A little over a year ago we welcomed a red-headed little girl into our family. She was our biggest baby yet at 8 lbs even and our second longest at 21 inches. It seemed to take about six months for her very special personality to begin shining through.
And, wow, has she ever become her own individual little person. She knows what she wants, when she is done, and when she has not had enough. She has an abundant amount of spunk, humor, goofiness, and unique explorations to entertain her many family members.
Can you guess who took the picture and who was running to take the dog food bowl away from her??
S is a very, VERY determined little one.
Yes she tried to get up the stairs through the baby gate. And got stuck at least a couple times. When that didn't work she learned how to stand on her tip-toes and use the very small, hard to move, gate latch we had modified our baby gate with. So now we have a large toy box at the base of our stairs. (I refuse to play gate-keeper all day long for the older children)
She is very tough.
She has no problem taking the many bumps that come with the toddler stage (and with her style, it is MANY). We have a step-down into our family room. Until recently she insisted on taking the decline head first, typically without any complaint.
She absolutely loves walking/running down the sidewalk. But she hasn't mastered the level changes in the concrete. No sweat, she says, we fall, laugh, giggle, and keep on runnin'.
Yes, S lives life on the fast track.
I can not even count how many times our littlest has been told, by complete strangers, "sweetie, you might want to walk before you run". No, she is not for the slow and mellow paced among us. She is going now, and going FAST, people. To help her with that, grandpa and grandma gave her a shopping cart to careen around corners with on a daily basis.
She relishes being the center of attention.
I recently took her to the room at church in which parents may watch the service with their noisier children (S has frequent flier miles to this room). There were a few other parents (mostly, first timers) already in there with their little ones. S proceeded to go around the room to each adult, make a raised eyebrow with big smile face at them, return to me, babble about her experience, and go back to her socialization. The whole time she was nearly running with the hiccups. She had the whole room watching her, smiling, and I think a bit overwhelmed. I was a bit embarrassed, or overwhelmed, myself. S never seems to do quite what I have come to expect from years with our older ones.
She loved being in the center of 'Happy Birthday'. I couldn't hardly keep her from eating the lit candle!
S is a very big ham.
Anytime she hears music or if she is asked to dance she sways more than half her body to a very quick beat, in a goofy style, all her own. And she will do it double-time if laughed at. If you aren't convinced how much of a ham she can be just check-out the many faces she made about her birthday carrot cake experience.
S wins people over.
Everytime Ryan comes home from work she runs to him and calls out dada dada over and over in the sweetest, but most insistent way. He has said, 'that's just not fair', refering to the "I'm going to make you melt" effect her endearing love for him has on her. She loves people. S doesn't like being alone, but thrives off of interaction and people enjoy her.
S is a blast to have around, but also stretches Ryan and I. I like to believe that God gave her to us now because we should be wiser parents at this point. Continuously, I remind myself that with her I must win the battles, but never get angry. Emotional responses don't produce desirable results. But I have to prove to her that I am more persistent than she is (and hopefully, keep her believing it for about two more decades). And that, folks, is a challenge.
If you ever happen to have the pleasure of holding her (she can be a precious cuddle bug when tired) you will quickly learn what I mean. When S wants down (which is often) you might as well be holding a giant snake with tentacles. She will squirm, push, and turn herself against you with mighty strength until you finally put her down.
But, typically, letting her down is not a battle I need to fight. So, I let her run.
See, I was a strong willed child. I appreciate all of the positive characteristics that come with that. I was not, however, quite this silly or out-going. I know that strong-willed people have optimism (it requires optimism to keep trying). I also know that she will be able to learn and accomplish many things because of her determination.
This is the balance. Not crushing her determination or spirit. Realizing that God made her the firecracker she is for very good reasons which we may never understand. But teaching her boundaries, respect, and discipline. When to temper her wild side and when she can let fly with her craziness.