When Zuzu was born we read and read and read. When will she smile? When will she roll over? When will she sit up? Why hasn’t she said Momma yet? When does she stop saying Momma over and over and over? That is how we learned about the milestones in your lives- the typical ones that everyone celebrates at least.
Through this learning we were able to see some of your many budding gifts Zuzu dear. You are bright, inquisitive, extremely caring and physical. You have a determined spirit and are generous in sharing your love with those around you. You walked at 11 months, you said Momma at 7 months (actually you cried it in one of your many “middle of the night to cool you down because you have yet another fever from an ear infection” baths. You crawled at 6 months, sat at 4 months. You filled up your potty chart at school with pink stars at 2 years. You slept through the night at 8 weeks on the nose (and started waking each night again at 4 months on the nose). You became a big sister for the world to see at 2 and a half years. 9 months before that is when you really became a big sister. Since that time you have blossomed and we have seen milestones the likes of which we never anticipated from a 2 year old. You would sing the in-utero Quail to sleep and cover my burgeoning belly with a blanket. You named your sister Baby Quailee and would tell her small shape that you loved her and couldn’t wait to meet her. You would stand quietly by while I barfed each morning, either holding my hair back or munching on a pack of gummy bears you had served yourself and then ask me if I was all better. You witnessed my hormonal fits and “blew away my crankies” and then asked if I was happy now. You stayed your first night without us in the loving care of your Gramma and told her how your Momma was at Baby Quailee’s house (aka the hospital). You welcomed her home that first night out of the hospital with the generous words, “I love you Baby Quailee, you’re my best friend I ever had”. And you bowled us over with your grace and good nature as you watched your sister nurse your Momma and sat quietly by and then unprompted took her hand in yours to comfort her. What an incredible spirit for such a little soul.
And now with with you dear Quail we don’t feel the need to read the week by week reports of expectations. We are able to sit back and watch as your feathers unfurl at your own pace. We watch hopefully into your nest for signs of a smile and rejoice when you giggle with a simple tickle. Our best game to date is to put you, dear Quail; on your belly and watch you push your arms up and over as you figure out how to get out of serving tummy time. We revel in your contemplative gaze as you wait for us to look at you and then burst into an eye-crinkling smile once we’ve made eye contact. We lean in for a kiss as you chortle your vowel recital to us in the early morning light. We shop for new toys to hand you as you practice bringing your hands to midline and smooth hand to hand transfers. We bend down to cheer you on as you grab your small foot to hoist it up to your rosebud of a mouth. Each day is a milestone as you continue to stoicly gain your 1/2 oz of weight blowing us further and further away from the stormcloud of potential open-heart surgery. We rejoiced as you have moved from eating from a syringe, to an SNS system, to a Soothie Bottle, to a Dr. Brown’s to the start of nursing directly. The weekend I was able to nurse you to sleep at 6 months for the first time is one of our proudest moments to date.
You both, dear Loves, have given us the sweetest of memories in your short lives with us. We will continue to celebrate your milesstones- from pooping in the potty, to sitting independently, to your first dance recitals. From first teeth, to swinging out over the slide at the park before going down, to your first tea party. From first days at daycare, school, dance class and trips on the airplane. From first bites of cereal to pouring a glass of banana juice “my own self”. From the first delicately laid out fall-on-the-floor tantrum, to your wise advice to me that, “You make people sad when you are frustrated Mommy. You need to be nice to be a good Christian.” From both of your blessedly steady growth curves to your burgeoning show of memory as the nurse comes into to give you your 15 month vaccinations and you wail at the mere sight of her with that awful tray.
We are so very blessed to have so many special moments together already and can’t wait to see what the future holds each day anew.