Almost 2 years ago, I brought home a tiny little girl with a mop of black hair who totally depended on me for everything. This 9lb little butterball became the most important thing in my life overnight; her needs superseded mine and oh boy did she have needs! But I didn’t mind because with the birth of that itty bitty human came the realization of a dream I had had since I was a little girl myself: I was finally a mommy.
Though like any other role, there were days I cried myself to sleep from frustration or exhaustion- there were also days when I wondered aloud or in my head how I got so lucky. Those days (both kinds) turned into weeks and months and it seems like I blinked and my tiny wasn’t tiny anymore.
The little girl that depended on me for her every need, the one who was by definition and practice a baby is not a baby anymore. She isn’t just an infant sized melding of her father and my features, or a reason for my arm to fall asleep. She is a little girl- and every day I go in her room to say good morning, she is a little bigger than when I kissed her goodnight the night before. Tiny isn’t Tiny anymore. She’s getting to be a big girl,
She has her own likes and dislikes, her own mannerisms, she even has her own voice! She loves pandas, the color green, Elmo, and that whiny little toddler Caillou. Even though I hate bananas Tiny loves them! She loves music- especially something with a good beat! She loves to dance, she loves to clap, she loves animals. She is a completely separate individual than me! And I feel like it happened overnight- one minute she was a tiny baby and now she is walking around like she owns the place-it’s pretty amazing!
Every day she is learning new words. Sometimes she asks me “What’s that?” and sometimes we just hear a new word out of the blue. It amazes me how she has gone from being a responsibility to a companion. She keeps me company. She loves to cuddle, she puts her head on my shoulder when she’s tired. She hates when I am cross with her- her little face squishes up and she says, “Mum!” like she is so sorry she offended me and she just needs to know I am still listening. She can tell when she has done something wrong. She knows right from wrong! That in itself is amazing!
Also amazing is the way she acts with her baby brother. It is unbelievable to me that my daughter who hasn’t been alive for two years can be a BIG sister but that is exactly what she is. And she takes her job VERY seriously. There is nothing more adorable than when she walks over to him in his bouncer and tries to give him a pacifier, or when she kisses him ever so gently on the head and says “hi baby,” in that grown up voice of hers. In her eyes, she is much older than that little baby and she needs to take care of him.
She is also starting to learn life skills. Though still at a the play phase, Tiny loves to sweep with her little broom, load her little pink dishwasher, and she even helps me “clean up” when her toys get messy. She just loves to help and she is at a point where she can actually be some help.
I take so much joy in being her mom, and I refuse to let myself get upset that she is growing so fast. For one thing, this is what children do. Leaving the baby stage paves the way for us to have more meaningful interactions; we had our first tea party the other day, and I have to tell you Tiny makes delicious imaginary tea. We are getting to the point where I can teach her things and she understands and even retains the knowledge. That is pretty magical! Saving goodbye to a baby girl just means I get to say hello to a little one. A girl who is excited to grow up and be like mommy and be a big sister and to experience life on her own terms.
And for those days when I can’t help but be sad about my baby girl growing up? I remember that I still have a baby- albeit not so tiny, screaming his little head off in the other room as we speak! Lunch time ladies and gents!