Sunday, January 30, 2011

Ode to My Daughter

H is for your Hair. I love the way your hair curls ever so slightly when it is damp, it is even better when it is damp with sweat of a long nap and your cheeks are rosy and your eyes are bright. I run my hands through it and make your curls stand up and I imagine what you will look like when you are two, or entering Kindergarten, or yelling at me about your jerk boyfriend, or on your wedding day. Will it stay this blond? Will I know what to do with curly hair?

E is for Eating. You are not even a year old and a foodie already! There is not a food you won't try, and even if you dislike it at first you keep trying it. You eat as much as your three year old brother some days, and I never want to discourage your love of food. I never want you to see food as an enemy, or a friend. I hope you always retain your thirst for new flavors, textures and cultures as you grow and never deprive yourself of sustenance to fit in a mold.

N is for nursing. I love the way you enjoy nursing all of a sudden, just around the time I thought you were done forever. The way you bury your head into my chest and look up at me pleadingly, breaks my heart and makes me kiss your soft neck. I love that you will nurse in public for the first time since you were a newborn. Costco, the park, the movies, church, even during a 5K, it makes no difference to you as long as you are close to your mommy and have a tummy full of milk.

L is for your special language. Your words, though still jibberish is like sweet songs in my ears. Hearing you shriek and pout and babble and growl is wonderful, exciting and fulfilling. I never had a baby respond to my voice, to music and to reading the way you do - and it pleases me because you are the sort of daughter I always knew I wanted.

E is for your energy. You dance at all music (but prefer Big Band and "booty shaking" music) and clap your hands and shake your body. I love to watch you dance and laugh at your brother who is dancing with you. You also sing every time a tune catches your fancy. I can't wait to dry your hair and hear you humming along like I used to when I was a little girl.

Y is for Youth. You will never again be this little, and because every day that you grow older and bigger I must remember to savor your babyhood. One day I will be your mama, then your mommy, then your mom and some day you may even call me mother (right before I spank you for the first time). Our relationship will not always be this close, but my love for you will never waiver.

J is for jammies. I absolutely love you in your pajamas. When you are sweet smelling from your bath and softly rubbing your tired eyes against my shoulder and kicking your little feet in your feeties. I snuggle you down in our blankets, and kiss your eyelids and quietly sing to you as you nurse your way to dreamland. Some mornings I forget to get you dressed because I want for you to always be in that state of halfway between waking and sleeping.

A is for attention. You pay attention to everything around you, and everyone in your world. You hold people's faces close and study them as if to memorize them for next time you meet. Unlike most babies, toys hold your concentration and you learn to play easily, you play with toys far outside your age range and seem to know exactly what you are doing. No wonder you get so angry when your brother takes them away from you!

N is for nature, which you love. You are not so much a fan of the sun, but that is probably okay given your skin tone. But give you a pile of mud, a sandbox, some rocks, a few twigs and leaves and a big old puddle and you will play and splash and try to eat until your heart's content. Outside is one of your favorite places to be, to feel the world under your hands must make you feel so small and big at the same time. Like you are the first baby in history to see that particular leaf and the way the wind blows it from your hand by an unseen giant.

E is for Embrace. Every morning when you wake, you hug me so hard that it makes me happy to see another morning. I never knew a baby who hugged this early. Even though you slept right next to me all night, it is as if we had parted for months! I love that you miss me even though I was always right there, and love me no matter what. I love your hugs, never stop!


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