After hibernating through a protracted and bitterly cold winter, we are more than ready for the sun to shine, to open windows, and step through doors instead of wondering about the world from behind the glass. We are excited to fill our lungs with crisp spring air, take walks, and allow the dirt to pack crescent moons under our nails.
Miss Lucille’s edification of the world, just weeks out from marking 1.5 years of existence, is exploding. It literally feels like there has been something new every single day. I actually quit keeping track of her new words because there are too many, and most recently she’s become quite the parrot. We can ask her to say just about anything, and she’ll repeat it. It isn't always enunciated perfectly, in fact, it rarely is, but I can tell she’s trying, and I love that. Lucy has begun to talk in two word phrases and regularly likes to point out “mama car,” “daddy chair,” and “mama shoes.”
She clearly identifies, in pictures, myself, Big Red, Grandma, Nana, and Pa-Pa. Her mouth is erupting in teeth, teeth she now brushes on her own every evening. A hearty eater we continue to witness, and we've begun to encourage the use of utensils. She’s got the basic concept, but immediate gratification often wins out, and thus the use of the reliable tried and true hand. This winter she had her first raw apple, and began a love affair with mandarins. She loves to paint and does so enthusiastically, often canvasing her own face and hair with bright colors, and she’s really into coloring. Requests for music come by way of pointing to the stereo and *snapping* fingers. We are made aware of what she needs by her stubby finger pointing to whatever object of desire, or pointing to the particular cabinet holding said object of desire – usually food—by saying, “this.”
Lucy was introduced to snow for the first time, and she was skeptical at first, unsure of every crunchy step she took in her tiny snow boots. There may have even been a few tears, but they were short-lived. The firsts continued with the first sled rides down the hill in your yard; the inaugural ride was a hit, the second one, not so much. When asked if she wanted to do it again, she most clearly and distinctly said, “no.” She has, though, enjoyed our most recent activity of Mommy & Me dance classes, and so have I.
Unfortunately, we did not escape the claws of daycare induced winter illnesses. The poor kid endured a stomach virus, the flu/RSV, and four ear infections, not to mention the constant drip of a runny nose. The RSV was the worst of all. It slammed her just before Christmas and it turned my happy, fun-loving, bright-eyed little girl into a quiet, lethargic, fevered lump. She clung to me, slept on me, didn't move from my arms for days. It was round the clock dosage of Tylenol and Motrin to keep the fever at bay, and she hardly ate or drank. In fact, the best we could get her to take was a handful of blackberries and some sips of water. It broke my heart to see her so rundown. Thankfully, she turned the corner just before Christmas, and was back to herself by the time Santa deposited some gifts under the tree. It was also around this time that we ditched the toddler tub, and Lucy started having baths, big kid style – something she quite enjoys, especially the mounds of bubbles Big Red creates.
The two biggest changes that occurred this winter were not only major markers in Lucy’s life, but emotionally challenging ones for me. Lucy took her final bottle on February 1st, and transitioned to the toddler room at daycare. I was horribly unprepared for how these milestones would register and I was definitely caught off guard. I cried after that last bottle, and I cried when I picked her up from the infant room for the last time. Her transition to the toddler room was remarkably smooth, and Big Red reported only a few days of tears upon drop off to the new room that first week. I was secretly happy I did not have to witness the tears; it would have been too difficult.
My baby is not really a baby anymore. Sure, she’ll always be my baby, but there’s no doubting that Lucille has two feet into Toddlerhood and shows no signs of looking back. She is sprinting forward, grasping at something new with every step. She is insatiable; she is, as her Pa-Pa likes to call her, unstoppable. Long gone are the days of cradling her sweet little warm body against my chest. That little nugget of a baby has turned into a 25 lb., 31.5” little girl with her own distinct desires.
It is only in the evenings, when we she comes to find me after Big Red has bathed her, that she will sit still on my lap. We settle into the rocking chair in her room, the lights dimmed, and we read stories. After Max has sailed back into the night of his own room, I turn her on my lap to face me. We have a brief conversation about what the best part of the day was, and to what we look forward tomorrow at school. I remind Lucy that the most beautiful facets of who she is belong to her spirit and her heart.
I kiss my baby goodnight, and as I lay her down, wish for her to dream wonderful dreams.