Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Dear Lili (10 months)

Dear Lili,

You are something else. We knew you were different than your brother from the beginning; I could feel you kicking around in my belly from the outside at around 17 or 18 weeks (that's early), and you haven't really stopped moving since, unless you are sound asleep. Other people who held you as a small baby would remark at how your arms or legs were in constant motion.

You are now busy crawling everywhere and getting into everything. It's a stage for every baby, but you seem especially determined to get into everything. Tito learned quickly which cupboards he could play in and which were off-limits; he knew the dog water was off-limits, and he complied after only a few reproofs. You, on the other hand, make a b-line for the dog water every time you're close and you think I'm not paying attention. You are determined to get into the cupboards that are locked because after emptying everything from the tupperware and dishcloth cabinets (permitted), you are still looking for more (not permitted). You hate to be told no, whether it's because you are trying to eat something you shouldn't or because I'm making you lie still for a diaper change or because I have slapped your hand for grabbing at my plate or dropping food on the floor. You laugh when I say "no" until the consequences are too unpleasant for you to ignore, and then you scream.

Of course, it's okay that you're different from your brother. God made you that way and we love you very much! Still, we can't help but wonder if you're the one who's going to have us on a first-name basis with the Emergency Room staff. On our recent flight to New York for your Uncle Pax and Aunt Sue's wedding, you were that baby who cried for almost an hour. You were super tired and needed a nap but were too wound up and distracted to do anything but fidget, and when that didn't satisfy, you cried. And cried. And cried. We were ready to see if they'd take you in checked baggage, but we didn't think they'd make the switch mid-flight, so we bought ourselves margaritas instead.

You know what, though? Sometimes, that extroverted nature that compelled you to stay awake despite your exhaustion because there was so much to see? Sometimes, it can be utterly delightful. In our tiny NYC hotel room, your dad thought it was adorable when you crawled around on our bed blowing raspberries (which you sometimes do for what feels like hours on end, a sound that is often the only noise you make). I thought it was cute, too, but I'd have rather you'd done it in the middle of the day than at 5 or 6 am. And at the wedding reception, when Tito the introvert wanted nothing more than to hide out in the choir room that served as the bride's prep room and read books because the music was too loud, you were utterly in your element. Your daddy could have danced all night with you in his arms, giggling with every bounce. There, you were the belle of the ball (apart from the bride, of course): our little party girl and our little daddy's girl. You look like him and you love a good party like he does.

Sometimes I wonder how these attributes offer hints of what you'll be like when you grow up. How will God use you for his glory and to build up his Kingdom on earth and in heaven? I pray that God will give us wisdom in how to channel your enthusiasm into productive outlets. Too often, Christians get a bad rap as kill-joys, especially for the more outgoing among us who can get frustrated and then become rebellious. Of course, I think that we have plenty of fun and I want to cultivate the type of family where we all have fun together. Sure, your dad and I will eventually be consigned to the "uncool" space that parents seem to inevitably occupy for a certain time of life, but oh how I pray that you will never doubt that the best joy, fun and freedom are found in the grace of Christ.

In the meantime, we are enjoying watching you grow and learn about life. You never took to baby food, but once I stopped trying to force-feed it to you, we figured out that you loved to eat the real stuff. You have been known to eat an adult-sized portion of meat (you LOVE protein - hamburger, elk, chicken, eggs), or a whole banana. You love to catch people's eyes and smile at them. You adore your brother and are already trying to imitate him; perhaps most endearingly, your brother taught you how to shake your head wildly back and forth. Except you're not quite as coordinated as he is, so your wiggle your head from side to side in what we call the "Indian head bobble." Kind of like a bobble head doll, actually. And you've figured out that you get lots of grins from people when you shake your head at them, so you are learning to work a room with that head shake.

I just had to wake you up from a nap and you looked at me groggily for about two seconds and then grinned. "Yay! It's people time again!" Yay for you, and yay for all of us. Life will always be such an adventure with you around (unless we're on an airplane).

Much love,
Your Momma

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