“Here you go, Jenn. You can have it,” is what my oldest born daughter informed me yesterday as she handed me my cell phone. Part of me wanted to laugh out loud, while the other part — the responsible parent side of my persona — let little Miss Clara Elizabeth know that she should call me Mommy. And thus is a fine example of just one of the many times per day when I’m torn between bursting out at the seams with laughter and scolding my child for saying and/or doing something inappropriate. Every parent has been there. Some decide to record these moments in a baby book. I have decided to embrace technology and document them for all to see in this blog.
Since the end of February, well actually since my pregnancy with Elyse became public, I feel as if this blog hasn’t given its due attention to Clara, my first living little peanut. For just over two years, Clara was my little sidekick. We spent many hours playing, shopping and just enjoying one another’s company. She accompanied me to important doctor’s appointments and ultrasounds. We took swimming class at the Y, snuggled on the couch while watching her favorite shows (Calliou, The Wiggles, Charlie Brown) and went on outings to the zoo and the library. She was my life, my focus and my closest companion for 27 months. But now, almost three-quarters of the way into her third year of life, Clara must share the spotlight with her younger sister, Elyse. I am very proud of how Clara has handled the biggest change in her life to date. She is a caring and generous older sister (today she shared one of her treasured stuffed Angel Kitties with Elyse) and helps me out by fetching diapers and Elyse’s burp cloth. When Elyse falls asleep in her bouncy seat, Clara covers her with a blanket and when she cries, Clara runs right to Elyse’s side to reassure her that everything will be okay (“It’s okay, Elyse. This is Clara.”).
Now that Clara is almost three and showing a strong sense of independence, I miss those moments when she used to cuddle with me or gift me with random pecks on the cheek. If I’m lucky enough to get a big hug from her (believe me, these are few and far between nowadays), I savor every second of it. Instead of getting routine kisses and snuggles, I now relish in moments of watching Clara grow and thrive. Her vocabulary is astounding — I honestly can’t believe how well she can communicate with Taylor and I. And this afternoon, she “read” to me one of the seven books we read before nap and bed times. She’s inquisitive, thoughtful, and really funny. (Just now, she turned off the light in the living room where I’m typing, turned up the stereo receiver and yelled to Taylor, “I make it loud! Let’s dance!” Yeah for Friday night dance parties with your toddler!).
It amazes me how much this one little person is such a wonderful combination of both Taylor and I. Before we had children, I always wondered what they would look like — would they get my nose, Taylor’s red hair, etc. I never imagined just how well our genes would combine to create Clara. I truly believe that she got the best of both of our features — my eyes, Taylor’s lips and a perfect blend of our respective hair colors. Even her personality reflects both of us — she has her father’s spontaneity, along with my cautious demeanor. You know you have one heck of a kid when both of your diverse personalities can reside harmoniously in one brain. :0)
I often think about NAIT and how little Clara fought so hard to be here. Even as a tiny infant, she knew how much we wanted her after all of the obstacles we faced before her conception. There isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t thank my lucky stars that somehow Clara was able to survive as my immune system sent antibodies to attack her platelets. She was born into this world with such a fighting spirit — a spirit I know will sustain her through the best and worst of her days.
I don’t know when she became this little person, but it happened in the blink of an eye. Like most moms, I can’t help but feel pangs of sadness when I see videos and pictures of Clara during her infancy. When she was a baby, I awoke each morning hoping that when I entered her nursery she would greet me with her beautiful little gummy smile. Now, I awake each morning excited to greet the day, as I know that when I walk into her big girl room, adorned with butterflies and flowers, the best of my day is yet to come.
Photo Credits: Chrissy Sarkady :0)