Three years ago at this time I was doing everything I could to expel Leah from my insides. There was pineapple eating, and cupcake making, and furniture moving, and bumpy road driving, and spicy Mexican dinners, and “Leah, come outtt, I want to meeeet youuuuu,” talks. It was brutal, the waiting game. And funny. Because you wait and you wait and you wait, and the anticipation is indescribable. The excitement is overwhelming. But you honestly have no idea what, who you’re waiting for. You don’t know what you’re excited about – there’s no way you can fathom what’s about to happen. Sure, there’s a baby that you think you’d really like to see. But what about the rest of it… what on Earth does that mean?
A blissful ignorance to say the least.
I was waiting for my Leah. My bug. I was waiting to hear what everyone talks about, those first cries. Holding, snuggling, kissing. I wanted her in my arms more than anything in the world. And just three years ago! That’s the part that really kills me. She’s three now, and she’s big. She’s growing up into a regular old kid – but somehow it’s still only been three years. Has she not been here my whole life? What was life like before that pregnancy test said, ‘pregnant.’
Hard to remember life with just two of us.
Leah made me a mom; and she will always rest high atop that pedestal. And I love Quinn with all of my heart, and I love the babies we haven’t even seen yet – but Leah made me a mom. She was the one who had to be patient with me while I had no idea how to use my boobs for nourishment. She was the one who had to cry with me because neither of us could figure out how to get her to sleep. But she was also the one who made me feel empowered like I had never felt before in my life. She gave me confidence in my skin that I didn’t know existed. She paved the way for the calm, cool, and collected mom that Quinn gets to enjoy.
I’ve been in a weird place all week. I love a good birthday week, don’t get me wrong. But it’s a brutal little game motherhood plays on you. On the one hand, I’m so excited that she will be three! Three whole years! I’m excited that she’s growing, and thriving, and doing new things every single day. I’m so proud that she is reaching all milestones when she should, if not before. But a part of me wants to squish her up into a ball and put her back in my belly and keep here there. To make her stay little forever. To start over again, and to truly enjoy raising a baby Leah. And for the love of Pete (whoever that is) to not let her grow up the second time around!
But I suppose that’s not possible. I suppose she will continue to grow just as she should. So I will be left with no choice but to watch her continue to excel at everything she does as a three year old.
She’s my bug, that’s for sure. Her mom or not… she’s really stinking funny.
She is currently trying to figure out the English language. More specifically, she’s trying to figure out how to use the words, “on purpose,” “dangerous,” and, “I promise.” Quinn and I were headed to the swingset and Leah was on her way out of the house behind us. She says, “I’m coming, mommy! It’s a little dangerous, but it’s good.” I’m sorry, come again? Ha. Just things that make absolutely no sense whatsoever. And then something I get at almost every meal, “what’s Quinnie eating on purpose?” “Well, today she’s having carrots and strawberries on purpose, is that okay with you?” And then lastly, “Mom! Don’t do that! I promise!” Like seriously, how do you respond to any of the above. I just laugh at her most of every day. (Is that wrong)? The language part of a three year old is exhausting because, at least in this house, it’s constant, and not always pleasant. But then I get to hear her try to put thoughts and phrases together and just sit back and marvel at how her little brain is working in overdrive just to be a part of society.
Her curiosity might actually kill the cat. We are in the thick of the “whys.” Why is the question for everything, or the question that needs to be asked because she accidentally forgot that she wasn’t talking for a second. “But, mommy, whyyyyyyyyyyyy?” Omg, Leah, BECAUSE I SAID SO. I do try really hard to answer all of her why’s – but you know, sometimes there just isn’t enough time in a day. She wants to know how everything works, who made what (for instance, her car seat – can someone please tell her the man’s name that made her car seat because Britax isn’t doin the job), and when we are going to Ali and Zoey’s, the mall, dinner, her birthday party, Disney world, ___, _____, _____. Those are the worst kind of questions because she has very little concept of time. She knows that July 7th is her birthday, but July 7th means absolutely nothing to her. Next week means nothing. October means nothing. 4:00 means nothing. So I just spew this nonsense of time, and she is satisfied for the time being, and we go about our business for five minutes until the next brainbuster comes along. You know, like, “why are we watching Frozen, mommy.” “Uh… because you wanted to.” “Why?”
She is a tricky little character. She has this awful, but hilarious game she likes to play right now. I like to call it, “how do I distract mom from yelling at me.” It goes something like this: she gets in trouble, and in the midst of my scolding, she gets real close to me and tries to divert attention away from her bad behavior and place it on something good that she’s done. For instance, “Leah, do NOT pull Duncan’s tail, that will hurt him.” She comes running over, “mommy, are you happy that I stayed in my room for my nap?” What do you even do with that? I try really hard not to laugh because I think it’s funny that she’s so smart and clever… but at the same time, stop it you little stinker, we’re talking about how you’re bad… not good. Lemme yell at you!
My little Leah is a little mother through and through. She had quite a year last year; gaining a sister! She loves her little sister to the moon and back. When Quinn cries, Leah says things like, “it’s okay, you don’t have to be sad, Quinn.” Or, “it’s okay, Quinn, I’m here.” I don’t know if a single thing is more gratifying than knowing that we are raising a child to be compassionate. If it were only towards her sister, that would be one thing, but Leah can pick out a baby crying from anywhere and always wants to know 1)who it is and 2)what’s wrong. It warms my heart so much to know that she cares when people are sad – I hope she never ever loses that. She is also the most helpful little treat I know. She can fetch a diaper like it’s nobodies business! The best part is, she enjoys getting me things. She always declares, “I’m such a big helper, mommy!” to which I acknowledge that she most certainly is. She loves to help me in the kitchen, folding laundry, dusting, washing windows – you name it. Maybe she’ll start her own cleaning business someday :). We are a couple of cake/cookie baking extraordinaires. I so love cooking with my kid. The other day we were making pretend cookies and I asked what we needed and she told me Cream of Tarter! Cream of freaking Tarter. It made me so happy that she has our recipes memorized so well that she wants to put cream of tarter in our pretend cookies!
Leah is a sucker for a good costume. She loves to put on the world’s most random outfit, call it a costume, and make me take a picture. And while I laugh and tell her she looks so fancy, I know that deep down she actually believes that she is incredibly fancy… and that is the best part.
If Quinn is my koala bear baby… Leah is the cat that I try to bathe. She came out being independent, and has only gotten more so with each passing year. She prefer I not help her with a darn thing from potty, to putting on shoes, to buckling her car seat. Heaven forbid I hold her hand. She is thrilled that I no longer attend gymnastics with her, and I’m sure school by herself will suit her just fine. She needs not from her mother. But I love it. I love her stubborn, fighting spirit – even when it’s working against me. I love that she must figure everything out on her own. It’s a joy to watch her thrive from the sidelines. A lot of times I feel like I could send her out in the real world and she would conquer. Even this blog, I feel like I’m writing about an 18 year old – and I have to remind myself that she’s not yet in kindergarten.
So a million thanks to my big bug for giving me my mom card. For sticking with me as I figure it all out – whatever it is. For being the guinea pig as I find out what in the world you’re supposed to do with these little people as they grow big. For making my job challenging and rewarding like nothing else on the planet. For being the smiling little face that comes down the steps in the morning, and immediately asks, “mommy, why you not gettin’ my oatmeal yet?” Thanks for the laughs, sweet girl – three solid years of you next to me has been tremendous for my soul.
What a good.stinking.kid.