I was incredibly excited to pull this sweet ensemble out of the closet for Violet to wear for Christmas this year. Five years ago my mom so sweetly made these Christmas jumpers from some vintage kitchen towels for Aubrey (who was just 13 months) and my niece Molly (who was 21 months.) I put ours away in the closet as one of those items I knew I'd keep forever. Hoping to pass it on to a grandchild someday. But I never anticipated that I'd have another daughter who would look nearly identical and just as cute in it as her sister did five years ago.
It seems that every year my excitement and anticipation grows along with the kids' until just after opening presents and that "well now it's all over" feeling hits. But I was pleased this year as our kids were genuinely grateful and happy with the treasures they received. The smiles, the hugs, the love, the laughter, the excitement. Celebrating Jesus' birth with the ones I love the most...
Her vocabulary is taking off in leaps and bounds and her tiny voice is the cutest thing in the world. She's still reluctant to take any steps but her confidence is growing daily. She's finally figured out how to climb the stairs which left us with the task of putting up gates (Joe did a phenomenal job of creating a beautiful wooden one for the top.) She's becoming a Daddy's girl and can melt his heart when she hears him walk through the door and shouts "Da-yee!" with a smile. Her brother and sister are loving her increasing interaction with them though we're frequently reminding Aubrey "if she's whining or crying that means she doesn't like what you're doing so please stop..." Her snuggles are to die for and she can brighten my day with just her smile.
You can see the tears in our poor baby's eyes. It seems so torturous and yet we still do it because we don't want to miss out on capturing this memory. Daddy was sweeter than I would have been. He put her down slowly, letting her cling to him for a few last seconds before completely handing her over to the stranger in red and white. I would have done the drop and run... she'll never remember this anyway. So the photographer took a few quality shots and when all was said and done, we chose not to go with the "face angry with tears" shot. The candy cane seemed to appease her just enough.
I don't want to give this up. There is nothing in the world like these precious moments and they're gone so fast. I struggle every time I think "she's old enough to be drinking from a cup... that baby is drinking from a cup... will she become attached to it if I let it go on too long???"
And yet, every day that I tell myself "this should probably be the day" I nearly break down in tears and I can't seem to let go of these moments.
Breastfeeding wasn't the enjoyable bonding experience I had hoped it would be for us. I don't remember either of my other two disliking it nearly as much as sweet Violet. It often seemed like a battle and wasn't always a sweet "snuggle into me and enjoy the moment" kind of thing. But I powered through with the goal of nursing until she was old enough for cow's milk (as close to 12 months as I could get.) So just a few weeks short of her birthday I began slowly replacing nursing with bottles of milk and like clockwork, on her birthday, she nursed for the very last time. I might have actually been sad if it had felt like I was taking something away from her. But when she pushed me away and shook her head I knew we'd both get over it fast.
Then something happened and our experience changed. She enjoys her milk from a bottle. Our routine of wake-up, bottle time! She enjoys laying in my lap, snuggling into me just right and my heart is full and happy every time. So what if she "should" be drinking from a cup? I'm OK with this for now...