Today our Livvy Lara ("Lou") is a half year old, and she is more marvelous than ever before. We're celebrating the occasion and the Memorial Day holiday by having friends over to play badminton in our backyard, eat shish kabobs, and drink bottles of cold beer. Also, Nekos is in the kitchen right now coaxing a watermelon into absorbing a bottle of vodka. Livvy is napping, Tessa is at my mom's for another few hours, and I have time for a moment to sit down and write about my children, who infuse so much joy into my days (especially when they're napping and away at grandma's).
Lately I've been reveling in the sweet relief I feel now that the newborn stage is over, and we are on our way to the walking-talking stage of babyhood that thrills me. New this month for Livvy: She started eating some table foods (an occasional cracker, a pinch of pancake, along with the pureed fruits and veggies I've been giving her here and there). After all, she has two sharp milk teeth, and she wants to try them out. I'm trying to be more consistent about feeding her solids, but there are still several days in a row that will go by when she gets just mother's milk. And I know that's fine, too. Our "nursing relationship" is better than ever. Most impressively, Livvy now sits up nice and tall all by herself without falling over. It's been so neat to be able to put her down just about anywhere with a couple of toys and have her play; this small bit of independence seems to have made both of us much happier. Her newest feat is getting up on all fours and rocking back and forth like a marathon runner right before the gun pop, so I know crawling is in our near future. I'm not in such a hurry for that though.
Oh My God: Livvy started sleeping through the night this last month. In the last 10 days she's only woken up once in the middle of the night. She generally sleeps from 7:30 p.m. to about 7 a.m. If she does wake up to eat, it's around 5 a.m. and then, belly full, she'll happily go back to sleep for another couple hours. Lastly, Livvy is a snuggle-holic. Girlfriend loves to kiss and hug and throw her arms around my neck and nestle her head under my chin when I'm carrying her around. She is a happy, easy baby, and she brings me so very much joy.
As for Tessa, who is 3 years and two months old: Reports from the frontlines had me believing that age 3 was going to be a real bitch. And I know I'm only two months into it, but so far it's been anything but. Tessa throws fewer fits (and they don't last as long when she does have them, though they are still remarkably loud and annoying), and she is hilarious on a daily basis. Best of all, she lives entirely within the four walls of her imagination. I like to crawl in there with her sometimes and check the place out. It's a hell of an amusing place to be. Tessa is in a naked phase and doesn't like to have clothes on if she doesn't have to. So her scrumptious naked brown belly and booty are common sights around here. Tessa picks out almost all of her own outfits now and dresses herself every day, usually while I'm upstairs scrambling to get Livvy dressed or fed or bathed so I can get us all out the door. Tessa's independence has been handy, but it's also been coupled with a sweetness I haven't known until now. She regularly requests time to "snuggle" with me--every night before bed but also randomly throughout the day. I don't know if it's her way to steal some mama time away from Livvy or not, but whatever the motivation, I am totally down with it. This little girl has my heart; she is my heart. Oh, and also: We pray now. After books, before snuggles, we say all the things we're thankful for. I've always found prayer really soothing and grounding, even though I do it inconsistently, but I love sharing these quiet moments with Tessa, in the fading darkness of her bedroom with our hands pressed together and our heads bowed.
Dear God, I am grateful for Tessa and Livvy. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you.
All the crocheted accessories in this post were a generous gift from Nakia Kammerzell, who I met through my blog ... or maybe through Instagram. She lives in Washington, runs a darling little Etsy shop called nakiaKhandmade (check it out!), and needed a couple of little girls to model her wares because she has two boys. We were happy to oblige!