Saturday, October 9, 2010

Seen and Unseen

As a mother, my greatest mystery and delight is imagining who our baby will grow up to be. 

One of my favorite parts of having  a 6 month old is seeing Leah's personality emerge more and more everyday.  She is curious, inventive, determined, funny, and above all, happy. 

Some things about her personality are, of course, her very own. 

For example, her crazy ability and desire to move.  Anywhere, everywhere.  It's been with her since the day she was born, that strong baby who lifted up her head 20 minutes after being welcomed into the world, and who rolled over at 9 days old.  That's just an intrinsic part of who she is. 
Or the love and comfort she receives from sucking.  She took to nursing right away, which makes sense, seeing as she'd been practicing in the womb since at least 12 weeks... pretty much as soon as she had thumbs!  We're no nearer giving up her paci now than we were when she was born.  It's just a part of her, as natural as the fact that she *still* has no hair. 

Or the fact that she's still not all that thrilled with being held by strangers, or even not-so-strangers.  I remember telling people in the hospital on the day she was born that Leah didn't like the transfer between on person to another.  She would cry when she was handed off, and then as soon as it was over, she got comfy and quieted down.  Although she will go to the people who know her best, it's more like she tolerates it, but doesn't particularly enjoy being held by anyone but Mom and Dad. 

The older she gets, though, the more I begin to see little hints that Casey and I may actually have had something to do with shaping her personality.  It's amazing to watch!  All those little things we did when she was tiny and couldn't react to what I was doing... I'm discovering that they have affected her, too!

She loves music!  When I was pregnant, I played Carrie Underwood's "American Girl" in the car on the way to work nearly every day.  I noticed when Leah was little and absolutely hated the car that if I played anything by Carrie Underwood, it would often help soothe her.  While I was on maternity leave, we turned on music and danced around the living room almost every day.  And now, at 6 months, she smiles and giggles when I sing "If you're happy and you know it," the alphabet song, and practically anything from The Wiggles... she loves it!  I even catch her "singing along," in her little way. 

She is a good self-soother.  I hear her in her crib at night talking to herself, playing by herself and contenting herself with herself until she falls asleep, which is a really big deal!  Especially because...

...She's a total Momma's girl.  I think, in part, she was always going to be a momma's girl.  Truth be told, though, I've probably helped it along.  Never intentionally.  At first, it was just that I was the one who was best able to comfort her.  As time went on, it became routine for me to soothe her - in fact, we had a difficult time for a while because she relied entirely too much on me to soothe her.  Now, we've reached a very happy medium, but she is still my little buddy.  And I sure do love that girl!

More than anything else, she is a sweet, happy and mello baby.  And, while I thank God for giving us a baby who is naturally that way, I also begin to see the ways in which Casey and I have contributed to helping her personality develop in that way. 

People always say that babies are like little spunges who absorb everything around them.  For the first several months of her life, it was difficult to tell what she was absorbing and what she wasn't.  It is such an amazing gift to see that she has been listening, watching and learning all this time, and is whole and healthy and happy as a result. 

It is such a stark reminder to me that I have to watch what I say, how I act and how I respond regardless of how much sleep I've had or what kind of a day it has been, because although in some ways she is who she is, her personality is developing every moment.   

So far, I'd say we're all doing okay...

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