(Just in case I don't remember some of these things.)
In the morning, I almost always wake to you calling for me. No more babbling or cooing or just general fussing noises like when you were younger. There is silence and then a loud and ferocious: "Mommy! I'm ready to get up!". If I don't get in there quickly it is followed by "MOM-MEEEEEEEE! Where ARE you? I'm READY FOR BREAKFAST!". When I waddle my way in, you immediately hide your face and giggle. I say "good morning" and "how did you sleep?" and you always reply in a chipper, slightly surprised voice "pretty well!" which for some reason never fails to crack me up. You often want to read a book right away or sit on what's left of my lap and cuddle for a minute or two. We start to talk about what the day will bring and make our way to breakfast, both of us wrapped in bathrobes and stumbling on the cold floors over the hungry, ever-under-foot Sweet Dog.
At some point in the day, often several times a day, you always request a visit from the Tickle Monster. I'm not sure when or how this elaborate game evolved but it's one of your current favorites. When I'm the Tickle Monster, Daddy is the Safety Monster and he picks you up and you two run away from me as I stomp around and grumble "Where's. My. TICKLE BUNNY?!?!??!". The chase begins and only ends with the magic words: "Just hugs and kisses". Daddy and I take turns being the Tickle Monster and lately, you've even bravely requested that we both be the Tickle Monster at once. Sometimes we hide in your ghetto "playhouse", a large box we found when buying moving boxes at Box City, though it often takes many minutes and several helping hands to extricate me and my belly.
It's been a few months now that we've been stuck on the Tickle Monster and it would be getting as old as your battered "playhouse" but I must say that your giggles and squeals and pure unadulterated DELIGHT every time we play makes it totally worth it. That, and the recent development of YOU becoming the Tickle Monster and mimicking our grumpy old man impressions. THAT is priceless.
When I pull you out of the bath, you are always "so COLD, Mommy" and I quickly wrap you in your doggy towel, the one with the ears on the sides and the nose sprouting from hood that we pull over your forehead. I rub your back to warm it up and we watch "the spiral" of water going down the drain. We are so still, so quiet, and I lean into your impossibly soft cheek for a few reverent moments, inhaling your clean scent and agreeing "yes, Boo, that's a LONG spiral." and we both salute it with a "Bye bye spiral."
I lay you down and begin the Aquaphor rub-down, singing "the foot bone's connected to the ankle bone" until I get to "bum bone" which makes us both laugh and I remember you as a little baby, lying on this floor, without funny words to chatter or strong legs to stand on and how you would giggle at peekaboo with the shower curtain.
After months of you wanting to lie in bed while I read you your bedtime stories, you now want to sit on my lap. Between my already short legs and my ever expanding belly, there is seriously no room for you, but you happily perch on the edge of my knees. I can't see over the top of your head to the book in front of us- where did this BIG GIRL come from?- so we hold the book off to the side and I kiss the back of your head in between the pages.
We don't talk too much about your baby sister these days. Your obsession with all the new baby books that we got you has died down and you've even left some of your dolly obsession by the wayside in favor of Legos (especially now that your Daddy let you dismantle and play with the tiny pieces from his intricate firetruck and train saved from his childhood). But whenever we do talk about her, you smile and seem calm and matter of fact, as if you are truly on board with the whole thing. You insist on being helpful so often, I regularly calm my nerves by imagining you handing me diapers or helping chose an outfit for her or bringing me a root beer float while I nurse her (oh wait. That might be awhile yet....).
I know that you will rock this whole big sister gig. And I will do my best to rock alongside you.
your Clueless But Hopeful Mama