Friday, October 22, 2010

Clementine Turns One Today!

I know it's cliché, but it truly does seem like yesterday that my little Clementine was born, and now my "baby" is one year old!  The more children I have running around in this house, the quicker the baby seems to grow up.  I'm not able to savor every moment of babyhood, take millions of pictures or journal pages and pages in baby books.  (In fact I don't think Clementine's is filled up any farther than her birth story!)  It really is hard to grasp that her babyhood is gone and toddlerhood is upon us.

Granted, a one-year-old is still very baby-like in some ways.  Clementine is cuddly, still nurses and sleeps with me, falls asleep in my arms and wants to be carried a lot.  But she's like a baby on wheels.  She's been walking for about a month now and is literally running around after her brothers all the time.  She's jabbering away and attempting real words.  She loves her baby doll and turning over pages of books.  She has a sense of humor and holds little grudges and is sensitive and temperamental.  She gives kisses and hugs and helps with laundry and understands "No."  She's really her own little person!

So this is the first time we've reached a first birthday without there being another baby on the way.  In fact, the longest we've ever gone in our marriage without being pregnant is 10 months.  I don't know if I can write what I'm feeling about that.  On the one hand there's a real ache to be pregnant again and for the promise of another sweet, precious, tiny baby.  I don't think many people understand *why* a mother of four - three of whom are young and very close together in age - would want another baby.  But there have been a few moms I've talked to who really related and understood that kind of bittersweet grief and longing I'm feeling.  I can't explain it and it's really too tender for me to even blog much about it.

Then I also feel that I need a break from pregnancy and nursing and being postpartum for a while.  I've been varying combinations of those three things for the last 6 years.  Also I want to really be *present* for my children, not so harried and exhausted that I'm just meeting their basic needs and unable to really enjoy them.  Again, it's hard for me to really dig into this much here, so I'll just leave it at that.  I hope we have another baby, but I feel [mostly] good about waiting a couple years before that happens.

In the mean time, Clementine will be my baby.  Thankfully she's still very cuddly and a huge Mama's girl, which is a comfort for the Mama.  =]  I think it will be very fun to have the toddler be the youngest child in the house for once, and I just adore having a little girl again.
Look how big she is!

Folding laundry with Mama
Fearless and cute
A book lover already
Playing while Mama makes dinner
Playing with brother

I think I end up saying at least once a day, "I just love this girl!"  Not, of course, that I'm not simply crazy about my other kids.  They are amazing.  But there's something about my little Clemmers that is especially endearing right now.  She's just still so "into" me!  I know that sounds narcissistic, but what I mean is that even though I'm lamenting over the end of her babyhood, there's still enough baby left in her to keep my arms full.  Clementine has surely gotten independent, but not as much as my other children!  I get a few little snuggles and cuddles with them in a day but I still get lots with Clementine.  Even when she's playing she wants to be close to me or touching me if possible.  She is my sweet, darling little girl and I am so totally in love with her!

So, with all that baggage and conflicting emotions aside, I want to say

Happy Birthday, Clementine Grace!
Your birth one year ago was truly incredible, 
and I have loved you more every day since then.
I am glad you are YOU, 
that you are ONE, 
and that you are a GIFT from God to me!

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