You're not going to be my baby for much longer, but because the newest baby is a boy, can you stay my baby girl for just a little while longer? I don't know how much long you'll let me call you my baby. For a while now you've been calling all dolls Mimi (as in Me! Me!), but this month you started calling them baby instead. You're already creating space between yourself and the idea of babyhood. Your walk (or dare I say strut) is already turning into a run. Your few words have suddenly turned into full sentences, filled with emotion, affection, and passion. You have always been my clingy baby. Not in a bad way, you must know. You, unlike your darling siblings, are a Mama's girl. You co-slept the longest, breastfed the longest, and you almost stayed in my womb the longest. Until recently, you have only wanted me to hold you and comfort you. Even this afternoon you demanded to have your spot on my ever decreasing lap so we could cuddle while you chatted away at me.
But change is a-brewing. I'm not sure when it started, but quietly, gently, you're putting away your baby habits in favour of being a big girl. First it was your bed. We weren't sure if we wanted to try it, but when we set it up in your room, you took right too it, and were utterly done with your crib. No begging to go back. No tears. You got your big girl bed and then slept in it like it was the most natural thing. Then it was potty training. I want you to know that I personally don't believe in making little kids potty train until they're much older than you were when you started. But you asked for it. You held your pees all morning and watched jealously while your siblings took their turns in the bathroom. So we took you up on your insistence and you embraced the experience. You're down to diapers at nap and bedtime (and the naptime one is really for my peace of mind, as it's nearly always dry). You're petite, and still look to me like such a wee baby, but in your own mind, you're already one of the big kids. You're demanding your place at the big table. Playing with the big kids. Leading the pack whenever you can. You don't mind that I call you my baby, because that's just a word. You're a big girl in your own mind.
The biggest change I noticed was the day you became a Daddy's girl. Not that I mind. I honestly love this part of you. You've always loved your Daddy in a way so precious, but he has always come second to me. Before you knew what it meant, you would mimic your siblings and slur your own version of "I love you, Daddy!!!" as he left for work. Now you want to chat with him on the phone, snuggle with him in his chair, and wait for him by the door all day. Just the other day you wept and begged for him to "Take me! Daddy, take me too!". When Daddy's here, I'm still special, but I'm no Daddy. Part of me wants to be so happy and appreciate how timely your sudden switch to Daddy's girl was. I don't want you to be so jealous of your baby brother because he's going to steal your Mommy. Still, there's a part of me that misses being your number one. I get to be a little bit of that for you still when Daddy goes to work, but it's just another part of your grown up girl independence.
You're still growing, changing, and finding your own way to express the personality I've seen in you since birth. You're still my sweet, shy little girl, but I can see when we're out your humour and affection are starting to shine through to others. Those lucky enough to really get to know are already blessed by you. You've already managed to make a best friend (and got Mommy one too, thanks girlie) despite your shyness. I'm so glad to see other people falling in love with you too. I feel so blessed to be walking with you through these years, even though I find myself grasping at the last remnants of your fleeting babyhood. Just like you were clinging to me as a baby, I want to spend a lifetime clinging to you. You came into our lives in a moment full of prayer and grace, and have spent every second of your life pouring more of that grace into our hearts. I am so grateful that God gave you to me, and for almost two years I've been able to watch you grow into this incredible little person. From the second I knew you were in my womb, I knew I couldn't live without you. You are my sweetheart. You are my baby girl. You are in your own way the love of my life. I pray that I can be more like you, more loving, more gentle and yet more boisterous. I pray I can sing my heart out even if I don't know the words. I pray that I can give my heart fearlessly to those who love me most. I pray that you will always feel as loved as you truly are as our beloved child and as a daughter of God. I love you for who you were, who you are, and who you will be. Always and forever.