Dear Daughter

Hello my love.

You will be 22 months old tomorrow. I can’t believe how quickly time is flying. I already find myself looking back on pictures of you as a newborn and missing your smell, your teeny tiny fingers and toes. I miss our silent, non verbal communication. It’s funny because it stressed me at the time. I was always afraid that I was misreading looks in your eye, or sounds or arms flailing. I was so uncertain. Was I meeting your needs or imposing my own thoughts of what you “wanted” on to you.

Nowadays you leave no room for doubt. LOL You don’t hesitate to yell, “NO Mommy,” or “Don’t like that,” or “Hold me Mommy.”  I love listening to you speak. I love hearing your thoughts. You are learning the world at warp speed. Hearing you move from simple declarative statements like, “I Nia” to more complex expressions, “Don’t leave the baby” blows my mind.

A few weeks ago I was in the kitchen cutting up fruit for  your lunch. It was a Saturday and you were happily playing on the rug behind me. “You Mommy. You. You. You” You insistently stated. “You what baby? What’s the rest of the thought?” I asked without turning around. “You Mommy. You!” You replied. I looked over my shoulder to see you pointing at the letter U on our kitchen mat. You pointed out all of the letters in the word cappuccino, except for the Cs. You called them Os but you knew that was not right. The look on your face said, “I’m guessing at these Mom” LOL I was blown away. I screamed for your Dad to come and see too. Come see how smart our almost two  year old is. We stood in awe as you recited your new knowledge for Daddy. You blow our minds!

I am so proud to be your Mommy. You are an amazing little person. You are so sweet. When we went to Puerto Rico I had a tummy ache. I went to lay down while everyone else was in the living room. You wouldn’t leave my side. You could tell something was wrong. I said, “it’s okay baby. Mommy’s tummy hurts. I’m just going to lay down. You go play.”
"No you said. I stay Mommy." You rubbed my belly. You kissed my belly. You implored me to "feel better Mommy," while rubbing my head.You only left my side to go and tell Daddy "Mommy tummy hurts" then  you came running back on those strong and powerful little legs to stand guard. I kept encouraging you to go play but you would have none of it. We called it a night together. You curled up into me offering all of the love and comfort in your little heart and body. I was so proud of the empathy and loyalty displayed so naturally. YOU make me proud.

I am enjoying every single moment of being your Mommy.

Love you always little one.

Dear Daughter…

Hey baby girl.


You are 16 months old now.

You are simply amazing.

Your Dad and I spend hours just watching you. You are better than T.V. You make us laugh so hard. Your little personality is funny mixed with sweet mixed with stubborn and sprinkled with Diva. Our full length mirror has little Nia sized smudges all over the bottom of it from you kissing your own reflection or running to check out your newest hairstyle. You have entire baby babble conversations with your refection that leave me wishing so badly that I could understand every little sound.

You are so smart. You understand so much. It blows our minds how quickly you pick up words and phrases. You really are amazing. You are so loved. You bring such joy. I am so proud to be your Mommy.

Today it’s snowing. It’s the first snow that you will really experience. (It snowed last winter but you were so brand new. I don’t think it really registered.) I can’t wait to take you out to play in it. Unfortunately I’m at work and you are home with Daddy.

It’s even harder than I thought being a working Mom. I truly wish I could be with you all of the time. There is so much I want to teach you and show you and do with you. But at the end of the day I find myself exhausted and short tempered and the weekends go so quickly. I love you so much baby. I wish I could be there for everything. sighs

Saturday we go see Sesame Street live in Madison Square Garden with Jamari. I can not WAIT to see your little face light up when you see HELMO (That’s Elmo for those of you who don’t speak toddler.)

I love you so much my smart, strong, sweet little girl.

Mommy

Dear Daughter

Hey baby girl,

You will be 14 months old this week. (That’s a year and 2 months for my non-parent friends who hate the month counting. lol) Little girl, you were born with your own beautiful little mind. You know what you want and when you want it. You are saying a few words but not nearly enough to express all the things your little self wants. I am trying to add more signs to your repertoire to assist you in this gap but it’s slow going. I see your frustration. I feel it too.

There are certain things that you have found a way to communicate. You sign milk, and all done. You are good at standing under the radio/CD player and grunting or dancing until someone turns it on. You will start doing the motions for “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” when you want that song sung to you. You recently learned the motions to “I’m a little tea pot” and you will often approach me with your “handle” and dance from side to side to prompt me to start singing it. You grunt to be picked up. You cling like a little spider monkey when you don’t want to be put down, folding those strong little legs up under yourself and refusing to stand. You will grab an adult’s hand and lead them to the room where whatever you want is located and go through a series of pantomimes and grunts until we can figure out what you want.

You are trying so hard.

I am trying too babygirl. When you smack me, at the peak of frustration, I try to give you the words for what you are feeling. I try to gently hold your hands and remind you that, “We don’t hit.” I try to name whatever emotion that I think you are feeling. “Baby you are angry. Say, I’m angry.” “Baby you are happy. Say, I’m happy.” It seems silly to those watching me. Some wonder why I don’t spank you or holler at you. But I understand.

See, I am a writer. I am a thinker. I can not imagine how it would feel not to be able to communicate how I felt to those around me. When I worked in day care I felt the most challenged by my pre-verbal toddlers. It was so hard for them AND for me (as their teacher) to give them what they needed, to understand their unspoken words. It was hard to understand that a bite sometimes meant, “I’m hungry,” sometimes meant “I’m angry,” sometimes meant, “I am scared, tired, happy etc etc etc” I got frustrated with little hands slapping me and little mouths biting me or their friends. Just like I sometimes get frustrated with you little one.

I’m sorry for that. I’m especially sorry because I DO understand. Soon enough you will start to pick up words at lightning speed and this phase will be a memory. Please be patient with your Mommy. I promise to try to be patient with you.

I love you always,

Mommy.


1 year old and counting…

Dear Daughter,

You are amazing and smart and beautiful and gorgeous! I can and do spend most of my free time just watching you. Your little personality is shining through more and more every single day.

You love music. You will dance to anything, a commercial, the radio, a CD, a car driving by. LOL You love to move your little body. You sing to yourself. Little melodies that only you know. It’s so amusing. When we go to church you “sing” along with the choir. You melt my heart.

You have such a sense of humor. You recognize a “game” right away. You dissolve into giggles any time I tell you that you are silly. You play peek a boo, you tickle me, you mock me when I yawn with your yawn face, you feed your Elmo dolls, you hug and kiss them…you even share your pacifier.

You have such a sweet side. You love kisses. You kiss everyone…often. You come at us with your open mouth and kiss us with a loud MUAH. You hug everyone and everything. You wave at strangers in the street and blow kisses to everyone you meet.

You are so brave. Nothing scares you. Big ocean waves makes you squeal with delight. Slides are your best friend. Swings make you scream with glee.  You inspire me to be braver.

You have a strong will. Redirection doesn’t usually work with you. When you want something you WANT it. LOL You test me…daily.

You are the thing that was missing from my life. I thank God for you multiple times a day. You are my little girl. I am so proud to be  your Mommy.

All my love always,

Mommy

Dear Daughter #7

Hey babygirl.

You will be ten months old on Monday. You are trying so hard to walk. A couple of nights ago you delighted your father and I by walking back and forth from him to me without holding on to anything. Each step you took was so deliberate. I watched you furrow your brow and concentrate on each step. It occurred to me that there was a lesson there. You didn’t look up or look around. You looked at the spot in front of your feet and lifted each foot with clear purpose.

We could not have been prouder. You will be walking any day now. I’m not ready but I am so excited.

You are so smart. You understand so many words and phrases. You even know a little Spanish. You initiate games with us. You clap your hands, wave and play linda manito with your Titi Milagros. You are working on blowing kisses. You are better than TV. I can’t remember the last time I watched a movie. I could watch you and play with you for hours.

You light up my life little one.

Love,

Mommy

My Princess

My Princess

They Told me

They told me that

I “couldn’t do it.”

I “shouldn’t bother.”

"Why make things harder for yourself?"

"Just be like everybody else."

I struggled

in silence.

Found outlets

with strangers

who cared

and

shared

inspiration,

encouragement,

kind words.

They told me that

I “couldn’t,

shouldn’t

wouldn’t.”

I plugged my ears.

I hid my fears.

I kept going.

The surest way

to ensure my success

is to engage my stubbornness.

I fed my baby.

The way God made for me.

Jumped hurdle

after hurdle.

Told myself

what I

WOULD do…

COULD do.

I survived…

her anatomy

too small for my physiology.

Mouth too small

Breasts too large.

She grew.

We improved.

Three months of pain.

She thrives.

I survived

clogged milk ducts

nipple blisters

pumping issue after issue.

She thrives.

28 weeks

5 days

and still going strong

THEY

WERE

WRONG!!!

April 11, 2012

A Mother’s conundrum

I want to raise her for

a world where…

please and thank you

matter

and

skin color doesn’t.

A world where

nice is rewarded

and

people take turns.

I want her to be

polite

and kind.

I want her to be

patient

and giving.

I want her to share.

I want her to care.

I want to raise her

for the world I dream about

I want her to be

part of the solution

not the problem.

I want…

so much…

for her.

But we live

in THIS world.

Where

skin color does matter.

It can get you

killed

and your murderer

walks free.

Nice is seen as weak.

People don’t speak.

And if you don’t push your way in

you may NEVER get a turn.

Sighs

I want her to be open.

I want her to be sweet.

I want her to give an equal chance

to each person she meets.

I want her to love peace

and non-violence.

I want to raise her

for the world I dream about

I want her to be

part of the solution

not the problem.

I want…

so much…

for her.

But we live

in THIS world.

So far from the one I dream about.

And although I love

my rose colored glasses

I can not,

for her,

deny

what

is.

This is a Mother’s conundrum.

April 10, 2012

Hold My Baby

Priorities have changed

rearranged.

My To Do List is irrelevant

with an infant

who majors in irreverent.

"Forget your to do list Mommy

I need you to hold me.”

Her eyes plead with me…

And

who could say no?

I swear that infancy

happens at warp speed

I’m trying desperately

not to miss anything.

Phone calls go

unanswered

un-returned

ignored.

No guilt.

Laundry goes undone

Chores as well.

It will all keep.

"Leave a message at the tone"

Yes…I’m home

but I’m soaking up my daughter’s

toothless smiles

They only last a little while

and I’m determined not to miss a single one.

She’s so much fun

before I know it she’ll be on the run.

Don’t talk to me

about what you think

SHOULD be my priorities

THIS baby girl was gifted to ME

and I’m going to raise her according to what makes sense to me

intuitively.

I am going to

HOLD

MY

BABY.

As much and as often as she will let me.

Dear Daughter #6 Love

Hey babygirl,

You are six months old now. You make me smile every single day and night. No matter what happens throughout the course of my day I can always stop and smile knowing I have you to come home to. The very best part of every single day is when I walk into the house and you see me for the first time or hear my voice and break into that big smile you have just for me. You remind me daily how  blessed I am. Being your Mommy reminds me daily of God’s love for me because of how HUGE my love for you is.

I’ve been slacking on the letters. I know. You are so much more active now that I find it harder to find the time to write. I’d rather BE with you than write to you. LOL

Some things you are doing now…

You are eating food. You love prunes and sweet potatoes but avocado wasn’t your favorite. You don’t dislike it but you don’t dance and sing when I serve it. LOL Out of the three foods you have tried sweet potato is definitely your favorite.

You are rolling back to front and front to back.You are doing a slow army crawl on your belly and lately you get up on your knees and rock back and forth. LOL You are going to take off at any minute.

We are still breastfeeding but sometimes you get formula mixed in. When we give you a bottle we have to hide it when we burp you because you won’t let the bottle out of your sight if there is still milk in it. You make me laugh so hard with this.

You are also convinced that there is milk in my elbow and I have to watch you because you constantly try to latch on to my elbow. LOL

You are definitely Mommy’s girl right now. People accuse me of loving it but I wish you went to others more easily. You have a huge family and tons of Aunties and Uncles who love you and it hurts their feelings when you scream when they try to love on you. LOL I’m praying you will grow out of this and patiently waiting. ;-)

You reach for everything. You miss nothing. Father Taylor’s wife comments every Sunday that “this child never even blinks. She is going to be a strong woman who sees everything and looks every person right in their eyes.” I silently say Amen each time she says it and I never get tired of hearing it.

Today Mommy wants to write to you about what really matters.

Rage against injustice. Stand firm in your own convictions but at the end of the day always remember who you are and what REALLY matters. Love.

Life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent perception. Always turn your perception towards love.

Never allow someone else to tell you who you are. I don’t care if it’s a family member, a teacher or the media. You are the only one who knows exactly who and what you are. Find your own self worth, never look for it from someone else. You are a beautiful girl but your beauty does not define you. You are a smart girl but your brain does not define you. What I hope you learn and embrace for all of your life is that you are love. You were made in love, you will be raised in love and you were gifted to this world in love. Love is all that matters.

Love increases…hate, anger, sadness all of these things decrease. When you feel yourself feeling drained it will almost always be because you have taken your focus off of love. Love increases.  I write these letters for you as much as I write them for myself sweet baby. You make me want to be the best person that I can be. I have recently allowed anger, sadness and injustice to deplete me. I’m coming back…I’m reminding myself that my goal, my prayer and my constant goal has always been to be…love.

Love increases. My love for you makes me want to be better every single day.

I love you precious baby girl.

Mommy

March 29, 2012