagrin. It takes you all of about 3 seconds to get your pants off and your socks (one or both) strewn across the house. I’ve taken to letting you go without pants as long as you leave your diaper on. Once you start taking that off, it’s into zippered jam-jams for you. But, just like all of the other phases, I know this too is short lived and to just embrace it for now.
I’ll never forget when a girlfriend of mine told me “as soon as you get over the ‘thing’ that’s making you crazy, there’s a whole new ‘thing’ right behind it”. So, in those moments where I worried that you’d be a picky eater or that you’d be a hippy and never wear shoes, I remember those simple words and remind myself that “this too shall pass”.
We’re in this journey together and I’m learning just like you are. But, I can tell you one thing for certain. I wouldn’t trade one of these tough moments to go back to my life before you. I’m a better person because of you and my capacity to love has grown tenfold since the day you arrived. I’ve become more patient and more accepting since you came into my life. I’m able to embrace change in a way that I never could and more than anything, I’ve learned to love each and every single moment (yes, even the tough ones) because those little moments in time are gone all too quickly. We think we’re the parents and that we’re the ones teaching you….but we’ve got it mixed up. You’re teaching US how to better versions of ourselves.
I love you, little one. I love you with all of my heart.