Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Now when I call her a big girl, I really mean it

When did my baby become a little girl?

I know I've been fervently documenting her development for the past year, but it still somehow managed to sneak up on me. All of a sudden I have this walking, talking little lady to spend my days with.

In the first few months, I remember pining for any sign of an emerging personality. Now there's no question that she's outgoing, curious, loves music, laughs freely, is open-minded to trying new things and has a generally upbeat disposition.

Being a parent to this energetic, constantly on-the-go child is by far the most difficult thing I have ever tackled in my entire life. There are days when I think she deserves better than what I have to give. When I struggle to summon the patience to prevent her from pulling a plant to the floor for the fiftieth time, I tell myself that we'll get through this. Years from now, I'll probably wish I could magically clean up her mistakes with a vacuum.

I'm still looking forward to everything to come, but it's tough not looking back and missing that snuggly little baby who was most content just to lay in my arms. Now if I hold her too long, she tosses her head back, kicks her legs out and uses her free arm to try and push herself away from me.

It's tough not to wonder if I stole enough kisses on her cheeks before she learned to turn her head. In the meantime, I'm trying to revel in kissing her at all because someday she'll inevitably consider it an invasion of her personal space.

I guess I started thinking about all of this last week when Timberly came to visit. She was in town from Nebraska for Thanksgiving. We only had an afternoon together, but in the few hours she was at my house, her pregnancy mandated frequent trips to the bathroom, an emergency snack and much excitement about what was to come. Strangely enough, it left me feeling very nostalgic. It is such a blessing to be awaiting a new baby's arrival.

The next day I got to hold Courtney's son Jackson, and my heart honestly melted feeling the weight of him against my shoulder. His entire body snuggled against mine, unlike Alli who sits tall on my hip, hand outstretched and neck craning to take in everything going on around her.

Add to it the final pregnancy photos I discovered a few moments ago in my e-mail inbox of my friend Andrea who is past her due date and the newest ultrasound images of Timberly's little one, and I couldn't help but wonder where my baby went.

It's not that I want another one. On the contrary, it has everything to do with Allison. It's very difficult for me to accept the fact that Alli will never be that baby again. Every day she's a little different and it's so easy to miss it. I think back to this time last year with that cooing baby who fell asleep in my arms and sigh.

Yes, it's easy to forget the nausea, heartburn and aching back. Or the projectile spit up, nightly wake-up calls and inability to set newborns down.

But it serves as a fresh reminder to cherish all those moments.

Before bed, I'm going to peer into Allison's room and try to burn the image of her snuggled in her crib, wrapped in her pink polkadot blanket and clutching her bear and her bunny into my longterm memory.


Jaclyn said...

OMG, Kelly!!! You JUST explained exactly what I've been feeling!!
I miss being pregnant, but I don't want another baby. I miss the excitement of expecting my first child, meeting her for the first time, holding her, bringing her home, her first smile...all of it. But I DON'T want another baby. Now I realize that I want to relive my time with Katelyn!!
Thank you sooo much for posting this; it's nice to now really know what I'm feeling and to know I'm not alone!!!

the plainsman said...

Well written, Kelly.

Think back to years ago, when you set out on your life adventure, new town, new job. Could you have ever imagined you would be writing this, with all of the insight and perspective you now have?

The wonder of it all, is the same wonder that greets Allison with each day's new discovery.

Allison is a very lucky girl, and many would ache to have a parent as caring and giving as you.

Don't doubt that for a second.

Not having been blessed with being a parent, though your words I have finally understood what others have said about years flying and missing what was only yesterday.

And there is yet more to come that you will miss, but that first year is indeed, very special. You will forever hold it, and her, in your heart.

Sarah said...

With McKenzie's first birthday fast approaching, I've been feeling the same way (well, with a slight difference that sometime soon, I would like another one). But, this feeling being solely about her, not about the next one. Just that SHE is never going to be that little baby, and that she changes daily and I feel I couldn't hold on to those little moments long or hard enough.
You say it so eloquently and perfect. It brought tears to my eyes.
Oh the little babies who are now little girls.

Rach said...

What a great perspective. I will do my best to cherish every snuggle and moment where I am her everything, but I am sure the first year will still fly by in a blink and I will be feeling the same way you do when that year mark passes.

aj said...

oh my gosh..

soooo fast.

we all grow so fast.. and this is how our parents felt about us.......

jsi said...

It does seem like it happens very fast. And then there are other days that feel like they are 52 hours long.
I would sneak into the kids room while they were sleeping and just hold their hand and say a prayer. Their teeny tiny little hands grew so dramatically, they weren't teeny for long.
But to pray for them really helped to reinforce to me that they were a precious, invaluable gift in my life. No matter the day we may have had.
Children are an amazing gift - and newborns need you so much. The smell of a newborn's head is so addictive.
I do miss my young ones as they were newborns, and feel it is very important to encourage beautiful young mothers of the amazing opportunity they have with their babe in their arms.

Maria said...

Blogging about Allison has shown me so much that I have to look forward to about motherhood. So many things I've never considered or even thought of. It's made me extremely nervous, but I'm also looking forward to it so much.

Anonymous said...

I have 99 days left of my pregnancy.

Reading your posts, the good, the bad and the ugly have made me even more excited for my little girl to get here.

Marcy said...

I've been thinking some about this lately, but your post made me truly feel that same ache. I remember when I first realized how much I'd loved those moments when he fells asleep on my shoulder, once they stopped happening as often. He turned 10 months old today, and it's unbelievable how fast it's gone by. You've put into words what I haven't even consciously been thinking or feeling, but that's most definitely there.

Anonymous said...

Congrats to your friend Timberly who's pregnant (I didn't know that)! =)

On another note: What a beautiful entry. And what an awesome little girl you have. I loved this line: "Years from now, I'll probably wish I could magically clean up her mistakes with a vacuum." Always with the great lines, I love it.

And Kelly, Alli may not be a baby-baby but she's still a baby (she's still a baby until she turns three in my book. And even at three they still seem baby like to me. My cousin Sammy’s about to turn three in January and I still consider him this cute baby. I can’t help it I guess. I don’t want him to grow up). Continue to cherish these moments and the ones to come when she enters what they like to call, "the terrible two's!" Even though I’m not a mother I understand hating the fact that your baby doesn’t want to be held anymore and also now that they have the knowledge to know how to escape. I think every since my cousin Alyssa learned to walk, it was on the floor that she wants to be. No more being held. It sucks but it’s apart of life. Just remember those moments when you held her in your arms, and those moments where she still wants to be held.

Also no matter if there are times where you feel you aren’t giving Alli your all (which is normal because we’re only human) you are still an awesome mother. Never forget that.

Take, care. =o)

Ray said...

^^That comment was from me!

Lisa said...

Little miss Allison continues to amaze me Kelly. She is a wonderful little girl, and has equally wonderful parents. The happiness and love that is exuded by the three of you is truly incredible.

Anyway, I love you guys, and I only wish I could see you more. xo