When my daughter came along, she was a welcome addition – an unexpected surprise, but welcome, nonetheless. She spent her nine months in womb quietly biding her time; an easy pregnancy during a stressful time, letting her older, soon to be middle brother enjoy his limited babyhood at ten to fifteen months old before she came into our world. Little did he know how his young life would change. Even now, seventeen years later, they continue to have a love-hate relationship.
She was scheduled to be born the first week of January and the c-section was planned owing to the previous two c-sections in my life, but she gave us an inkling to her personality the night when I was in the hospital Christmas Eve trying to convince her and the hospital staff to let her wait a week.
It was a dance we would have with this beautiful, thoughtful, independent, non-conforming girl-child often and we should have known from this unforeseen side-trip to the hospital where she would ultimately be born just shy of two weeks later.
There was one other week where we didn’t feel her moving and went in for an ultrasound prior to this. She was fine. Clearly, she was testing us. She was saving up her energy. You really do need to watch out for the quiet ones.
After she was born, we should have known her devious ways when she was quickly sleeping through the night. Little did we know.
We soon learned that when she wanted something, she wanted it then, that minute or there would be consequences. She did call us with her crying like any other baby, but if we were delayed for whatever reason (I mean we still had a toddler who needed attention, plus all the other household chores and the like), she would take care of business on her own. Her life was too exceptional to waste waiting.
Most babies would cry louder or throw things from the crib. Nope. Not her.
We’d (I’d) ask her to wait a minute, just trying to catch my breath, and the next thing I knew she was standing/kneeling/crawling right in front of me. Yup, that little girl had climbed out of her crib. Once she could stand, she could climb.
She’d appear before us, sans diaper, new diaper in hand, with a look that was not to be trifled with.
I once had a cable rep on the phone ask if everything was all right when he heard her screeching her displeasure. She was on the second floor of the house, in a room with the door closed. I was in the kitchen as far away from the stairs as I could be. We lovingly nicknamed her banshee.
I went into the kitchen on an unusually quiet day to find her trying to get something off the top of the fridge. Most children her age might have gotten a chair and climbed up, reaching, perhaps whining, but not my darling daughter. She had a chair, yes, but on top of the chair was a step stool, a cardboard box, a lunch box sized plastic bin, and her at the top of this precarious perch, reaching for the teddy grahams on the fridge. She looked down at me, oblivious to her instability, grinning that grin. She was grabbed one handed around her waist, terror in my voice, laughter in hers.
As the kids got older and moved into their own rooms, we knew that she could never move to the first floor. Who knows where she’d end up. Even being on the second floor, her windows were checked and secured each night. What she’d get up to, no one could predict. There’s curious and then there’s my adored and adorable girl.
She has remained curious and questioning as well as obstinate and stubborn, all good characteristics to complement her independence. She’s her own counsel, but still asks questions and does her best to already have the answers. There is still so much learning that she needs to do, as do we all, and I know she’ll lead herself down new roads and paths that take her forward, but also upside down and around to fill her personality, but also to expand herself and teach others that they too can be great.
But not as great as her. A healthy dose of self-esteem is a gift, and she has it in abundance.
I’m glad I decided to celebrate my independent, self-motivated, and determined baby, who’s not so much a baby anymore on this International Women’s Day. She is not only the future of the world, but also its present, and using the homonym she is a present, a gift to me and everyone she meets.Continue reading