Last night Petals stood in front of the full-length mirror that she’s stood in front of many times before. She batted at her reflection – much like she has before. She pushed the mirror forwards and backwards, walked around to the back of it, and tried to sneak up to it – much as she has before. She even played peekaboo with her reflection.
Predictable baby stuff, y’know?
But then she did something new.
Petals peered at her reflection, saw something interesting, and then grabbed her own shirt. She was wearing a Carolina shirt with bright blue and white symbols and lettering. The print was hard – the kind that eventually cracks and peels in the wash. Still looking into the mirror, Petals reached down and explored the UNC logo with her hands. Okay – she clearly knows what she looks like. She caught my eye in the reflection of the mirror and, while looking into the mirror, waved backwards over her should at me. She clearly knows that the mirror is reflecting the room.
She looked from the baby in the mirror, down to her own shirt, and then back at the baby. Does she recognize that the lettering is backwards? Does she realize that the mirror reflects things backwards? Whoa.
I stand in awe of my daughter every day. She comes up with new “tricks”, like this mirror trick, on a daily basis. And these aren’t simple tricks like clapping or blinking – these are complex, silly tricks, that seem serve no immediate purpose other than simply being “cool” or “entertaining”.
A couple of weeks ago she was playing on the living room floor and crawled toward a toy. She got it, moved it up under the TV, then kind of shimmied across the floor in reverse, pushing herself away from the object she appeared to be crawling towards. When my mother saw it, she said that Petals looked like she was “Moon-Crawling”.
My baby might be a B-Girl in her toddler years.
Last Saturday, Petals and I went to a line dancing party. That night, she came home doing a step…bounce-bounce-bounce, step…bounce-bounce-bounce across the floor that looked a lot like “The Wobble”. “Go Petals! It’s your birthday! Not for real though! Just for play-play!” I sang to her while mimicking her dance.
It’s her now our new go to dance whenever music is playing.
At dinner that night, with friends and a tiny month old baby, Petals entertained everybody by jabbering nonstop, shaking her head back and forth and dancing in her highchair, and attempting to feed me some of the pancake I’d ordered for her.
On Monday, I picked her up from my mother’s house and she was sitting on the hardwood floor and, chasing her left foot after her right, was spinning in circles on the floor. She would fall over giggling to herself, sit back up, and begin spinning again.
She doesn’t do it at our house. I wonder if that’s because we have carpet.
Is she developing or showing evidence of an already present sense of humor? Does she want to make use laugh?Where did the time go? Where are the nights that I never got any sleep? Where are the days when I could leave a room and count on her to NOT try to touch the electrical outlets? Where is my warm, sleepy, milk-balloon?
And I’m emotionally torn. I miss the baby that she was, but I’m really enjoying the toddler that she is. I can hardly wait to see the young lady that she’ll become, but I don’t want the next few years to fly by as fast as the first one did. (I know they will, but I don’t want them too!)
In two short days we will mark this trip around the sun by celebrating the birth of my daughter on calendar ago. There will be lanterns, cake, perhaps ice cream, pizza, friends, and family. But this celebration cannot capture what one year in a new life means. This past year has been amazing.
It’s time for the requisite birthday reflection, the time when I go through all the stuff that’s happened in the past year and realize that, in general, life has been pretty good for me. This has been the first year that things have been relatively stable. For the past six years, at least, there’s been something new – drastically new – in my life. And because I happen to be a summer baby, whose life revolves around a school calendar, my age usually begins with whatever big change is about to happen.
At 20, I got my first apartment. 21, I began dating The Boy. 22, we moved in together. Right before I was 23, he proposed. I graduated from grad school and got a new job four hours away from my home. To celebrate, I shaved off all my hair. At 24, I’d just gotten married and had moved back to my home town and was starting a new job. At 25 we were celebrating our first year together – I got dreads (which I recently put into a hairstyle…my very first time putting them into a style other than pigtails or half ponies…that I did all by meself!)
And now…I’m 26.
And other than trying out new hairstyles, which I think I like btw – you can judge for yoursel’…
The past year has been refreshingly stable.
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I’m bored, which means that it’s time for a journal update.
So every year, about August 3rd (mainly, because that’s my birthday) I begin sit down to remember all the stuff that I’ve done over the past year. I find this helpful as I get older, because it seems that since I’ve turned 18, each passing year has flown by. This year is no different. Though it seems to have flown by, I’ve actually done quite a bit. My main accomplishment is finishing school. Although, I should note, that after obtaining this awesome and wonderful degree, I’m beginning to feel a bit lied to.
And so it is…
I have turned 21. As it is my custom on a new birthday, I reflect upon the past year or so.
My 18th birthday was marked by my first year at UNC, which was wonderful. It was also marked by the deaths of my near life-long companion Mr. Belvedere (my dog) and my wonderful grandmother Ora Davis, as well as my summer study abroad experience in London.
My 19th birthday was marked by the development of my sickness, and me learning how to deal with it. I got to live in Parker with a person who would become on of my best friends, Krissy, as well as with qbrain007. Qbrain was there to take care of me through all of the ups and downs and help me figure the whole thing out. I will love him forever for the way he sat with me in the Emergency room until my mom got there, for the way he carried me to the bathroom when I couldn’t carry myself, and for the way he was content to let me lay there and run his fingers through my hair when I didn’t feel like I could move. I also landed my job at the Planetarium, working summer camps, and found a new family – which has taken care of me and supported me through the good times and bad.
My 20th year was marked by Qbrain moving to Florida, a very sad time for me – but he had to go to school right? I mean, he says (and I believe him, now) that he did it so that our relationship could grow. Our relationship suffered, however, because I thought he was simply moving to get away from me. The upside of him moving to Florida was that I got to move into my apartment with Sara, Paddie, and meredila. I finally learned how to cope with being sick on my own, and finally got on a regular medicine schedule, even though that had ups and downs too. Year twenty was spent in and out of hospitals, and it was also the year I hit my all time heigh weight of 210lbs. Thank you nephrotic syndrome. I am so fortunate to have a family that cared enough about me to stay by my side through the Rituxan treatments in the hospital, and through everything else – especially my mother. I don’t know how I would have coped with having to take chemo without having her there to by Wendy’s for me and to snore by my side. I mean, how difficult was it to get off the night shift at 8:00am and drive straight over to the hospital to sit with me, so that I wouldn’t feel so alone? I know that if Grandma were here now, she would be really proud of both of us, of how we dealt with this thing. Also during year 20, I continued to be employed at the Planetarium, worked on my English and Spanish majors, and learned how to dance just a little better in one of the best physa classes ever – ballroom dancing. I made great friends with __ciao_bella, alliem42, and became even closer to friends that I already had, like Alex, Jana, Sarah, Andy, and syaldia just to name a few. Diane joined Meredila and I in our apartment, and I also got to know her a lot better. And of course, there’s the confusion about my relationships with The Boy and Qbrain…and others. You all know about the d-Bag, his name need not be mentioned here, except it rhymes with “ill”, a quite fitting name if you ask me. But this hour is not dedicated to bitterness about the year 20. It’s actually meant to think about how wonderful my life has been.
I wonder what my 21st year holds in store.
So far, it looks like I’ll be starting it off with a day of rest from the P’tarium, because while I love Nerd Camp (“I love it so hard!” as Vicki would say) I must admit that I am sick. Sometime during today I came down with a case of “Kindergarten Kold” and I’m beginning to lose my voice. Fortunately, I have good friends to take care of me. Thanks Mickey Jo for the Vitamin C packets, thank you to The Boy for getting some dinner for me, and thank you to Qbrain, Mom, and Meredila for the happy birthday wishes – those really picked me up proper. And now, I’m finally a real, live, adult, out in the world. I would put “real world”, but I don’t believe in the “real world”, simply because according to all the teachers I’ve ever had, the “real world” is a horrible place to live, and I would prefer to stay in my version of the real world. It has enough trials and tribulations as it is, and thank God for those. As much as I dislike them, I realize that they only come to make me a stronger person. I think they’re working.