She is always moving, discovering, exploring every nook and cranny of our small apartment.
One of the cats will amble past and she giggles delightedly. “Tat!’ she says, pointing. She’ll waddle after them, her legs slightly bowed, and stroke their side. She’ll reach her arms out encircling their pudgy tummies and try to lift them. Naturally, she won’t succeed and they will wander away from her, starting the process all over again. Eventually, the cats will escape her reach and hide beneath the sofa (or bed or underneath the kitchen counters).
Once she has exhausted the cats, her concentration will shift to the next adventure. Recently, it has been climbing into the large red colander which lives on the bottom shelf of our pantry. She will pull it onto the kitchen floor and gingerly put one foot into it, assessing. Provided it passes whatever safety test she is conducting, the rest of her will follow that first foot and she will sit inside of it like it’s a throne, queen of the kitchen. If, for some reason, she can’t sit inside it, she will find something else in the kitchen to drag around with her. She will dig out her favorite reusable grocery bag and pretend to go shopping or she will drag around her father’s lunch cooler – provided he hasn’t taken it to work with him – or even the grease traps from our Foreman grill which she uses on the tile like drumsticks.
Everything is an adventure for her and she would rather be doing something than sitting still or even taking a nap.
Despite my best efforts, I have never been able to nail down a normal nap time routine. One out of every three or four days we’ll have lunch together and then she will nurse for a few minutes and go to sleep for two to three hours. The rest of the time we have a – how shall I put this delicately – diaper issue. She picks nap time to ummm – there is no way for this not to be gross – defecate and, of course, that means she won’t fall asleep for a nap like normal even though she is sleepy. On these days, there is only one solution: snuggles.
Thursday was one of her no-nap days. So, I grabbed a big blanket and set it up on the couch, turned on Despicable Me – she loves those minions! – and settled her against my shoulder. I always make sure she has her stuffed owl to clutch and her binky to suck on. Even if she doesn’t fall asleep, her head with fall heavily against me and a puddle of drool will form on my shirt. On this particular occasion, we were joined by Grace (the fatter one). She jumped onto my legs and sniffed the baby mistrustfully; yet, she lay on my other shoulder and purred happily.
It reminded me of the early days. Lorelei never liked to sleep in her crib or bassinet during the first couple months of her life and she would usually end up snuggled in bed with us. Even though we had put a door up at the foot of the stairs to keep the cats out of our bedroom at night, they spent all night banging against it and keeping us from sleep. Most of the time, we would let them into our room anyway and they would curl up on our feet, keeping us warm in our drafty old house in the dead of the St Louis winter. It was nice having all of our tiny little family piled all together. Nowadays, she moves too much for us to ever really snuggle as a family without risking bodily harm.
I miss the tiny newborn who could curl up on my chest with her feet barely grazing my tummy. But I do love the toddler with her long legs that end up wrapped around my waist. I’ll breath in the scent of her head – a smell which still screams “baby” – and press a feathery kiss to her temple. I know it won’t last forever so I’m going to enjoy every minute of it.