She's at that phase where her hands are always fists. And she kicks her legs nonstop like she is trying to start a fire with her heels.
I have some friends that have told me the gender thing among their children isn't that different. I have had others notice a huge difference. So far it's hard to tell much because, well, she can't walk into a room and choose her own toy among trucks and dolls. And she can't really tell me if she prefers a dress or pants. But I have noticed the difference in us as parents and the 'feeling' and thoughts of having a girl after two boys.
The piles of generous gifts lined my kitchen for several weeks. Almost entirely comprised of various shades of pink. I didn't know this was a color that could spawn 409 variations. A little bit or purple, some teal, a splash of yellow and a dash of white. Mostly pinks. And each pink shade would clash with the next. There was no universal 'pink' among any of the selected clothing designers. This was interesting to me. And which shade did I like best?!
I collected all blankets first. I stared at this basket of various colors and patterns and felt immediately frozen. Such delicate items: I wanted to keep them pure and clean and properly colorful. A feeling I have never had about clothing. I didn't know how to wash all the brights and softs without ruining them! I was so used to throwing in blues and browns and whites and greys. She wasn't even born yet and our world, our home, was being filled with this brightness and newness of vibrant color. A friend suggested I put the pales, yellows and whites together and then the purples and 'other' pinks in another load. I still ended up turning a white blanket pink.
So we brought her home and immediately felt like we planted a row of fresh, white tulips in our home. I became aware of all that she meant when she sang "I'm just a girl in the world and that's all that you'll let me be". As a parent of a little girl you hate every shady, dirty, naughty man in the world a whole lot more and you can't think of a better way to shield her from that than to hold her snug to your chest forever. Wrapped in a blanket. With a bonnet on. And a veil over her face.
When you bring a baby boy home you think of how rough and tumble he will become and how he will be a man one day. So your job is to teach him and make sure he's able to face the world and survive it and protect and care for a family. A girl needs the same, but girls seem to be more of a target for nasty and rotton things and don't even know it until so much later in life. So naturally, she arrives and you feel as though your goal is to protect her from this. Keep her from it all, this world of icky stuff; perversion. So it's like the feeling of raising a soldier and growing a flower. Which somehow seems so wrong. But why does it feel this way so naturally?
The feeling of having three isn't as overwhelming as I thought it would be. I don't remember crying a lot like I did with my other two babies. Maybe because I am too busy to stop and think about it, to wrapped up in the 'doing'. There are moments that seem like a bit much, but never entire days. And those moments are mostly when I leave the house on my own with them. Which, btw, is getting a little less stressful the more I practice.
The thing about three is I am not stressed about how to do this like I was with my first. And I am not so overly concerned with the other children being jealous as I was with my second. I am the least stressed out overall this time around. This has allowed me to really soak her in and hold her more and watch her more and take my time with her care-taking. Every chance I have to make her smile and wait for her coo I take it and relish it. The dishes wait longer with less guilt. I think guilt was heaviest with my second, that sinking feeling of cheating on your first is gone. It's the only birth that truly left me wondering what life used to be like before we got this baby!
I have to add that she came to me with an unbelievably calm temperment. So peaceful and easy.
Since day two she has been sleeping through the night (or getting up once at most). I write this because it's this (oddly sounding) strong confirmation that The Lord knows my life well and what I needed. Maybe it's a fluke, but I honestly don't think so. I had great concern for my ability to be everything these children need of me as I have a demanding schedule on my own each week. I wasn't quite sure I would be able to tend to them fairly without sleep. I learned to remember the feeling I had when I knew it was time to try for our third that it would be fine. A super clear comfort that it was her time to come to our family and we would be fine. And it is. It's going so much better than it logically seems it should. And I know spiritually it's not by chance.
That isn't to say there are not moments when I really want to switch places with Mike. Moments when the idea of sitting on a plane for several hours being served drinks and reading magazines without interruption would be heavenly. But all in all I am rather lucky to have my life and I hope to remember that more often.