My Dearest Alice,
As I type this you are lying on the floor next to me eating your bottle. Ok, you are playing with it and waving at me and kicking your feet and making all sorts of chatting noises. It’s adorable. You are adorable.
And you’re almost one. Just one month shy of being a whole year old.
I told Eddie that in only one month you would be one year old, and that I couldn’t decide if I was sad or excited. He said, “MOM! It’s EXCITING! Getting older and bigger is so fun! She will get to do new things and learn and grow…oh and eat CHEESE!”
I replied, “But we will be all done with little babies. No more babies in our family. That is a little sad, right?”
“Yeah,” he said thoughtfully, “it is a little sad. I love little babies. But Alice is so fun. And it’s just super exciting to grow up.”
Eddie knows what he’s talking about, Alice. (Remember that. Eddie is a good guy for talking to when you need to talk something out.) I miss your fuzzy baby head, it’s true. But my goodness! There has been nothing more wonderful than watching you learn and grow each day.
Let’s see…so you are standing next to ALL THE THINGS and you like to push that little activity table in the photo above. You get SO! EXCITED! about pushing it that you sit and just laugh and laugh once you get it across the room. You have started pulling to standing next to me and daddy and then letting go to balance on your own. The problem is, you fall when you start laughing at how AWESOME! YOU! ARE! I keep asking you if you think you are going to walk at your birthday party. Of course you just giggle. Stinker.
Your crawling has gotten so ridiculously fast that you are starting to scuff the knees of your leggings, jammies, and pants, and your little knees turn red if you’re just in a diaper or onsie.
You wave and scrunch your nose when you smile and clap hands and attempt to give high-fives. You love everyone and rarely fuss. You cuddle when you’re tired. You crawl around saying, “mum mum mum mum” or “da da da da” until you find one of us. And you laugh out loud when you see Eddie or Charlie.
I am one of the last people to ever support gender stereotypes–you probably know this–I mean, you play with cars and trucks more than anything else because that is what we have and who cares? But you play with toys so much differently than your brothers do. You play…like a girl. I mean that in the most positive, factual way. Where the boys would sit and just smash toys together or throw all the things, it’s like you instinctively know the purpose of the fire truck is to roll on it’s wheels, so you push it back and forth in front of you. And that rattles are meant to be shook, so you shake it. The shape “cookies” go in the musical cookie jar, so you put them in, dump them out, put them in. No one showed you how; you just did it.
Recently it’s become clear that you understand the word “no”. Most things we tell you “no” about you listen! It’s amazing. You used to want to pull all my books down. We have told you “no” and now you don’t. At first I was relieved. This was how Eddie was too. But then you discovered the TV. You are not allowed to touch the TV. When you try, we tell you “no”. You shake your head at us and continue to touch the TV until we redirect you. Seconds later, you’re back by the TV shaking your head “no” and smiling and touching that dang screen. The lower right corner is filled with tiny finger prints. As you can see, your need to get to the TV has even taught you to CLIMB. This is something Charlie did at your age too. So now I am worried.
Eddie was (and still is) a rule follower. If we said “no” that was it. Charlie was (and still is…sigh) a rule ignorer. If we say “no” he either does it anyway or throws a fit. For awhile you were following Eddie’s path, but that TV has too much draw for you and just for that you are like Charlie. “No” is not an option when it comes to you and the TV.
You are still a very dainty eater. Not exactly picky, but definitely more choosy than your brothers ever where. You also don’t throw food everywhere like they did, although you have a tendency to blow raspberries when we feed you baby food when you determine that you have had enough. That’s gross, Alice. Your favorite foods are fruits (just like your brothers), but you will also eat sweet potatoes/yams, chicken, turkey, summer sausage, but not ham or beef. You also like a french fry here and there, but not tater tots or other potatoes. And you dig bread, but not corn muffins.
My favorite thing about you is how you make people smile. You have a smile that lights up your whole face and brings joy to everyone who sees you. Seeing that smile every morning sends me off into my day with light in my heart. Coming home to your face every day brings peace to my soul.
People want to be around you. They want to hold you and talk to you because you always smile. You always emit joy and laughter that is so pure, so innocent. You are a constant reminder of what true love and light looks like. While I know that you will not always be this happy, I hope that the delight you are able to bring to this world always radiates from you.
I hope that you always smile at everyone because your smile is a true gift from God. Just this morning in church, I watched as people reach out to touch your little hand, your place their hand on your back or head. You smile and give their soul what it needed.
The past eleven months have been something very new to me. It has been a long time since I could find a bit of joy in every single day, but I believe that it’s been possible over the past year because of you.
While each of my children has brought a different gift to my life, you have been a joy-filled balm that I didn’t even know I needed. It is truly an honor to be your Mum Mum, a privilege to be the arms you turn to when you need solace and love.
I love you, my beautiful daughter. Thank you for completing our family. Next month you will be one, but for now we will celebrate eleven months of wonder.