Wednesday, June 15, 2005

You're not a baby, not quite a toddler...

My darling little Adelyn, you are one year old today. I cannot believe how you've taken our lives by storm and turned our house upside down, but that shouldn't surprise me because upside down is your favorite position. When Daddy comes home from work, you are flinging yourself backwards in his arms almost before he has you in his grasp. Then you giggle wildly and do it again, completely oblivious to the peril you've put yourself in.

One year and nine months ago today, Mommy and Daddy went to a wedding and got really drunk, and then decided that we should go off and get snuggly in the back of the family sedan. We hadn't done that since high school. Luckily for us, you waited until after high school to actually show up.

Just weeks before that, we were at the Jersey shore and I went to see the psychic that my friends had spoken so highly of. She immediately told me that I had two children already, a boy and a girl, and then announced that I should wait a while before having a third.

"Why?" I stammered.

"Because it's hard," she said, gesturing to her own three children, sitting dutifully on the bench outside. "You'll end up like me."

So here I am, a gypsy in my own home, three children trailing wherever I go.

We were supposed to start the Great Big Home Addition in the Spring and I asked Vincent if maybe the psychic was right, and that we should wait before considering a third child. He was furious that I should take her opinion into account. She told me she saw a pretty new room, filled with flowery bedding. "Our addition is supposed to start!" I exclaimed, "and we're getting a new kitchen and master bedroom suite but I think we're keeping our bedroom comforter," I added dubiously. She only stared.

Of course, you came, and since one addition was enough, we did some preliminary work and put a new bedroom in for you, complete with floral curtains and bedding. I'm still cooking on a range older than I am.

When I first found out I was pregnant, I cried and cried and cried. I didn't get out of bed for two days. Later, when my Quad Screen came back as being potentially at risk for Trisomy 18, I cried and cried and cried and didn't get out of bed for a week. I was convinced that this was what the psychic meant when she told me to wait. I prayed that you would be well and spent hours scouring the internet for websites that could tell me more, tell me you'd be OK. I still visit them, haunted by what might have been.

I am so very grateful for the gift of learning just how much I loved you while you were still inside of me, and even more so that you are healthy and well and here with us today.

You were such a sweet baby. We were going to call you "Addie" - actually, we couldn't decide between Adelyn or Adelaide or Adeline, and had to make flashcards in the hospital just before they kicked us out. Riley and Bella settled on "Baby Adelyn" and wouldn't let us call you anything else, and so you've been "Baby Adelyn" ever since. I think you'll hate us for it by prom night, at least.

You loved to be held - so much so that we slept together every night, you lying on my chest, for months. Actually, it turns out that you had reflux and would only sleep sitting up until we gave you baby Zantac. Every morning I still bring you into bed with me, and we snuggle and you nurse and you spoon your little body up against mine. You're becoming restless these days, rolling around on the bed, almost rolling off before I catch you by the ankles, laughing, always laughing you are. I already miss the days when we'd both drift back to sleep in each other's arms. I know that it won't be long before you are too excited to start the day to pause in my bed in the morning, so I cherish every moment.

As Riley and Bella awaken, you greet them with exuberence. You can't say "Riley" yet, but you squal "Lala!" whenever Bella walks into the room and you positively glow at the sight of either one of them. And they adore you. They love to play with you in your room, checking to see if you'll bang cups together just like they do, or those little balls from your Stand Up Ball Blast. That is your absolute favorite toy, because it plays music that you can dance to, and you love to roll the balls down the track and then see where they're going to come out. You are absolutely vibrant when you dance. Your face lights up and you wiggle your shoulders and it is absolutely divine. Riley and Bella never danced quite like that - you have a rhythm all your own.

Having a big brother and sister has it's downsides, for me anyway. You still won't say "Mama" but you come close, I think. Just the important things, like "Lala," and I think maybe "this" and "that" and "night-night." You adore your crib. I have never had a child so easy to put to sleep - you practically dive for it whenever I suggest that it's time to go in. Then you grab your binkie and clutch your bear (like this one only much cuter) and collapse on top of him. I turn down the light and walk out, and you are content. I wonder if the only peace you get in this crazy house is in that crib. Maybe that's why you like it so much.

I love you so much that it aches when I conjure up your smell, the feel of your skin when I kiss the rolls under your neck. I love the light in your eyes when you spy the cat from across the room, and the gentle way you press your forehead onto his when I catch and hold him for you. I melt when you shower me with kisses, even when you get so excited that you bite my cheek or bang your head into mine over and over and over again - kiss, kiss, kiss!

I know that the devilish grin that you flash before you grab the remote control, or the phone, means that you are no longer my baby. You are already having little temper tantrums, thrashing about when you don't get your way, or simply crumpling onto the floor in despair. I can tell that it hurts your feelings when I say "No!", and you cry as though I've broken your heart. I know that this year there will be boo-boos, and band-aids, and pigtails. You'll learn to walk on your own, and before we both know it, you'll be running full speed into toddlerhood, and out of my arms. As much as it pains me to carry you around everywhere, my heart aches at the thought that, when preschool begins again in September, you will be running on your own two feet. You have always played independently, and you will keep moving farther away from me. But I am so proud of you, and if I'm no longer carrying you then I will be cheering you on from as close as you'll let me come.

You are a blessing from God and you were meant to be here with us, and I love you with all of my being.

Happy Birthday Baby Adelyn.


Blogger Carolyn said...

That was beautiful. Your children are very lucky.

11:27 AM  
Blogger CJ said...

Brought me to tears. My daughter is a month younger and the thought of her growing up kills me in one way and fills me with excitement and wonder in another. What a beatiful birthday letter to put in her baby book.

Makes me want to make a sister or brother for Saturn right away.

12:35 PM  

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