Hello, Ms. Personality. I’m praying for your future boyfriends, friends, teachers, leaders and members of your social circle today. Praying hard. Because you, my dear, are what we lovingly refer to around these parts as “Pistol Pete.” Your opinions are forming faster than we can take note of, but the short list is that you love wall vents, floor vents, ceiling vents, electrical outlets, crawling to said outlets, drawstrings, socks, fabric of any variation and form and you do not love naps, sleep, laying down, cribs, sheets, quiet nursing or calming music. You are a 100% bona fide party animal with a stubbornness that resulted in repeated 10:30pm bedtimes three nights this week. You also do not love the word, “No.” (Clearly.)
I don’t know where you get it. I truly do not. I choose naps. Always and forever. And I am anxiety-ridden, yes, but I am also easily the laziest, most easy-going, “I don’t care where we eat for dinner and I really mean it” kind of girl that exists. I am the most compliant citizen in the universe and I love the word “No.” I thrive on instructions and love to be told what to do, exactly how to do it and when it needs to be finished. And your father?
Oh. I see it now, Bee.
Speaking of that strong-willed man, your father is a rock of the raddest variety. (A gem, even – ha! Geological pun!) He’s been so patient with your bedtime refusals and quirky defiance that I’m sending him away on a snowboarding weekend while we fend for ourselves. It’s going to be a rocky one, I fear, and I’m not talking about the slopes.
We’re on round three and month two of sleep-training – a game that grows less fun the more we play. It’s like Monopoly – the process goes on forever and ever and eventually everyone is exhausted and not thinking clearly and then all the sudden there’s a pricey deposit on a hotel down the street. But we’re sticking with it, and last night bedtime only took one hour, which is kind of an Olympic record around here. Bronze, yes, but progress.
The good news is that you are undeniably cute when you’re fighting sleep. Unlike your parents, you don’t grow angered as you tire – you’re just entertained all the more. Suddenly, everything is funny and your mind turns manic as the slap-happiness enters your bloodstream and you collapse into a fit of giggles. Last night, an orange block sent you into the belliest of all belly laughs as it sat on the carpet, just sitting there, existing. Hilarious.
Your ability to crawl is giving us front row seats to the “Things That Interest Our Daughter” show, and so far, the performance is very long. You are mesmerized by everything – a curiosity that is equal parts inspiring and exhausting as your father and I mentally tick off the inordinate amount of baby hazards that exist within your reach. Sometimes I sit back and watch you as you busy yourself – constantly on the move – peeking around corners and under rugs and through gaps to satisfy your urge to discover more, more, more. You’re the perfect illustration of your nickname – a bee, buzzing through this world, searching and busying and burning a seemingly-endless amount of energy.
Perhaps we’d be enjoying an easier pace had we nicknamed you Turtle?
And yet, I am head-over-heels for you. Yesterday, during another one of your nap-fighting stints, I snuck into your room to check in on you and you were ever-so-carefully tracing the lines of the wood-paneled wall as you babbled to your knitted doll, Clementine. And all the sudden, you were 12 years old and I had entered your sacred slumber party to be met with a trio of eye rolls and two-syllable “Mo-om”s.
Because the truth is, Bee, you are 6-months going on a 6th grader. You have this zest, this energy that simultaneously delights and terrifies me. I suppose every parent feels this way when they begin to see glimpses of their child’s personality, previews of the coming attraction. Because now, it’s real. We’re a family – full of defiance and struggles and independence and beauty and laughter and surprise.
And whether it’s separation anxiety or teething or baby-proofing floor vents, we’re going to get through it together. You, me, your father and the super funny orange block.