I swear she was just four months old…
That’s high school.
And somehow, that’s her whole life…
Certainly worth celebrating.Balloon drop!The kids got to chase Andy, the mean dragon, around the house, squirting him with water.
There are so many parts of her personality right now that I want to remember.
With Monica as her example, she often acts far older than her years, and I admit, I often expect more out of her than I should. When push comes to shove, tears and fits and time outs are usually involved. But her favorite and best way of calming down is to just crawl into someone’s lap. She’s been like that for as long as I can remember.
“Remember,” I would tell Andy, holding one year old Lu, “Sometimes she just needs a lap.”
Her care for babies astounds me. Real or fictitious. I’ve probably mentioned this before, but if there is a baby in the room, you cannot pull her away. She stands attentively by the mom, reaching out to stroke baby’s head, wiggle baby’s toes, coo and soothe and pat, pat, pat. Friends often comment on how some day she’ll be a great babysitter.
I’m tempted to say, she’d be one now!
If you could see the way she cares for her favorite baby doll, I think you’d be shocked. The way she rocks and burps and dresses and feeds and sings…it’s as if she’s holding a real baby. It’s not uncommon for us to be chatting in the kitchen, and she’ll have her feet planted, baby on her shoulder, bouncing gently up and down, all the while discussing lunch or life or siblings. It’s like she’s another Mom in the room.
She talks about her day in terms of her babies: “My baby also loves carrots…She’s one year old and it’s her birthday today…He is going to the pool too…I have one baby in my belly and one that is two…My husband works, so I take care of my baby…She does not like to get dressed…My baby loves her bath…” Anything and everything comes back to her baby.Favorite gift? New clothes for her baby doll.
You can imagine the excitement in her eyes every time we discuss the arrival of her next sibling. Here is a video of both the girls, feeling their baby sister kick from a couple months back. Lulu’s face is my very, very favorite:
I understand that pretending to be a mom is not the same as actually being one (oh, boy, I understand!), and I try not to project into my children’s futures too much. But if she’s blessed to be a mom, and shows her real kiddos half the love, patience and attention she shows babies today, she’ll be a much better mom than I. And I say that in complete honesty, without a drop of exaggeration.
Other things to remember about four-year-old-Lulu:
- She loves to smell things. Flowers. Food. If I have just put gum in my mouth or chewed chocolate chips, she will stop me mid-sentence, “Mama! What do you have in your mouth?” and then she’ll close her eyes, breathe deeply and smile as I gently exhale on her face. “Mmmm.”
- I can’t get anything involving food past this kid. She can hear me opening a snack from the very farthest seat in the back of our van. If I mention the “S” word (snack) in the kitchen, she’ll hear me from her bedroom. Babies and food. Lulu’s motivators.
- She’s a spider smasher. While Mo is a catch and release kinda gal, Lulu will often proudly show me the tissue with the squished remains of her latest find.
- She dresses herself in mostly pinks and purples. And I take it as a genuine compliment when she says, “Mommy, I love your clothes today.” She knows.
- She has a beyond-her-years sense of empathy. If I’m having a bad day, she will notice. She will ask if I’m ok. She will give me a hug. And then she’ll dust her room, because she knows that cleaning up “fills my bucket.” She is concerned when other people are sad, and is the first to bring Dom his blankie or favorite car if he is inconsolable. She delivers them with a gentle pat, pat on his back or runs her fingers through his hair, “It’s ok Dom Dom. You’re ok…”
- Her hair is silky smooth and super soft, a completely different texture than her siblings or parents. And she has a lot of it! She’s always had great hair, and the sun is bleaching parts of it into a naturally beautiful body of highlights.
- At the dinner table, she is always the first to ask how Andy’s day was. I love her understanding of what her favorite engineer does, “Did you do math and talk to people today Daddy?”
These past four years have flown faster than I thought possible. So much has happened, and there’s still so much more to come. You remain, as always, our fire and ice. A perfect combination of my temper and your daddy’s compassion. You move through this world bringing smiles and laughter to everyone you meet, and the confidence and purposefulness in your stride, says “Look out world! Here I come.” Whoever you are in this life ahead, be it mother, sister, daughter, friend, coworker, boss, caregiver, wife…the limitless list… you will also forever be this lovely, endearing and caring little girl I see today.
Today and always,