Baby Love

Today, I interviewed a family whose little girl is just a bit older than my Eve. We became fast friends during the half-hour I talked to her parents and photographed them playing. She brought me a book and a plastic baby doll and showed me her yellow school bus. She gave me a high-five and a fist bump (toooo cute) and before I left she gave me a hug. Even her baby sister, five months old, threw me – a complete stranger – some big smiles.

My heart absolutely swells at baby and toddler affection, and how freely its given. I remember the big, open-mouthed baby “kisses” Eve would give when she was about 9 months old.  I blogged before about the first time she said “I love you.” And yesterday, completely unprompted, Eve said to my husband, “You’re my best daddy.”  His heart melted. He said if she were a teenager, he probably would have turned over the car keys and $20 on the spot.

But the absolutely most wonderful thing about these expressions of love is that they are completely pure. They are given without expecting anything in return.

I know they will stop, when society or her friends or some internal cue will make her too shy or stubborn or jaded for those public displays. Already, she can be reticent to give kisses at times (puckered-up kisses now that she’s 2).

Until then, I’ll relish in each enthusiastic hug, kiss … and fist bump.

From crazy in love to just plain crazy

Eve, 2, just spent three days at her Papa and Grandma Jane’s farm. I missed her like crazy.

Within two hours of her homecoming today, I really wondered why.

She hadn’t gotten much of a nap, so she was whiny and tempermental. She threw a couple fits and wouldn’t listen when I asked her to come to the dinner table. I suddenly longed for another child-free day.

My husband and I had made the most of our couple time. We went to a movie, watched a Twins game while sitting in the restaurant bar, and even slept in one day. I got a lot of work done. But the whole time, from the moment she got into Papa’s car, our hearts also ached. When I gave Eve a goodbye hug, she actually said, “You go home and cry now.” It was sooo funny, a from-the-mouths-of-babes quote. I have no idea where she came up with it, but it was pretty darn close to the truth.

We called her once each day she was gone. And oh, how my heart swelled when she reached out for me once she was back  home. She snuggled close and we giggled, both so happy to see each other. I asked her all about her time at the farm. She really liked my new fuzzy slippers.

That same afternoon, she threw her glasses across the room and told me to leave her alone.

How is it these little ones can stir so much love and so much frustration in us nearly simultaneously? How can I miss her like crazy one moment, and be driven crazy by her the next?

Nothing baffles me more than this parenting contracdiction.

The L word

One of the sweetest moments of parenthood has to be the first time your child spontaneously says she loves you. This happened for me a couple weeks ago. I was in the shower. Eve, under her Dad’s care, wandered into the bathroom. As my husband shooed her out, she said it.

I love you, Mom. Or, actually, “Ya you, Mommy!”

Eve has told me she loves me before, but only after my husband said “Say ‘Love you, Mommy.’” Her unprompted bathroom declaration made my heart melt more than any other moment of my motherhood.

She’s given her dad equal love, so to speak. For Christmas, she got a toy phone that lets us record messages for her. She figured out how it works, and one day, all on her own, recorded this message: “Ya you, Daddy. YA YOU, Daddy! YA YOU, DADDY!!!”

Of course, she did also say “Ya you, Doctor” to her ophthalmologist a couple months ago. But, hey, we take what we can get, right?

I think this quote, which I found in a booklet of vellum scrapbooking quotations, really sums it up:  “It is no small thing when they, so fresh from God, love us.” — Charles Dickens