Every night before I go to bed, I make sure my slippers, robe, and fleece pants are right by my bed. Last week I realized, this is the milestone I can’t wait for. I’m can’t wait for the night I go to sleep without first preparing to spend a significant part of the night awake.
When Mary Virginia wakes up at 3 a.m., she holds her arms out to me, and when I pick her up she says, “I want muffin.” Because, to her, that’s how the day starts; it’s her daily cup of coffee. It’s her way of saying, “I’m going to be up for an hour or so, so just cancel any plans that require coherence.”
She’s getting better, she really is. We’ve even had several nights in a row of unbroken sleep. But they’re still the exception, disrupted by teething, a runny nose, a late nap, or a butterfly flapping its wings somewhere over the coast of the Pacific.
Here’s the crazy thing, the only thing that is perhaps more frustrating than her terrible sleep habits: Mary Virginia loves pretending she’s sleeping. She loves coming into the kitchen, laying down on the cold tile floor and saying, “Ni-night, Mama!” Then she snuggles down on the floor, lifts her head to look at me, and laughs hysterically. Or, whenever someone says “What time is it?” Mary Virginia emphatically answers, “Ni-NIGHT TIME!” and then raises her arms in triumph.
Mary Virginia is talking and talking and talking more and more, and it’s still a shock to Tom and me. She says “that’s better” when I change her diaper, and when David bangs on his drum, she says, “Too loud, Da-din!” When she puts markers in her mouth, she scolds herself, “Not in the mouth.” Same for when she climbs on the table, “Get don, Many.” She knows and requests lots of songs, especially Ring around the Rosie. Her favorite song is Roll Out, by Ludacris, which Tom plays almost every night when he gets home from work. Sometimes Mary Virginia will say to me, “I wanna Roll Out.” And then, before I can answer, she reminds herself, “Dada has it.”
She loves singing a song called the Hello Song that David learned in preschool. The day she started singing it, I called Tom. We’re constantly amazed at her language and her interest in music and books; mostly because it’s so different than her brother’s at her age. The only things he did at her age was search for balls and scratch his eyes out.
Mary Virginia says two phrases that are so cute, we hope she never grows out of it, that she goes to college talking like this. First, when you ask her a question, she answers “I nee know.” We ask her all the time, “Mary Virginia? Where’s Brigham?” Just to hear her reply, “I ne know.”
And she says “I DID IT!” All the time. It’s adorable, completely adorable. Except, I’ll be honest, sometimes she says she did it when it was actually me who, for example, put her pajamas on, or unlocked the front door. And she tries to take all the credit.
She’s very much a mama’s girl. She always wants to be close to me. If I’m sitting, she’s in my lap; if I’m standing, I’m holding her. It’s so bad that I’ve had to change seats at the dinner table, because if I’m sitting beside her then she’ll try to climb out of her seat into my lap.
The thing is, I’m not that awesome. I’m short-tempered, un-showered, usually doing dishes, and “Roll Out” is not on my phone. I have absolutely no idea how to deal with this except for waiting for her to grow out of it. But pregnancy is making it hard to carry my spider monkey around, so snstead of holding her, we’re working on holding hands as we walk through the house. And at night, if I can help it, I don’t ever pick her up. Instead of holding her and singing “Ring Around the Rosie” ad nauseam, I say in a stern voice, “Mary. LAY DOWN.”
She also loves being a mama. Her favorite toys are dolls, she’s very busy rocking them, giving them milk, asking me to put a hat on their head or wrap them in a blanket.
She has lots of dolls, and she calls them “doll-doll”. We have blue doll-doll, yellow doll-doll, and black doll-doll. Her absolute favorite doll is your kid’s favorite doll. The best doll is the one she can’t have. When I tell her we’re going to visit her friend Layne, she responds, “See Layne’s doll-doll?”
She got an amazing handmade doll crib from her Uncle Steve and Aunt Lindsay for Christmas, and it’s perfect for putting dolls ni-night. She even puts her rubber ducks and bag of Play-Doh ni-night. When she does, she puts them in the crib, covers them with a blanket, rocks the crib and sings “Ring Around the Rosie,” which sounds like this: aaaashes! aaaaaaashes! aaaaaashes!
Though, recently, instead of singing, she just throws her doll in the crib and says “AY DOWN!”
Dear Mary Virginia,
Every evening when Daddy gets home, you run over to him and lift your arms. When he picks you up, you proudly announce, “I DRINK MILK!” And because he is a wonderful father, every day, he hugs you and exclaims as if you just told him you discovered oil in the backyard.
One day, that will change. You’ll run to Daddy and you’ll tell him something different, or you’ll just holler “hey” from your room where you’re busy playing. One day, you’ll still be at cross country practice. Then away at college. Let me just stop there, I’m getting ahead of myself. I’m hormonal, you know, and tired. It’s makes me more emotional, more aware that my little baby is growing up.
These days are long, and it’s nearly impossible to sneak Cheetos if I’m holding you all the time, but as my belly gets bigger and May gets closer, I can’t help but think of the passing of time and the changes coming for our family; you are growing so much.
You are my baby girl and I am your mama. I want you to know that when I look at you, I am reminded that God is good and He keeps His promises. You are a joy, full of wonder and delight. You are teaching me how to be a better mama. I hope one day you’ll hold a baby of your own and sing “Ashes, ashes, we all fall down,” and remember the way your mama held and sang to you. (And occasionally, for your own good, told you to lay down.)