Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Paloma is THE force to be reckoned with in our home. Such a little person, such a big personality. This past weekend, Cliff oh-so-accurately assessed Paloma's philosophy on life: It's her world. We just happen to be living in it.
Paloma brings in the perfect balance of sheer motherly delight and frustration. She makes the world's most adorably expressive faces. She speaks "in tongues" for minutes on end, expressively, seeking our approval and agreement to her thoughts on the world. So often I find myself echoing Marlin's sentiment about Squirt in Finding Nemo: You're really cute kid, but I have NO idea what you're saying!
Somehow the fear gene, deeply embedded in the deep end of her parents' pools, managed to skip Paloma's. No height too high, no feat too meager, no warning of danger too real. I credit every single grey hair that I have to this child, which is probably why I'm not in a hurry to do anything about them: I earned these babies! Her newest favorite perch is sitting atop of her toddler bed's roof (the headboard is a little house).
More independent than any child coming before her in our home, Paloma insists upon dressing herself (and to my great chagrin, her all-time favorite outfit is a hand-me-down Blues Clues pajamas, size 4), reading to herself, directing her own playtime, dictating her own menu. God forbid I try to help her into her snowpants, or attempt to buckle her into her carseat before she is ready to ask for assistance. Try to dare squelch that independence and you will pay. Dearly.
But for as often as she pushes us away during the day, her need for us becomes so evident in the night. We'll put her to bed in her own bed, only to find her asleep 30 minutes later in ours. We'll move her back to her own bed at 10 pm only to find her in ours again at midnight. She'll curl up as close to us as she possibly can get without suffocating. She'll reach for us throughout the night, and in the morning, she'll pat Mom's back while handing her sippy to Daddy, with a one word request: "Juice." Content in the knowledge that Daddy will do anything for his Baby Girl, she snuggles in with me, happy, content and willing to be still for that moment.
For a long time after Atticus was born, I felt that our family was complete. Then one day, I was watching Hatfield and Atticus put a puzzle together at the coffee table, and I became distinctly aware that someone was missing. I could see the two little heads, but then a blurry empty space where that third one belonged. Watching my three this morning, working on a birthday card for Grandpa at the same coffee table, I realize just how empty that space was without our Paloma. I couldn't imagine our family any other way.