You are at a ridiculously fun age. I’m pretty sure when Jacob was at this age I was too tired to notice from being in the first weeks of pregnancy so it was a pretty unforgettable moment two weeks ago when I looked down and there you were in my arms, my sidekick at 5:00 a.m. in the airport, being ridiculously fun. I love that you are so interactive, so hungry for attention, and still mostly immobile. I love that you are a cuddly thing and in your tireder moments you’ll even nestle your head down onto my shoulder and just chill.
Of course, then there are the not-so-tired moments like tonight when I couldn’t for the life of me put a diaper on your cute little naked butt because you just kept flipping over and trying to make a getaway. It goes without saying that I won that one eventually, but as always you held your ground long.
I’ve been impressed with your understanding recently and you seem a little more willing to dialogue sensibly about hot-button baby issues like Don’t Touch the Stereo Speaker. The memories of Jacob’s stubborn little self flooded back to me this morning as I stood next to you and you sat next to the speaker. You kept reaching for it and I kept saying “No. Don’t touch the speaker.” And every time I said it you withdrew your hand and looked me right in the eye with this puzzling face that seemed to say “Hmm. OK, sure, whatever you say.” Keep it comin’, sweetie pie.
You are at a wonderful stage. You self-sufficiently handle all kinds of food at mealtimes without making too disastrous of a mess (usually). You are mobile enough to entertain yourself, fix your own little problems, and be adorable, but not so mobile that you can get out of about a 4-foot wide spot so you’re still safe wherever I put you. You are taking two lovely long naps each day and being very agreeable in between. You finally have some hair. And wonder of wonders, you cut three teeth in the middle of this month. It wasn’t completely a cake-walk, but you made it through and now you’ve got the cutest smile going.
The two nicknames you’re going by these days are Princess Pants and, most often, Loud Lady. I’m sorry they’re nothing more dignified but you would understand if you could hear yourself talk. My friends in Minnesota who finally met you two weeks ago just gave me these affirming looks after awhile and I’d say “I TOLD YOU she was loud.” It’s not that you are disagreeable you just like everyone to know that you’re there and exactly what you think, which seems to include the suspicion that we are all deaf. Your poor brother has had me tell him at least a hundred times this spring about how “Meredith loves to talk loud and it’s OK because that’s how God made her. Jacob likes to be quiet, but we have to love Meredith just the way she is.” So we try to get Jacob to yell right along with you so the sounds are funny instead of angry. This place is turning into a freaking zoo.
On the drive home from grocery shopping tonight you guys were in hysterical cackling fits. You have that special power over each other and I am so glad for it. That brother may try to fall on top of you, jump over you, sit on my lap while you’re nursing, steal your cheerios, or generally be annoying and abusive, but he loves you something crazy.
Two weeks ago we had our first real Girl Adventure and I enjoyed being your mommy so much for those four days. It was just you and me for the first time ever and I really did feel like I was making a discovery when I found us alone together in that airport. I basked in your presence all weekend and enjoyed lavishing attention on you. I loved getting to know you, too, in all the time we spent on airplanes and everywhere else. You are so precious.
That weekend was so special for me since I got to introduce you to what must’ve seemed like millions of people to you – all those dear ones we left behind to move to Indiana before you ever were. You graciously received your public and even when it was three hours past your bedtime and you were being greeted by the 20th person of the night you were a trooper and made a valiant effort to smile instead of cry. I could see that little social butterfly flapping furious wings inside your tired body. It is lovely to watch you enjoying people so much. I hope that will never change. I joke that they are “your public” and we persist in calling you a princess.
It makes me think about what the best rulers do: they serve their people. A lot of little girls grow up thinking their title as Princess is entitlement, permission to expect everyone to serve them or please them. I am happy for you to stay on your throne forever so long as you learn that the loveliest princesses are the ones who live to love their people and to brighten other’s lives by their own loveliness. The social butterfly in you is a sacred trust God’s given you, a beautiful lump of raw material. I hope as you grow, God will give you the wisdom and grace to use it generously for the sake of others.
Yesterday at the park a little girl ran up to the swing next to where we stood and I overheard her mommy call her “Princess.” I smiled at the ubiquity of that nickname and the imagination of you in a four-year-old’s body. Then the little girl removed a play crown from her head and handed it to her mommy, sweet and matter-of-fact, asking “Will you hold my crown for me while I swing?” There was nothing but sweetness in it and her mom was just as sweet, like she lived for holding that princess crown. It made me grin ear to ear as I pointed out to Daddy what we have in store.
Now as I’m thinking about all this business of “serving your public” it occurs to me that even the most altruistic of nobility needs a lady-in-waiting of sorts, someone who can hold her crown while she swings. So while I will always remind you to serve, to love, and to lay down your life, I want you to know that I will always be here to hold your crown for you, because that’s what Princesses’ Mommies are for.
I love you.