Streaky Windows

For the past 6 months Leah has had a new habit of messing up my windows every chance she gets. I am not talking about a stray fingerprint here and there, or even an adorable and perfectly formed little patty print (what my grandma calls little baby hands). These are streaks going across the middle of the window, right where you would look out.

I spent the day cleaning for Leah’s birthday party, and was feeling pretty proud of myself, but also exhausted. I had felt glad that Leah had seemed to finally get the message and I had no window washing to do this time around.

And then I heard a squeak, and I caught her in the act. The way she is making the streaks is by actually licking her hand and then rubbing it back and forth across the glass! I know…kids are weird. And gross.

So, I had an idea. I marched her to kitchen, where I armed her with the windex and a paper towel.

“YOU clean it up.” I told her, “And if you ever do that again, it will be your job to clean it up, too. That is yucky.”

She grumbled a bit, but she got the job done. I think I have finally cured her of the need to streak up my windows.

The Sleepover

Tonight Leah is having a sleepover at my mom’s house, something she does pretty often. With the addition of a swimming pool to their child’s dream land I knew that they would want to take Leah fairly early so that she would have time to swim. Well, I made the mistake of telling Leah about her sleepover on Wednesday. Yeah…four days ago.

Every day it has been, “How many days until my sleepover at Mana’s house?” or “Is the next day my sleepover day?”

Finally, yesterday I was able to tell her that yes, her sleepover day was tomorrow. So, this morning she woke me up at 6:20, coming into my room and shouting “Today is my sleepover day at Mana’s!”

All day I endured questions such as, “When will Mana be here?” “Has she called yet?” and “Is it time for my sleepover yet?” I smiled through each one, thinking about how lucky I am that my kid has such a great relationship with her grandparents, and that she is comfortable spending the night away from me, which is something I never did until the age of 10 or 11.

I also had something to look forward to myself. Since I knew Leah would leave before Dave got home I planned to take a nap. All day I daydreamed and tried to decide between the bed or the comfy couch in the family room, the pink afghan or the brown fleecy blanket? I got the house to optimum nap temperature by turning up the a/c and keeping it dark.

I haven’t slept in a still, quiet house for a long time. I haven’t slept until I woke up on my own and refreshed, with no noise whatsoever in years. Oh, a sleep where no one would be making a mess of my house or resenting the time that I slumbered away. What a glorious thought!

I regarded it as Gollum regarded his precious ring.

Finally, at two o’clock, my mom came to get Leah. She was ready to go, already in her swimsuit and with her packed overnight bag by the door. As I kissed her goodbye, and hugged my mom, I couldn’t help but glance longingly toward the couch where I had decided to nap. They exited the house in a flurry of chatter and excitement. As the door closed behind them I felt-

Lonely. My little ray of sunshine left without me, and the house felt quiet and abandoned. It is rare for me to be home alone since becoming a mom, and suddenly I didn’t know what to do with myself. I puttered around, picking up a few stray toys, and putting away the laundry. I grabbed the pink afghan and settled onto the couch and thought of Leah swimming in the sunshine and having a blast. I knew that she was having blast.

It was with that thought, and a smile on my face that I fell asleep in my silent home at last.

Leah on Interviews

Last night we went out for pizza with my Dad, and went to his house so that he could give Leah her birthday gifts. Sitting in a booth in the restaurant, Leah was playing with her new Hot Wheels cars and being happily anti-social. My Dad kept trying to engage her by asking her questions.

Dad: So, Leah, are you having a birthday party this weekend?

Leah: Yeah.

Dad: Who’s coming to your party?

Leah: Arggghh! I can’t take it anymore! Enough with the questions already!

Just Horsing Around!

Leah basically has an entire week of birthday festivities, which have only just begun. Since I opted not to do the big family party everyone wants to see her throughout the week. It actually works out nicely because we get to spend one on one time with everyone and really get to enjoy their company.

The extravaganza was slated to start last Saturday, the day before her birthday. She was going to have her little friends over for a party. I wound up having to reschedule for the following weekend because Leah came down with a fever on Thursday night, and by Friday evening it was still creeping up. She was sad, but I was so proud of how resilient and adaptable she is. When I told her that we would still have the party, just on a different day her response was, “Well, okay!” I just love her.

She also had another activity planned for Saturday morning, and we decided to go ahead with that one. This was a gift from my mom and stepdad to Leah, and it was the chance to ride a horse. Leah’s obsession with the My Little Ponies has piqued her interest in horses and she has been talking about them and learning everything she can for months. Since we live out in the country she is constantly getting excited when she sees a horse out the car window, but she had never seen one up close.

Leah riding Lydia, a very sweet and gentle horse

Leah riding Lydia, a very sweet and gentle horse

My mom picked us up, after her own riding lesson, and brought us to this beautiful stable that is literally two minutes away. They are super casual there and are on “barn time”, so we didn’t mind that the girl who was giving Leah a lesson was still working with another girl. We wandered around, exploring the stables and chatting with other people who were milling around. Leah met a couple of horses and a barn cat. Then it was her turn. She got a helmet on and we went to a round paddock. She was slightly nervous as my mom lifted her onto the horse, but once her stirrups were adjusted she was completely a natural! She rode around for at least 20 minutes with a huge, content grin on her face. She even let go and took the reins after a while and still was completely comfortable up there. She looked as though she was supposed to be doing this.

After watching the video of her ride that my mom took, my stepdad turned to me and said, “She really loved that! Man, this is going to cost me a fortune!” While I try not to ever ask my parents for financial assistance, I am so very appreciative of the fact that they gave Leah this opportunity that I would not have been able to afford myself. I could tell just by the look on her face that this will lead to a life-long love for my daughter, one that she very much deserves.

4 Years Ago Today- Part 2

So, I started pushing at midnight, but I still had quite a ways to go. At 3:30 a.m. my doctor was ready to give up and do a C-section, but that really

My beautiful newborn Leah Noelle.

My beautiful newborn Leah Noelle.

pissed me off! Not only had I done no research or planning for a C-section, but I had just spent the better part of 3 and a half hours pushing with everything I had. She told me that she could give me no more than a half hour more to have my daughter naturally. Leah came into the world at 3:56 a.m., just under the wire.

I remember craning my neck to see her as a nurse whisked her to the other side of the room to clean her up and take her vitals. I remember catching a glimpse of her for the first time. She was all gooey and covered in, well, stuff. She was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. My mom caught my eye and both of us were crying.

“I am so proud of you.” she said.Once Leah was cleaned up and swaddled she was placed into my arms and I never wanted to let that little girl go again. Despite the very late hour, the nurses let my Dad, Nick, and Kelly in for a moment. I think they were impressed by the dedication of these wonderful folks, who waited the entire 17 hours that I was in labor to meet my daughter. The visitors were soon ushered out, along with my mom who really needed some sleep by then. A nurse helped me to awkwardly nurse my baby for the first time and then took her to the nursery. They set up a little cot for Dave and he was snoring in seconds. I was exhausted, but I could only doze. I wondered what my baby was doing, and it felt strange not to feel her moving in my belly anymore.

Already into trouble at one year old!

Already into trouble at one year old!

Around 6 or 6:30 my phone rang and it was kitchen staff wanting to know what I wanted for breakfast. When the lady delivered my food it was a glorious moment. I hadn’t eaten in nearly two days and I was famished. Dave continued to sleep as I ate everything on my tray, and then before I knew it, people were milling about, taking my blood, checking my vitals, and bring Leah back to me. I was allowed to get up and shower, and then they moved us to a recovery room where I remained for the next 3 days (due to my blood pressure being elevated). We had lots of visitors, and I spent most of my time holding my baby and just staring at her, in awe that this was the being I felt growing and moving inside of me for so long.

Me and my girl, at age two.

Me and my girl, at age two.

My pregnancy felt long, considering that I was on bedrest and spent so much time just reading books and daydreaming about my child, but now here she was, and she was so perfect. When I was finally discharged I remembered feeling terrified and ill-equipped to take care of my baby without the help of the nurses, but I caught on to motherhood very quickly.

Today, that perfect, beautiful baby is a perfect, beautiful, funny, smart, sweet little girl, and she is now four years old.

Three years old, with ringlets!

Three years old, with ringlets!

The past four years have flown by like no time at all, but they have been the best time of my life. Motherhood is such a precious gift and I have enjoyed each and every day of it. Leah Noelle, I hope that you know how much I love you and how proud I am to be your mommy. Happy Birthday, Sunshine!

Leah Noelle- my most recent picture of my gorgeous daughter!

Leah Noelle- my most recent picture of my gorgeous daughter!