At this moment, Em is 16 months + 1 week old. Jax will be 3 in just seven short weeks. To my immense disbelief and dismay, my babies are no longer babies. They are little people, whose needs are still met by me but not in the same way. Not in a nourishing her from my own body kind of way. Not in a only-have-eyes-for-me kind of way. I am here but so is the big, wide word. I am their mama and they love me, but it is clear sometimes that this is their world and I am just existing in their universe. They are in the driver’s seat.
Look at my Em.
I wish I wasn’t neurotic about potential baby kidnappers so I could share with you her full name in all its magnificent glory. It’s so her; she embodies it and wears it well. A good friend of mine is knee-deep in the baby name quagmire and I am envious. I used to play the board game of “Life” just so I could fill up my cars with little peg people and give them the most awesome names I could think of like Tiffany and Stephanie. Miss Em has such a wonderful name that if I were ever lucky enough to have another girl, I think I’d be stressed that I wouldn’t like her name as much. Or maybe it’s just that this little girl seems to be incomparable.
Em is in that amazing stage where connections are being made daily. New words are flying out of her mouth, like “bus” and “Papa.” She nods instead of just trying to convey her desires with her eyes. She not only signs “more” but also says it (in her own garbled way). She wants to read all day, whereas six months ago it was a battle. She worships her brother but can also hold her own against him now. She’s becoming her own person, and watching her grow is a pleasure.
She’s all girl, but at the same time, so not. She is braver than me in some ways: saddling right up to a toad and poking it with interest. Digging around in the shallow ocean water for periwinkles and minnows and God knows what else. Fascinated by all creatures, especially the caterpillars, in Maine. She belongs in the outdoors, and I’m just going to have to learn to keep up with her. She’s already beyond me.
Another thing she picked up in Maine: the perfect goodnight snuggle. She slept in a room with a big full-sized bed; every night when I put her to bed, I’d bring four of five books in and we’d lay side-by-side with our heads on the pillow, reading whichever book she chose. Sometimes she chose one and then pointed to her pack ‘n play, telling me she’d had enough and it was time for bed. She’d toss the remainders in her crib for later and then I’d stand at the foot of the big bed, and she’d pad over in her pajamas and “jump” up for me to hold her. Immediately, she’d put her head right in the special nook of my collar bone, putting her Blankie between her cheek and my shirt, and close her eyes. I would rock her and sing her anything that popped in my head, with my hands cradling her diapered baby butt and my cheek against her still-wet hair. And when I’d put her down, not once did she cry. She just looked at me, sucked on her Binkie, and watched me walk out the door. Trusting me to come back. To be there if she needed me. And I always was. We all were and are.
She’s darling. She’s amazing and perfect. She’s a little like each of us, her brother, her daddy, and me. Yet, she’s herself. She’s perfectly her.
She heard me when I said the shell wasn’t for eating. But she had to give it a try anyway. Just to be sure.
She’s perfect and caring and bright. She’s clingy and loving and stubborn. She is a delight, in all her complexity. She’s an excellent sharer and lives to make her brother happy. Her kindness gets me every time.
We didn’t know how much we need her until she was here.
Our beautiful, amazing Em.