I love the way little ones cup their chubby hands together to hold a snack. Her little hands and sweet eyelashes melted my heart.
Most of the time she is wild. She takes rubber bands out of her hair and rubs food in it. She undresses and puts on terrible combinations of outfits, usually with the shirt inside out and backwards and the pants from someone else’s drawers. She is forever climbing on top of kitchen counters, bathroom counters, tables. She turns water on in sinks and walks away. She can open doors now, getting into nail polish, big sister’s candy, makeup, soap, markers, you name it. She learned how to open the front door and will quietly follow family members outside. Earlier this week I ran outside to catch someone with a message before they drove away. When I turned around to walk back inside she was running down the driveway toward me, barefoot on the ice. Did I mention she won’t keep her shoes on? Honestly, she often looks like an orphan.
Yet she loves showers, baths, getting her diaper changed, washing her hands. Pretty much she loves water. If it is in a container somewhere she will pour it out. If I don’t clear the table fast enough she dumps every glass of water into one container, no matter how small the container of her choice may be, usually ending in a huge puddle on the table and floor, with her sitting in the middle of it.
She is wild, and yet there is a side of her that is all mine. She wants to be with her family and is wary of strangers. She’s afraid of the trash truck when it drives down our street. She nicknamed herself Puddles and I love it. Sometimes she calls me Mommy puddles. She is afraid of going to sleep alone in her room. She sings and hums to herself. She LOVES to color: on walls, on tables, on my counters and cabinets, on homework that belongs to the big kids, in my books, anywhere.
She wakes up happy and as the school mornings go on and the attention remains focused on the older children, she gets increasingly irritable and when they all leave at last, she needs me all to herself for a while before she’s herself again. She loves to read books. She’ll let me read it once and then she takes the book and says, “Now I am going read it to YOU.” She marches around the house yelling “Fe, Fi, Fo, Fum! I smell blood of an English MAN!” and then she laughs and yells and dances in a circle. She sings “I am a child God!” at the top of her lungs. She eats like a horse. She LOVES babies in all forms: dolls, books, and of course, the real thing.
She’s been avoiding her Dad lately, as if to punish him for being gone so much. This week he spent a lot of time with her to reconnect. She ended up riding around on his shoulders yelling at everyone, “Get out of my house!” We all looked at her and laughed, and then she threw back her head and laughed too. She loves to pretend to be a monster, but when she’s feeling sensitive she tells me “I am a baby girl monster.” She growls with the best of them and gets out the tickle monster gloves to chase us all around the house. She is amazing.
But when all is said and done she is my little girl who loves to be snuggled and tickled and hugged. There is still a part of her that is my baby and these pictures captured that part. She is not what I expected; she is so much more. And I can’t help but wonder what kind of adventure we’ll have watching her grow up.
For now, I’ll give her goldfish crackers and smile at her pudgy little hands.
I love you, Puddles!