Sep 6, 2011

dedicated to my first baby

On saturday Two Bits was baptized and confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  That's a pretty humongous milestone.  And it remains a mystery to me how she got so old and so smart and so gorgeous and so amazing, so fast.

Also, it occurs to me that I never wrote her special "this is Two Bit's story" on her birthday last year when I had vowed to write birthday posts to my kids.  I neglected to write her special post, because, most likely, I am a horrible horrible undedicated parent that doesn't deserve such an old, smart, gorgeous, amazing daughter.

Or, because I was saving it for NOW.  This is Two Bit's story:

Two Bits was (obviously) my first baby.  When we found out that she was a girl, we ran to the mall (or the tiny strip of pathetic stores that Moscow Idaho calls a mall) and bought her a pink outfit.  And then lots more pink outfits.  And then we were given even more pink outfits.

Being my first baby, I should have been devouring every pregnancy book and going to every birthing class, but I didn't.  I read a few pages out of pregnancy books, but they kept telling me to exercise and eat vegetables, and I was too busy feeling like a nauseous beached whale to do either of those things.  So I stopped reading books.  And birthing classes were horribly frightening - you couldn't have forced me into one had you dragged me blindfolded, calf-tied and sedated.  I wanted to go into the birthing process completely unaware of the excruciating pain, and blood and guts that it involved. 

I was induced four days before my due date on July 4th.  I wanted her to be born that day so that I could lie to her every year and tell her the fireworks and parades were all just for her.  Except that she decided, even in the womb, not to believe anything I say and she wasn't born until the next day.

They let my epidural wear off, so I could "feel" when to push.  Which, BY THE WAY, is majorly stupid.  STUPID STUPID STUPID.  After an hour and a half of pushing my doctor came in and I was all whimpering and half dead and I said, "I can't do this."  And he said, "You can't?  Or you won't?"  And then I gave him a big mental punch in the face, because I was way too tired to do it for real.

A little bit after that (after about 36 hours of labor) Two Bits was born via c-section.  She weighed 9 pounds and 5 ounces, and was 21 1/2 inches long, and she had a 14 1/2 inch head that had been posterior and completely unable to be born  any other way.  So when my doctor checked on me the next day, I said, "So COULD I have pushed her out?"  He had to clear his throat a little and quietly say, "Um, no," and then shuffle out of the room.  And I gave him a major mental butt kicking as he left, because I hurt too much to do it in real life.

Two Bits was an adorable, round, bald baby who slept and ate and slept and slept.  She was perfect.  But, I can only see the perfection in hindsight.  Not that I didn't love the little cheeks right off of her, but I was so busy WORRYING that I didn't fully appreciate her perfectness.

My mom helped me for the first few days after I came home from the hospital.  But then she drove away.  And left me.  And I was expected to be in charge of ANOTHER HUMAN LIFE.  I was extremely terrified.

Two Bits would sleep, and I would worry when she didn't want to eat every 3 hours.  And worry when she didn't cry.  And worry when she was perfectly content and totally healthy, because that's kind of what I did for the first few weeks.  Everyone kept giving me advice, and the books would say that she needed to be on a schedule, and doctors would say, "You should never rock your baby to sleep."  And I listened, because I had no idea what I was doing (except for the rocking your baby to sleep thing, I wouldn't have given that up for all the chocolate truffles in the world).

Then I chilled out a little, and in between all the worrying, I spent my days dressing Two Bits in all of her pink outfits, with all of her little shoes, and her little headbands, and laid her on all of her cute pink blankets and took pictures with our horrible little webcam, because we didn't even own a real camera back then.  And then I'd email the pictures to everyone I knew.

Also, we just did the normal baby stuff like nursing and laundry and poopy diapers.

Two Bits was the master of poop.  We tried all the brands of diapers, and she could explode poop out of every single kind.  One time, when I was changing her, she shot poop through my fingers, across the room and onto our couch.  Boy could that girl projectile poop.  (She was deeply talented, even at such a young age.)

Two Bits continued to be an excellent baby.  She slept through the night.  She took great naps.  She ate.  She played.  She even listened when I said, "Don't touch that."

She was a little slow in her gross motor development, and she was wary of new situations, and she didn't usually say much.  But, overall, Husband and I considered ourselves to be huge parental successes.  It was later that we learned that Two Bits was just an excellent kid.

She was only 17 months when Opie was born.  I think they had about the same amount of hair, only it took Two Bits all of those 17 months to accumulate what Opie was born with.  And big bows weren't even in style back then, so she wore a lot of pink so people would stop giving us the "your little boy is so cute" comment in public.

Two Bits took to being an older sister right away.  She only bit her baby brother once.  And after I overly-freaked out about it, she was too scared to ever try anything like that again.  Most of the time she liked being helpful anyway.  I'm pretty sure her mothering instincts were fully functional at birth.  (She certainly has always had the bossing others around thing down to a T.)

Although she has always been mostly well-behaved, Two Bits does have a bit of a stubborn streak.  For instance, when she was two we made her eat a slice of cooked carrot and she held that carrot, unchewed, in her mouth for almost an hour before I finally relented and let her spit it out.  And she still refuses to eat carrots.

She also refused to talk until her second birthday.  No amount of speech therapy and bribery could get her to say even simple things like "pop".  She was also that way when we wanted her to crawl and walk and even reach for toys.  Instead, her first couple of years involved a lot of watching and learning and planning, and then she'd crawl or talk or whatever, when she felt good and ready.  She still likes to do things at her own pace, thankyouverymuch, and don't even think about pushing it.

By the time she was 3, Two Bits was a downright princess.  She was spunky and smart and loved all things girly.  (Possibly from all the years dressed in pink?)  She finally grew some real hair and it was blond and full of curls.

Imagination burst out of Two Bits at the rate she used to projectile poop.  She liked to dress me in pretend gowns and shoes and jewelry to go to fancy pretend parties, or play invisible musical instruments while she danced around the room, or construct big scenes with our Fisher Price Little People. 

It was when Two Bits was about 3 1/2 that she invented Gootka, her invisible best friend.  Gootka hung around for years and years and years, and sometimes, just for fun, we still talk about Gootka and what she's doing.  As time went on we learned more about Gootka: she had a little sister named Geesie and a little brother named Austin; her mom was from Mexico, but her grandma lived in China; Gootka taught Two Bits how to play Cricket and ride invisible ponies and play Super Hero Cowgirls.  We had to feed Gootka invisible dinner and keep her seat clear in the car.  Two Bits and Gootka were inseperable.

When Two Bits was 4 she went to preschool.  She had a friend, who lived around the corner, named Carter who she claimed she would marry.  But when Carter moved away, Two Bits didn't worry too much and just moved on to the other cute boys.

Except that at age 4, she was horribly shy and timid.  Her speech was hard for everyone but me to understand, and she wasn't really sure where she fit in around her peers (other than planning their weddings, of course).  But she loved school, and loved her friends, and loved to learn.  And she was happy.

By the time Two Bits turned five, she had 3 younger siblings.  And they took up a lot of my time.  And she was required to help a lot.  And she was mostly ok with that.

She started kindergarten so we let her participate in some of the after school programs like ballet and soccer and theater.  It was then that she started to find her passions (art,ballet and theater), and her not-so-passions (soccer and cleaning her room). 

At six, Two Bits dealt with first grade.  At first it was a little rough.  I could tell that school stressed her out because she would walk to the playground every morning on her toes after I'd drop her off.  I know it sounds kind of weird, but we were learning a lot about sensory integration, and phsyical therapy and auditory processing that year and I knew that walking on toes = stressed out Two Bits.

About half way through first grade it all got better for Two Bits.  She graduated out of speech therapy.  She had friends.  She stopped walking on her toes (for awhile).  She learned to read.

Seven was a good age for Two Bits.  In second grade we found out that she was excellent at math (even though she hates it).  And the she is excellent at reading (even though she only likes books with lots of pictures).  She coasted through school days on a cloud of happy fluff, helping other students and chasing boys at recess.

She also coasted through her ballet classes, with all of her natural gracefulness and strive for perfection.

She also coasted her way into a lot of time outs at home when she decided that she was tired of being the oldest and that she didn't want to help out all the time.  But then I realized that she was right.  And I started making Opie help out too. 

Even with less mandatory "helping" we've butted heads a lot the past little while.  She's older now, and exerting her independence.  I'm older now and exerting my "I'm the parent and you WILL listen to me"ed-ness.  It's not exactly a smooth combination.

But despite the butting heads, I think we've gotten a little closer the past little while too.  She's started joining in when I'm being sarcastic at the dinner table (which I adore).  She'll practice her braiding skills on my hair on days that I have a headache (it's like getting a head massage).  She'll tell me about her day or things she has learned or how she's pretending to be a teenage orphan who ran away from the orphanage and is setting up a shop to make her own way in the world and that's why there's a billion toys cluttering the entry.

And NOW.

Now, Two Bits is eight.  And in third grade.  And getting lanky.  And growing adult teeth.  She is creative.  And kind.  And smart.  And still a little bit stubborn.  And now she's a baptized member of the church.  The years go by much too fast.  Every day she becomes more and more amazing.  And less and less that round, bald baby that began our journey as a family.

But sometimes she still lets me dress her in pink and take her picture.


LisAway said...

What a sweet, sweet story. I am so happy to know two-bits a little better. And you, too.

Barbaloot said...

She is so darling! I love the pictures---and I love her hair in the first picture. Looks like she's not the only one who practices braiding:)

Wonder Woman said...

I love that you have a pic of her in her wedding dress at the temple. Makes me think of the 3 white dresses poem.

What a sweet post. Now I am all nostalgic thinking about my own first born.

How the heck do we have kids old enough to be doing this stuff?!

Laura@livingabigstory said...

She is absolutely gorgeous ... I have a cute almost 9 year old -- are you into arranged marriages LOL

Smart move on not going to the child birth classes -- I started sobbing (and I mean, heaving, hiccuping sobs) when they showed what was supposed to be a funny childbirth clip from a stupid sitcom at the beginning of the first day ... yeah, embarrassing. It wasn't the labor that scared me -- it was the whole pushing a watermelon out that paralyzed me.

I still shudder with relief when the Doc told me I'd have to have a c-section :)

Congrats again on your cutie!

Candela said...

What a really gorgeous girl she is :) Cant wait to read your post about the others. And why do you use the nickname "two bits" for her??