Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011
Tonight I’m noticing how big my girl is getting. After her bath, I bent to kiss her newly washed hair and realized it’s long enough now to brush against my lips.
To put on her night-night diaper and keep her from rolling away repeatedly, I had to wrestle with her and sing to her (the Yo Gabba Gabba lyrics, “Settle down, settle down now … we got our wiggles out and now it’s time to settle down” sometimes work … briefly). Long gone are the times of my girl peacefully lying there cooing and grinning while she was diapered and dressed.
Back in the living room, she actually wanted to nurse for once – it is an activity very low on her totem pole these days – and I just sat in the silence and watched her face, thinking how nursing is the only time she still resembles her newborn self, and soon there will be no more of these times.
When she was finished, she arched her back and slid toward my knees to let me know she wanted to get down and play. She went to jostle the telephone cord and jumped when I said, “No, no,” then gave me a mischievous grin. Later, she pulled up on the armchair to babble eagerly at Alistair, who scrunched back farther in the chair and regarded her warily. Then she went to press buttons on the fan with one hand, clutching a crumpled piece of paper with the other – at moments like these she doesn’t realize she’s almost standing up by herself; other moments she is too afraid to let go of my hands.
My girl has always had a mind of her own, but at almost 10 months old, she is getting better and better at asserting what she wants. She snatches the pacifier from my hand so she can put it in her mouth herself. She refuses the spoon unless you alternate the baby food with something she can feed herself, like green beans or peas or sweet potato puffs. When Daddy leaves the room, she protests loudly and then crawls speedily after him. When I try to strap her into the car seat, she flails her arms, arches her back, turns on her side, and fervently repeats, “Nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah!” her word for “Hey, quit doing that!”
In just 2 months and 1 week, my girl will be a year old. We’ve already set a date for her birthday party. Most of the time I’m eager for the future, excited to hear her first words and see her first steps, to be able to talk with her and play games and hear her speak her thoughts out loud.
Other times, like tonight, I’m a little sad, thinking of how fast it has all passed. Nine months of pregnancy seemed to drag on forever, but the first 9 months of Ruby’s life have been like the beating of a butterfly’s wings – just as fleeting and just as beautiful.
And so tonight when I put her to bed in her crib, I will hold her soft little hand until she falls asleep, the way she likes. Though bending over the crib kills my back, I’ll try to remember, she’ll only want this for so long. She’ll only be a little baby for so long.