Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Wow! Here we are. Our third Christmas together as a family. Quinn's third Christmas as a living human.  For the last two years, I can't even count the number of times someone would say, "Enjoy it while you can! They grow so fast. She will be 20 before you know it." I felt myself smiling and nodding, more often than not shrugging off that cliche' statement that I've heard a thousand times. It didn't quite have the same relavance then as it suddenly had as of yesterday.

This Christmas was the first time it REALLY hit us. Quinn IS getting older and wiser. It is happening so quickly and I didn't fully realize how far she had come until last night when everyone had left our house and Mike and I were laying in bed, retracing the day and suddenly pinpointing all of the huge developments that Quinn has so subtly made right under our noses.

We often joke about how Quinn has a secret life that we don't know about. She goes to school every day during the week and for a full nine hours does activities, plays with class mates, learns new things...and we are not there to experience it with her. And when she gets home, we see little traces of the things she has learned throughout the week. One evening, she came up to me out of the blue and said "Mommy, you count, I hide..." and she proceeded to hide under the coffee table until I found her. Once I did, she squealed with excitement and shouted  "I count, now YOU hide!" She ran to the corner, covered her eyes and said, "One, two, ee, ahh, five, six, seben, eight, nine, ten, eleben....Ready I come!!" I was hiding in the pantry in shock, SHE CAN COUNT PAST THREE?!... blurry eyed and giggling, trying to hold back crying/laughing. The last thing I wanted to do was jump out of a dark closet with raccoon eyes, choking back crying and heaving like a lunatic... so I just played it off and hugged her once she found me. When I pick her up from school each day, I'll ask her how her day was and she will give me a laundry list of answers, "It was good. I play outside with my fwends. I color. I cried because i was vewy vewy sad. I drank milk. I build a robot wif my legos...ummmm...hmmm." These days when Quinn takes a bath, each of her little toys have a voice and make conversation with eachother. "Ohh, horsie, you so sad?" ::in a tiny high pitched voice::"yes i am! I miss my mommy!" "Oh! Do you need a baby blanket and hafta lay in you bed?" "Yes I do! and I want milk too!" "Ok! Here you go! Now stay in your bed and go to sweep!" I sit on the bath mat, just watching her, not wanting to laugh too loudly because I don't want her to feel embarassed about using her imagination once she watches me creepily staring at her, with big blurry eyes, grinning.

On Christmas Eve/Christmas, Mike and I had our first glimpse into the secret life of Quinn. She had asked us if we could walk down the street to watch our neighbors ride their dirtbikes in the field in front of our house. One thing led to another and we wound up hanging out with their family all night and the following day, standing in front of their firepit telling parenting stories as we watched our kids play. They have a little four year old named Holt who Quinn clicked with instantly. She was jumping off of dirt piles with him, exploring the grass, climbing trees. She even picked up a worm and wasn't scared at all, she was just too excited to show him her discovery. As much as we wanted to help her climb, or run over every time she looked unsteady, we just uneasily let her do her thing....and she was just fine. More than just fine. She was able to hold her own without mommy and daddy hovering over her. Mike and I would both look at eachother from across the fire and just smile... our little girl was keeping up with a little boy twice her age and she was absolutely loving it, and she didn't need our help.

On Christmas morning, Holt showed up at our house in his two-seater Gator that he got for Christmas and asked if he could drive Quinn around. She hopped right in the passenger seat, leopard pajamas and a head full of messy hair and we watched the two of them drive down the sidewalk, into the sunrise (haha!). Quinn would crack up laughing every time Holt went fast or drove down a tiny hill. It was the kind of belly laugh that makes everyone around you start laughing too. They would whisper things in eachother's ears and hold hands when she needed his help climbing something or if she got scared. Mike and I probably had gooney smiles ear to ear, our eyes were tearing up as we huddled together in the cold, watching our little girl play and be a kid. Ahh, I can barely write about how sweet and endearing it was to watch without welling up.

This morning, I took a few moments to scroll back through the entries in my blog where I oogled over every little thing she did as a baby. The first time she cooed, the first time she rolled over, her first steps, our aventures in walking and falling, dancing to her favorite you tube videos....there were so many that I documented and I am so grateful because those first moments that meant so much as a baby are getting burried underneathe all of the many new feats and memories that occur so rapidly now. I envision The Princess and the Pea, but instead of the princess, it's Quinn sitting atop all of her baby-hood memories, piling up on eachother as the years go by.

As we approach pottytraining, the excitement of no longer dealing with diapers is coupled with the extreme sadness that our last tie to her babyhood will officially be gone. The times during the day when I am able to get Quinn to settle down enough to let me quickly change her diaper have always been some of my favorite times with her. They are little bonding moments for me, ones that we've shared with her since she was born. Her diapers are the last small tie to the day when she was born and everything that has come after it. The moment she puts on those Minnie Mouse panties (and actually keeps them on all day) will be a bittersweet day for me.

We are down to only a few words that Quinn still pronounces funny...she has learned how to say most of the other ones correctly now. She no longer says "howareya" when she tries to say Olivia. Ah, that one was the best. I guess I'll just have to hang onto her calling escalators "alligators" until she soon grows out of that one as well.

So, here is to paying attention to all of the little things in life and reflecting on them frequently, focusing and encouraging positive behavior in ourselves and in our children, and to giving our kiddos every opportunity to be innocent, happy children while they are still able.

Merry Christmas and wishing everyone the best in 2013!!

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