So last night Kyle and I couldn’t get Quinn to sleep. Every time I put her back in her pack and play set up in our room, she would cry within 30 seconds. And then I’d groggily walk back to her, pick her up, and nestle her in the bend of my elbow – and almost with a smile on her face, she’d go right back to sleep. Kyle would try to sneak her out of my arms and put her back down so that we all could get some rest, but it didn’t matter how careful he was – she was going to wake up. She was going to cry for the bend in my elbow to place her tiny little head. Her swaddled little body was only going to sleep nestled next to her mama, after all, the previous 10 months of nights she slept right beneath my heartbeat, I’m not sure why I expected last night to be any different.
Except it wasn’t last night, it was almost two years ago. Our first night home.
I’m struggling, ya’ll. I don’t know what it is with these second babies, but there’s something different. You have experience on your side the second time around, so you don’t have to spend so much time worrying; there’s lots more to enjoy. You also don’t have to spend as much time trying to get to the ‘next level,’ because you know that level is coming quickly whether you want it or not. And most often with the second, you don’t. Time slow down has never been spoken louder than watching a second baby grow up. Quinnie growing up is giving me all the feels. Every last one of them. I’m laughing at her because I’m learning she’s quite hilarious – already with a clever wit, that one! I’m crying at her because not only is she sleeping in a toddler bed, she loves her new Minnie bed, and has been caught talking to her Minnie pillow. I’m smiling at her as she goes before her big sister, “Dwess, Ye-ya?” showing off her dress to seek approval from the only opinion she cares about in this house. I’m angry with her as she learns appropriate behavior… and that hitting is not on that list. I’m staring at her, in awe of how much she has learned just as an observer in this crazy house. I’m annoyed with her, in her attempt to fill every silent moment with noise, shouting to me in the car, “mom! whereareyou?!” over and over and over until she comes up with something better to say. I’m blessed by her, to have nightly prayers be extended until every family member (down to the dogs) is covered in prayer per her request. I’m occupied by her, having every moment she’s awake be blanketed with, “watch me.” I’m hugged by her, literally, metaphorically, physically, mentally… she is still my koala… whether it is snuggles on the couch or her sweet little voice doing incredible things to my heart – she is one constant hug.
She is a new Quinn these days. Not to be lost in the big milestones of her big sister, she creates her own hilarity and drama just so no one will forget she’s here. And we don’t. She is a little rough around the edges. While she is snuggly and cozy, there’s a side of her that we are uncovering a little more every day. Where Leah is our “sugar,” Quinn is our “spice.” Not afraid to voice her opinion or willing to accept a no, she will fight for what she wants. There was the time I fought with her for a solid 15 minutes to pick up TWO cards of a board game and put them in a box. She says no and means it, and I’m still not sure how to get around that. I need to read books. She yells not mommy or mama through the house, but, “Ma!” like the little Italian that she is. She is now, and has always been, intense. I blogged about it while she was still in my belly; I just knew there was a layer to her that was going to give me trouble. She is Quinn, hear her roar.
The moments are coming more and more with her as we approach her second birthday. The ones where I stare at her in wonder on how we already got to the point where she’s wearing underwear and asking me for exactly what she wants. How we got to the point where she climbs in her bed and goes to sleep without needing me to bounce her on the exercise ball until my legs are numb. The point where she thanks me for buckling her into her car seat, tells me her finger hurts, or that she wants to eat. The point where I don’t have to puree food or even chop it in a million pieces, after all, she can walk around the house gnawing on a carrot. I was doing a little closet organizing today, and was shaking my head back and forth the entire time. You see, I went to the basement to get out Leah’s tub of 3T clothes to fill Quinn’s closet (because, ya, she’s that big). And it wouldn’t have been too big of a deal, except for these 3T clothes that I was unloading are the very same 3T clothes Leah was wearing prior too, during, and after Quinn’s arrival into our family. And now Quinn is wearing them.
DID YOU HEAR THAT?!
Do you see those jammies Leah has on… I put them in Quinn’s drawer today. So there. Now you understand, now we can all cry together.
What I mean to say is, Quinn is growing. She is changing and evolving at a rate I’m not at all comfortable with, but that I love at the same time. I feel like I leave her in the dust sometimes as the second baby, and that she just has to fall in line. Leah will always being doing the “new thing” first. But Quinn is incredible in her own right. She talks more than Leah ever did at this age. She is learning more than I want her to just by observing. She is funny and snuggly and stubborn and perfect. I can’t believe she is closer to two than to a newborn; I promised I wouldn’t let time go so quickly the second time around. But that’s the thing with babies, it all goes so fast. And you have to learn to just sit back and let it happen and enjoy all the little moments in the middle. Because you’re fighting them for sleep one minute and fighting them to pick up after themselves the next. You don’t know how they could possibly fit in clothes so tiny one minute, and then filling their closet with clothes that couldn’t possibly fit them the next.
I love you, Quinn bug. I love that you love to have your nails painted, that your favorite color is green, and that you need all the condiments on your plate at all times. I love that your blankie is your instant calm, and that Samson sitting on it will cause WWIII. I love watching you be the little sister. I love when you say, “sure,” and I hope I never forget how it sounds. I love that your favorite part about church is the Cheerios. I love that you know exactly how to make us laugh and that you’ll do it when you’re in trouble just to see if we’ll crack. You are my sunshine… with a little bit of thunder and lightening. Keep growing, babydoll, I’ll keep watching.