Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Happy Birthday to my beautiful baby Layla Grace.
The day after Ella turned two I took a pregnancy test- it was positive. Shocker.
Nine months later a beautiful red headed baby entered our lives just as the sun was rising.
I knew she was going to be a spirited baby to put it mildly. Anytime the nurses moved her arms she screamed in protest only to quickly calm immediately when they let go. This girl knew what she wanted.
I remember her sisters coming with my best friend and her husband and kids to visit their new baby for the first time.
Throughout my pregnancy Ella had a hard time dealing with feeling replaced. She insisted I call her "baby" not girl of any form. Shed even shout during lullabies if I sang little girl so all lyrics had to be changed to baby. She would snuggle up against my big round belly and say "I'm your baby, mama"
And she was. And she is.
The first thing she said to me after looking at the face of her new baby sister was
" Mama I want to be a big girl now. I need to be her big sister."
That is one of my favorite memories.
And what wonderful big sisters shes had.
Over the past year its been a joy - often bittersweet as i hate to see each phase fade away- watching Layla develop.
She has maintained that take no prisoners attitude and shown a perseverance Ive never before seen in any person. One day this will suit her well in her endeavours but in the meantime I have been run ragged meeting the demands of this beautiful tyrant. She will not stop crying or yelling til you give her what she wants and immediately her cries cease.
One day at about six months I decided some tough love. I was finishing up a sewing project for Laci and decided that when Layla started crying in her jumperoo she would just have to wait.I was nearby talking soothingly to her the whole time not ten feet away in the same room and fully visible. I wanted her to learn she didn't have to be on my person to be with me.
A forty five minute stand off ensued.
She cried. She wailed. she screamed til she was hoarse.
I wanted to pick her up but felt this progress and tears would be wasted so as I heard winding down (likely from exhaustion and sore throat not lack of will) I went to her and said her name.
She turned her head-away from me.
I said her name again.
She stared blankly ahead vacantly.
I picked her up and tried to cuddle her.
She didn't respond.
She had gone pretty much into a disassociative state at the drop of a hat.
She was punishing me.
It was then I realized what a personality I had on my hands. She surely had more force of will than I had. I was in for it.
It persists still and while the above story sounds like she is a "brat" or hard to deal with she isnt. She needs ALOT , but she gives a lot.
She has the brightest smile and heartiest laugh. She kisses with gusto. Her personality is huge and she already plays tricks on us and jokes around.
She brings so much joy to our lives on a daily basis. Though she is demanding and rotten as they come, her personality filled adventurous spirit and the ensuing adventures are making so many memories for us. Much more so than of she were the average Laid back child. (at least this is what I tell myself while picking up scraps of shredded toilet paper or retrieving her from whatever obscure place she has squeezed herself into)
As I've watched her grow over the last year and traits develop the sweetest to develop is the sisterly bond my three girls share.
Laci and Ella were very close. And now Layla completes it. They share a love I don't see in many siblings. Her first words every morning are "ella ella" calling for her big sister. The big sister who didn't want to be a big girl but one look at this baby and she knew she must take her place. I think somehow something happened in that moment that bonded them together because the love they share is deep and beautiful.
Layla you have been such a joy to your family. I love cuddling with you all day and if that is what you need, I will happily oblige. The house can be cleaned another time, messes will always return but these precious moments with you as a baby are far too fleeting and far too few. You are beautiful like your sisters and your personality complements theirs. With two kids we thought we were finished but you came along and proved how wrong we were. You were the missing beautiful piece that tied it all together and made the family complete. You have captured all our hearts. We love you baby girl. Happy first Birthday!
For the coming year may I ask one thing? Please stop growing so fast. I know you want to be like your sisters but I need you to be a baby for just a bit longer....