21. Her songs.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Oh, how I love this girl.

Thirteen months.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

You are over one year old now, sweet fella. I can hardly believe that. It seems like just a few weeks ago that I was nursing you in our chair, the copper leaves glowing on the oaks outside, as I ached for your struggling kidney and learned your face and the feel of your dear sweet body in my arms. You still lay in my arms for a while each night before bedtime, but now your arms and legs splay out from my body; you're so very big, but still we settle in for some nursing and a bottle, rocking in the dark. You are still my baby, just an evergrowing and everchanging one.

You're crawling now, at last, a sweet grabby little belly-slither that isn't quite perfected but nonetheless gets you where you'd like to go. Where do you most like to go? To our feet, to be picked up and snuggled in our arms. Your contentedness with our arms (and your bouncer, and exersaucer) is doubtless some of the reason that movement's coming late to you. And that's fine. All in due time, buddy. At your own pace.

We x-rayed your head at your checkup this week, just to make sure you did have teeth. They're in there, taking their time just as your movement is, hanging out, slow to appear. In the meantime, you're managing to eat an amazing array of food without teeth. Prunes; crackers; chopped chicken; cooked veggies. No problem for my fella! Gums of Steel!

Your laugh has two sounds to it: a lovely gravelly huh-huh-huh, and when you're seriously tickled at something, a lovely inbreath of a squeak. The squeak developed first, and the huh-huh followed a few months later, and both of them can make me breathless with love for you. You smile often, your eyes dancing with what looks like mischief.

Twenty pounds, six ounces. Three months ago, you were thirteen pounds. Apparently you needed some extra calories; we added some formula to your diet, and you've grown like a weed ever since. I'm so proud of your chubby little legs and your round little face now. It feels like we've conquered this together (along with your surgery, along with that nasty scalp infection last spring). You've been through a lot, little guy, and you just keep marching on, overcoming your hurdles and impressing the heck out of me. Out of all of us, actually.

Your hair was black when you were born, and you were almost bald for a little while, but now you're growing in a spiky, cowlicked head of dark blonde or light brown hair. Your once-blue eyes are turning brown, the same lovely deep brown that your daddy has. Your feet are still a little small (or is it that your sister's are huge and I'm unaccustomed to normal feet?). Your head seems big, since hats for your age group generally are too small for you.

The past month has been chaotic at our house; your mom and dad decided to remove some ugly paneling and add some drywall to parts of the house, and our world's been covered in drywall dust and mud splatters and primer and paint and (tomorrow, thank God) new carpet and re-installed moldings. You've hardly noticed; you soldier on, hanging out with us in the safe areas of the house, walking through the chaos just to get to bed. I sure hope that we're in this house for many many years, and that you'll ask someday to see pictures of how funky and dated this house was when we bought it, and be amazed.

Things you love: Your grammy and aunt Leigh. Your sister, always, even when she's bossing you around. Our sweet Clairedog. Being outside whenever possible. Toys. (No particular favorite, but you can sit with a basketful of toys for quite a while, playing with one and then another.) You love Cheerios, but seem to love pureed food and cereal a bit more, flapping and cooing with enthusiasm when we sit down with a bowl to feed you. Oh, and television, most especially the Fraggles DVDs at Grammy's house. Your binky (just like your sister at your age, one is absolutely required for bedtime). And always, always, you love to be held, love your milk (both kinds), and love your momma most of all.

And I eat that up. You are such a blessing, Quinton. The next year will bring your first steps, your first sentences, the beginnings of a relationship with you that's more verbal and less tactile. I'm looking forward to all that, but I must admit: I also love this gentle time of cuddles and bottles and watching you learn to crawl. Thanks for stretching your babyhood out a little longer; it is a treasure to me--

As are you. Happy Birthday, buddy.

More gratefuls.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

9) For a half hour spent driving round neighborhoods after dinner, prowling for pretty Christmas lights, with my toddler jangling her new jingle bell ornament incessantly and insisting that we sing along. Headache-inducing, but glorious fun.

10) For living in the same town with my parents, and such close relationships between my kids and my family. It's impossible to imagine raising them anywhere else now, and I feel so blessed that I have a husband willing to suffer the indignities of finding work in a small town so that we could be here.

11) For blinds ordered off the internet (lowestpriceblinds.com) at crazy too-good-to-be-true prices, but it was true. They're high quality, they look fantastic, and I have been deemed Good Wife for having made the purchase (whew! Relief.).

12) For a handyman/carpenter that I can trust with my house, who's reinstalling 100-year-old woodwork beautifully over the drywall we just had installed. For a careful, slow painter who'll come in and paint said woodwork, because we do not have the time this month to do it ourselves. For a completely trustworthy flooring installation business, who'll be here Friday to replace the 50-year-old carpet. Things have been chaotic, but they're progressing nicely now, and peace is not far off.

13) For a gal who, when asked what she wants from Santa this year, replies ardently, "a candy cane." Lord, help us preserve this sweet innocence and lack of the gimmes as long as we can.

14) For Andrew Peterson's Behold the Lamb album, which has been deepening our Christmas season for years now. It centers me on the true celebration, helps me cut through the chaos.

15) For a husband who can whip up some blackened salmon and green beans while I'm out buying groceries.

16) For a son who, on cue, waved an enthusiastic goodbye to his grandparents visiting from Georgia today. (Waves are rare.)

17) For the candles in our windows-- battery operated, true, but still lovely flickering things that burn all night and make our house look so festive from the street.

18) For the gallons of flat paint we're using on the walls being mysteriously marked down to $16.95. For my busy husband being willing to prime and paint walls and ceiling ourselves, which literally saved us thousands.

19) For a beautiful padded laptop sleeve from LL Bean's clearance online that kept me from having to create one myself.

20) For a warm bed upstairs that's calling my name right now. Goodnight, all.

Hold me, Jesus.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

8) Gracie was watching some Christian cartoon on Aaron's computer this morning. I was listening from the living room-- I heard it explain the story about Jesus' resurrection, and wondered idly if she'd ever seen a kids' presentation of that before. (I know we've covered it at church, but lots of stuff goes over her head there.)

Afterward, she came straight to me, climbed up into my lap, looked at me earnestly (almost sadly), and said, "Mama, I want Jesus to come HOLD ME. Now."

I was a bit floored. I bumbled about with descriptions about how He holds us with his heart, and through our family, but she wasn't having that. Mama Holding was no substitute for Jesus Holding. When Claire began barking a few minutes later, she popped up, exclaimed, "Is Jesus here?!", and started running for the door.

My heart broke with thankfulness and something close to sorrow over this. I so want her to love him. I do not know how to explain him to her, though.