Sunday, August 16, 2009

Now I lay me down to sleep...

"Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep,
thy angels watch me through the night,
and keep me in their blessed sight."

As my little Abbie finally quiets down and goes to sleep after another full day of fun and laughter, I finally gather some time to write about her. I have missed doing this.

The two year mark of when Abigail joined us is rapidly approaching, and once again I look backwards, to the leaps and advances she has made in the last twelve months.

Her personality is really shining through, now, no longer tentative, rather palpable and strongly marked. She's really a happy little girl. I am sure that some of her happiness is due to us, her parents, who shower her with love and affection and strive to make each and every day a joyous experience for her. But I am also convinced that while nurture has had its impact, nature has indelibly imprinted her spirit with a bliss that goes beyond outside influences. At least I hope so, and pray for this every day, because I only want her happiness.

Abigail has a unique laugh, we call it "her funny laugh". It springs out of nowhere, seemingly aroused but nothing at all, except a sense of cheer sprouting from her inner recesses. She's always done this. I might be driving somewhere with her, or she might be "reading" one of her books, and *boom!*, you hear this effervescent and impetuous laugh: "haaaaahaaaaahaaaaahaaaaaa!" Sometimes, she'll make a comment to herself about whatever she thinks it's so funny -- "haaaaahaaaaahaaaaa! *mumble mumble mumble* haaaahaaaahaaaaa!". It's the cutest thing, and every time I hear it, my heart warms up. She definitely has her eccentricities, much like her mother.

She's scared of nothing, which in and of itself is not necessarily a good thing, not always. For example -- some time ago we went to the bookstore (she loves books). We sat for a while, reading, until she got up and went to say "Hi" to some lady who was sitting a few feet from us. She started talking to the woman, and almost immediately climbed on to the stranger's lap handing her a book to read. On another occasion, she decided to befriend a couple with two kids while we were shopping. Since they reciprocated her attention, Abigail thought it might be fun to go home with them. So she followed them out of the store, trying to catch up to the woman, offering her hand to her. She didn't like it when I told her she just couldn't go with the strangers.

She's a tomboy and a girly-girl all in one. She loves to wear my earrings, which I carefully place around her ears when she asks me to ("earrings, pease!") -- she then gives me one of her bright, toothy smiles and shakes her head to and fro, just to hear the sound of the earring flapping. She always wants to wear my necklaces, preferring the long ones, and when she does, she twirls around, showing off her jewelry, happy as a clam. She'll leave the necklace on for hours while she goes about her business. As most girls her age, Abigail also loves my high heel shoes, and whenever she finds a pair, she'll wear them around the house, holding on to anything she can.

She loves to sing, and dance. Her latest song is "Fuzzy and Blue", from Sesame Street. "Fuzzy and Blue!!!!!!", Abigail will erupt at any point in time. Another one of her favorites is the Sesame Street theme song. "Sunny day!!!!!!" she'll scream, and I'll say "sweeping the....", "clouds away!!!!", she'll chime in right away. That's how we sing the whole song together. As far as the dancing goes, when she's not running or climbing, then she's dancing. Music, no music, that doesn't really matter. I said before, and I stand by it, she dances to her own harmony.

She has one of the richest vocabularies of most toddlers her age. I know it sounds like I am tooting my own horn -- I am really not, but of course I am proud of it for her sake. I never had any way of knowing for sure, until her pediatrician expressed amazement, at Abbie's 18-month appointment, at how articulate Abigail is and the complexity of her vocabulary. Since then, Abbie has learned many more words, and to express most of what she wants, thinks, feels, with clarity and correctly, though still in a limited and simple fashion. She points out things I had no idea she had even noticed, let alone identify. She talks to us about her day, or her wishes -- when her daddy gets home from work, for example ("Ah fun at the carousel, Daddy! Ah go back to carousel morrow, mamy?"). Lately, when I go get her in the morning, I say: "Did you sleep well, honey?", and she responds: "Ah did, mamy!". This morning, she shocked us by saying: "Ah had good sleep, Ah dream o' mamy, Ah dream o' daddy!" I had no idea she knew what "dreaming" is.

She's so very warm and loving. While she's not cuddly, she always hugs me, and kisses me, and spontaneously tells me that she "lowes (or 'awes')" me. Sometimes she tells me that she likes me ("Ah laike you, mamy!"), which usually makes me chuckle: "I like you too, Abbie! I'll keep ya!" She loves to play the "Kissy Game" before she goes to sleep: while in mine or Christopher's arms, she wants each of us to kiss one of her cheeks at the same time, then she wants us to kiss each other while she laughs, with her arms around our necks, right before she joins in the kissing-fest. It's one of my favorite times of the day.

She absolutely and earnestly loves her little friends, and my friends, too, they are her family. Her favorite pal is William, but she aches to spend time with her other favorites, "Maxxie" (Max), "Gia" (Julia), "Mir" (Amir), "Samm" (Sam), "Nav" (Arnav). She will worry about them when she doesn't see them for a while, and never, ever, stops asking me about them. William went to NY state for a couple of weeks, and Abigail asked me every day about him... "Wee-yam ok, Mamy? Wee-yam ok? Where Wee-yam?" she would say with a tiny, worried voice. Or "Ah go Wee-yam today mamy!" she'd incite. She now asks that about Max, who has moved to Indiana, and left one sad little friend behind.

She's very playful. She never, ever, gets enough playing time. We have invented some games together. Her absolute favorite is "Sammich", a.k.a. sandwich for the rest of us. She came up with the name on her own, and pretty much the whole game, too. "Sammich" consists of Abigail laying on a blanket, with Christopher and myself at each end of it. We lift her up in the blanket and swing her back and forth, like a hammock. We also invented a song to go along with the motions: "Sandwich, sandwich, Abigail's a sandwich....! Sandwich, sandwich, Abigail's a sandwich!" She gets the biggest kick out of this. Then there's the "Mamy and Daddy!" game: Abbie goes to the opposite end of the room, her daddy and I both hide under the blanket and she comes running to us, exhilarated in the anticipation of throwing her arms around us while we fling the blanket over her. There are tons of things that we create together, most of them springing from Abbie's own ingenuity and imagination. Her latest thrill are stickers... "Steeekkessss!!!!", "Ah get a' steekess, mamy! Ah play a' steekess!" She puts those things all over herself, all over the house, the car, every square inch of our habitat is covered in stickers. First, she slowly peels them off, and strategically places them on herself. When she runs out of space on her own body, she'll start putting them on me, on the dog, and, lastly, on any and all surfaces within her reach. I spend hours peeling them off.

Of course, life with Abigail is not always a sweet lollipop wrapped in candy colored paper. There are times when we are at odds. Times when she wants to impose her 2-year old will over my *censored*-year old one. Times when she says "no" when I really want her to say "yes", times when she won't listen to me, and times when she runs me ragged. I have never been this tired in my whole life. Or worried -- because I worry about her, constantly, about the things I won't be able to spare her or help her out of, I fear that my silent prayers may not always be heard. But I have also never been this amused, this fulfilled and this hopeful that my little happy girl will grow up and continue to be what she's always been, happy. I would never go back to a life without her, and I could never live without her.

I wake up every morning waiting for her little voice to start chirping over the monitor, signaling that I can finally got get her once more, hug her tight, smell her curly hair, kiss her a million good morning kisses, and hear her tell me when I open her bedroom door, smiling: "Good mo'nin Mamy! How you doin'? Ah fine, mamy, I go a' Choo-Choo Twain today!!!"


Carole said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Looks like you are an expert in this field, you really got some great points there, thanks.

- Robson