A Year and a Half

My dear Alice,

This week was so very busy with Eddie and me starting school and getting Charlie ready to start next week. Cub scouts started up again for Eddie as did bowling for daddy. Things were so, so crazy. But I didn’t forget you. I didn’t forget your milestone this week.

Tuesday you turned 18 months.  A year and a half. More toddler than baby now.

You are the absolute sunshine of my soul, my love. Your personality is really starting to develop while you find your place in this crazy family of ours. You are SO expressive! Both your laugh and your cry are LOUD, but you can also do the cutest little soft whispery voice.

You are a lady of few words, but can say “Mama,” “Dada,” “please” (peez), “thank you” (thack uuuu), “shoes,” “juice” (which sounds exactly like”shoes” but we know what you want because you are standing next to the fridge when you say it), “no,” “yes,” “uh uh” (for no), and “bop” (for your pacifier).

You shrug your shoulders if we ask you a question, which is especially funny because you do it even when you know the answer. You put your hands out when you want something. For instance if you see I have my phone you will put your little hands together. Sometimes you will even add “pees” and tilt your head to the side because you know I am weak for your cuteness.

You love baths, but hate water in your eyes. You love the beach, but hate the sand. You love to be outside, but do not enjoy grass in your toes.

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You love to be busy and helpful. When daddy makes a meal, you want your apron on too! When we pick up toys, you are quick to help. When I wipe you up after a meal, you want to wipe too. You put your dirty clothes in your basket every night, throw things away that you find on the floor (usually crumbs and bits of things your brothers have left behind), and you bring people their shoes. You know where things go and do not like then to be out of order. Just like your Mama.

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When your brothers were little (and even now to some degree, especially Charlie), they shadowed daddy all the time. Wanting to help fix things and wear a hat. Charlie still helps daddy mow the lawn and put things together. But you are my little shadow. Watching how you comb your hair, or play with the old makeup brush I gave you, or even wear my slippers around the house is like holding up a mirror to myself.

When I scold your brothers, you stand next to me with your little hands clasped behind your back like you are my wing woman. When I am in the bathroom doing my hair and makeup, you stand on the other side of the gate demanding a comb and makeup brushes and jewelry too.

You carry your baby the way I carry you. You give her kisses and giggle the way I kiss you until you giggle.

You throw all your things in your little purse, put it over your arm, and wave bye bye the way I do each morning before heading to work.

And while you’ve been doing this awhile, it still surprises and delights me everyday. After momming two little boys, having a little girl who wants to do what I do is lovely every day. It’s also a giant responsibility. I think more of the words and tone I use. About the way I talk about myself. Of course I think of these things with the boys too, but raising a girl who already wants to be just like me…well, it makes me think of what I hope for you and how I can model that in my own life for you to see.

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You are cute. You are the littlest. You are the only girl. And let’s face it, you may be a bit spoiled. You are used to getting your way. So when the answer is “no”? It doesn’t go over well.

The lip comes out, the brows furrow, and sometimes there are even tears. You will cross your arms over your chest, and at times you will stop your little feet. Daddy and I don’t give in, but sometimes your brothers do. They love you and think you are just the best thing. Eddie even calls you “Sweetie” more than he calls you “Alice.”

Charlie almost exclusively calls you “Beans” or “Beansy”. Both both refer to you as “Beansy Girl” when they are calling for you. I guess your nickname of “Alice Beans” has stuck.

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You love girly things in a way that actually surprised me. We have lots of “boy-type toys” in this house. Eddie would play with whatever when he was little, loving both dolls and trucks, the play kitchen and blocks. Charlie is a poster child for the boy stereotype with his obsession over dinosaurs, blocks, and trucks. You are my little girl stereotype. You have access to any toy, and over and over you gravitate toward the pink things: dolls, strollers, purses, tea set.

But that doesn’t mean you leave your brothers and their toys alone. Oh no.

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You have mastered the art of “Little Sistering”. If Eddie has his DS out, you need to sit and watch…which means you will eventually put your feet on him, touch the screen, and annoy him until he puts it down and play with you or he gets mad and leaves you.

If Charlie is building something with mega blocks, you have the notion that it is your job…your duty, even…to knock those creations down. Because clearly Charlie can’t be having fun if you aren’t there to destroy what he as built so he can start all over again. I think you think you are doing him a service.

They love you so much, Alice. You will find that Eddie is your confidant. He will listen to you and be by your side always. He will try to cheer you up and be there when you need a hug.  Charlie will be your defending. Not that you won’t be able to fight your own battles, but Charlie will have your back. He will be prepared to jump in whenever you need him. You have the two best big brothers a girl could ask for. You will always be loved, heard, and protected when you need it.

My sweet Alice…having you as my daughter is one of the biggest honors I have ever been given. You are my joy. I just love watching you grow and learn and be your biggest cheerleader.

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So my beautiful blue-eyed girl, never stop staring down new things. Don’t let the world tell you that you can’t be serious and that you have to smile all the time. But don’t be afraid to laugh and cry and stay expressive because it’s what makes you so very lovely.

I love you more than words could ever express.

Momma

Every Little Thing She Does is Magic

Dear Alice,

You are seventeen days old today, just over two weeks. Looking back that seems both fast and slow. I can’t believe two weeks has already gone by, yet it seems like you’ve just always been part of the family. Cliche, I know, but I really can’t help it.

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Even though I’ve had two babies before you, it’s somehow all new this time around. For one, you are tiny. Daddy calls you his “dainty girl.” Your birth weight was 8 lbs, 5 oz–our smallest baby. After your first pediatrician appointment at 5 days old, you were down to 7 lbs, 10oz.  We have never ever had such a small baby! In fact, you are still wearing newborn sized clothes, where your brothers grew out of that size within the first couple days of life. In fact, Eddie never fit in newborn! He went straight to 0-3 month clothes–which look like potato sacks on you!

I’m finding your temperament is somewhere between Eddie and Charlie’s. Eddie was colicky. You are SO not like that, but Charlie was the most laid back baby in the world. You’re not quite that easy. For instance, middle of the night feedings with Eddie meant spending the night on the couch with him, but with Charlie it meant 15 minutes out of bed, tops. You take your time eating, but you aren’t fussy about it. You like to take breaks, act like you’re sleeping, then get fired up to finish the bottle.

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You are also quite the cuddle bug. You remind me of Charlie in this way. You love to be tucked up under daddy or my chin in a little baby ball of snuggle.

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I’ll admit, during your entire pregnancy I held back in reservation about having a little girl. I told myself it didn’t matter if we bought “girly” things or not since as a baby, you didn’t care. We didn’t change the nursery theme (still jungle theme just like your brothers had) and I didn’t go on any buying sprees. People very generously passed on clothes and things that their little girls no longer fit into, but there wasn’t a connection to them like I made with little man clothes. And besides, babies are babies, right?

Well, yes. Logically and rationally this is true.

But once you got here, everything in my heart changed.  Or it rearranged…or it woke up. Something happened in there.

I really don’t think I fully believed you’d be a girl.

taken by our great friend, Trisha

taken by our great friend, Trisha

At your ultrasound when we found out, I laughed so hard that tears formed. I remember thanking God for such a fun surprise, but something in me didn’t completely accept it.  When they took you from my body and announced, “Yup, she’s a girl! She’s Alice!” Again I laughed. Right there on the operating table. You are REAL. A real girl. A daughter. My daughter. My Alice.

When I was pregnant with Charlie, I couldn’t imagine being able to love him as much as I loved Eddie. Yet my heart grew and surprised me with how I totally could love them with equal ferocity.  While pregnant with you, I couldn’t imagine how to love a daughter the way I love my sons. The feeling was valid because I don’t love you the way I love your brothers. I love you differently because you are my daughter and not my son.

I can’t put words to how it’s different; only my heart understands that concept.  I don’t love you more or less, just differently, but with the same passion and fire as I love your big brothers.

Everything that I have been afraid of in terms of having a daughter has faded to the back of my mind. In it’s place I see all the potential joy and good in having a daughter in my life. I have become acutely aware of my relationship with Grandma, and how I call her or email her at least once a week and how I want to share with her all the cute gifts you’ve gotten. How I was so happy to see her after each of the times I had a baby.

That will hopefully be us. We are starting that relationship right now with each snuggle and middle of the night feeding.

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You are magical, Alice.

From each snort and sigh, the way you “face pet” your soft bunny and the way your little legs go straight up when you eat, you make me so happy to be your mommy.

You make our family so happy.

Your brothers fuss over you and your daddy melts when you turn your face in towards his neck.

Our love for you goes on…

Love,
Momma

*************

Don’t forget Alice’s first giveaway ends tonight at midnight! Enter to win a Cloud B Glow Cuddles Bear!

Also don’t forget about the March Book Shower to celebrate March being reading month, Alice’s birth, Charlie’s 3rd birthday, and my upcoming 37th birthday on Friday!

The FINAL Final Countdown

This weekend I passed the 36-week mark in my last pregnancy.  We took my final pregnancy “week” photo…ever.

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Like I said before, pregnancy is hard for me. Oh, there are people for whom it is much, MUCH harder, I know. But it is still not my favorite state of being.

But this is not about that.

This is about the fact that in less than three weeks I will be done with child-bearing. People ask, “are you SURE you don’t want more kids?”

No. I am not sure. But I am POSITIVE that I don’t want anymore of them to grow in my body. And my body most definitely agrees with me. I have officially been in the phase of “child-bearing” for seven years. I’ve had five pregnancies, two babies, and God-willing one more in a few weeks. It is enough.

Even though I am more than ready to be done being pregnant forever, of course there is still the little twinge in my heart with those words “last” and “final”. I’m very aware every time she rolls or kicks that these are the last baby movements my body will feel. It’s the last time I will share my body.

I can honestly say that it has been a miracle and an honor to share my body with all three of my children–to use myself to grow them and feed them and love them. And at the exact same time, it has been a rough ride. It’s an odd thing to hold such contradictory feelings at the same exact time.

Being a parent does that to you though. I know it’s happened before having children, but all feelings and emotions are magnified when you bring small humans into the world. The line between love and loathing becomes extremely blurred. I love and loathe this thing called pregnancy. I have never loved anyone so hard as I have loved my children (and my husband since we’ve had children). I have also never felt such exasperation, defeat, guilt, and rage than I have since having children.

I have never wanted to quit as much as I have being a mother.

I have also never wanted to fight for someone else or myself as much as I have being a mother.

I have never laughed or cried as hard as I have since my kids came into this world.

I have never appreciated and hated the small things in this world…like a small hand in mine or crumbs in my favorite chair…so much as I have since children moved into this house.

My heart now knows what it feels like to be filled and broken at the same exact time.

Alice is scheduled to come into the world via Csection on the morning of Friday, March 6 thus ending my child-bearing years.

We are all excited, nervous, and ready and not ready at all.

Just as you would expect.

9months

The last “bump” pic from each baby.

 

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