Friday, September 7, 2012

A letter to My Honey Bee on Your Second Birthday

Dear Hannah Honey Bee,

How the time has flown!  Two years old?!  Today?  My lovely little Miss Hannah.  Hannah Banana.  Hannah Honey Bee.  You really do mean the world to me, sweetie.  If only I could tell you how much!

Of course, I was so excited to meet you.  Again, as with your older sister, we did not know if you were to be a girl or a boy.  We planned to have the surgery for you to arrive on 9-9-10, but scheduling was going to be difficult so we went with 9-7-10, 2 years and 2 months after the arrival of your older sister, Alicia.  The doctor, trying to be funny, pulled you out and said,  "it's a boy.... oh wait, no, it's a girl."  And then I saw your sweet face, my Hannah Karen.  I have to say that it seemed to me like they took you away to get cleaned up far too quickly and that I didn't get to see you or hold you for what felt like hours!  I do think it was over an hour with me waiting alone in a separate room.  The time dragged on!!!

While I had baby experience this time around, I still hadn't been able to nurse a baby, but you were pretty cooperative and were fed mama's milk from the beginning.  You were sleeping through the night periodically at around 8 weeks I believe, but definitely not as consistent as your sister.  Interrupted nights were the norm for the first 5 to 6 months, even though I went back to work after 3 months.

I do think that nursing created a very strong bond between us.  You are definitely my shy girl, clinging to me in most situations from the very beginning.  And there was a period from when you were about 15 months to about 20 months where I was not working and you always wanted to be with mama.  Then, when I started back to work you would cry and carry on about being with mama even when I was in the room.  Leaving you to go to work during that time was heart wrenching.

You cut your first tooth around 6 months and were crawling by 10 months and climbing up the stairs at 11 months.  You were taking your first steps on your own just a week after your first birthday.  At around one you were using new words like crazy: mama, dada, up, down, hi, bye, dog ball.  Some of the more unusual ones at the same age: memere, pepere, nana, nano, football, touchdown (you were also raising your hands in the air for touchdown!), dinosaur (dine-so), stinky (tink-ee), cookie and Alicia (lee-cia).

My little honey bee, you just don't stop.  You are my little energizer bunny, always on the go.  Ever since watching Happy Feet at nana's house, you have loved to do "happy feet" and I have to smile every time I see you go from a regular walk to jumping and skipping.  You have such a great grin, a the-devil-made-me-do-it kind of grin that makes me smile or laugh, no matter how angry I might be with you.  You know just how to make people smile.  You have a fake little laugh like you are trying too hard, but when we tickle you, your real giggle comes out and it is just too cute!

You are a whirlwind of activity, leaving (or throwing) a trail of toys in your wake.  You love to play with your teapot and teacups and play with your dolls and your sister's dollhouse.   Recently you have loved to collect magnets and strew them all over the house.  From watching your sister, you have grown to love playing animals, dinosaurs and legos.  You like to sit and "read" books without any help from us.  I love to hear you make up stories about the pictures.  You started talking and sharing memories very early on.  When we first took you to the circus this past year in March - at only 18 months - you told a story that went like this, "car. boom. guy. scared me. cry."  It is amazing that even months afterwards that you would still tell this story.  And now at two years old you can almost carry on a conversation.  You speak in full sentences and paragraphs and use almost the same words that your sister does.  You amaze me!  Such a smart cookie!

You love your big sister and watch and imitate her every move.  At first it was just sitting on the couch with her cuddling with you as a baby, then it progressed into sharing toys - which you actually both do quite well.  And just this past summer, she went to Vacation Bible School and you quickly learned the songs that she was singing around the house and the two of you are right there with the "trust God" response when prompted.  It is great to see this desire you have to be with your sister and play with her.  It is just so cute when you two do hugs and kisses before bed at night.  You have, on occasion, actually cried because she was not sitting in the car seat next to you on the short ride to church.  I can tell that you feel it when she is not around.  This isn't to say that you don't have your moments.  You do not, for whatever reason, seem to want to hold her hand, which makes your big sister sad.  And you have also started to have some back and forth fights. I was hoping that this would wait until a little later in life.  But I can tell that you feel close to your big sister and love her.

You have a sweetness and a little devilish side all rolled up in one.  A definite impish side to you that makes us all laugh.  You are really quite funny.  You have learned to climb up ladders and go down slides, and you seem to really enjoying riding on your sister's tricycle now that she has her big girl bike.  For some reason the pool or the ocean doesn't seem to interest you and you would rather play at the water table, water flowers, dig in the sand or play in the outside playhouse instead.  You seem to be a bit accident prone and not as cautious as your sister, but nonetheless it is still so much fun for me to watch you learn new things and take on new adventures.  I'm sure this next year will have a lot more in store.

You are an amazing gift from God that he sent down to me.  You are truly a wonderful blessing.  My beautiful, cute, energetic and funny second-born baby girl!

Love you my honey bee!



Saturday, July 7, 2012

A Letter to My Angel Face on Your Fourth Birthday

Dear Little Angel Face,

I sit here wondering how the time has gone so quickly.  Four years old today!!!  How can it be?!  There is so much that makes you special to me, I am not even sure I can put into words all the blessings you bring.

Since you are the firstborn child, I had no idea what to expect, about anything.  One thing was very clear, you certainly were not interested in joining the world on your own.  After 40 hours of an attempt at labor, I had to have surgery for you to arrive.  We did not know if you would be a girl or a boy, but I think deep down, I knew you were a girl.  You see, my own memere passed away and I had asked her that when she got to heaven, to send us a baby and if we were to have a girl, we would name our little girl after her.  Well, my memere certainly worked her way up there quickly, because a month later, we would find out that I was pregnant.  And nine months later you were here, a baby girl that I could name after my memere!  You helped to solidify my faith: in God, in heaven, and in the afterlife.  What a special blessing!!!

Having no "baby" experience, everything was new to me.  I had never held a newborn, so I was very thankful that you were born larger than most at 9 pounds and 4 ounces.   You slept through the night early too at 5 weeks and we soon discovered that you could sleep through anything.  If we were at a party and you were tired, you slept.  It did not matter how loud it was, if you were tucked away in another room, or right in the thick of everything - you slept!  You are still a sound sleeper to this day, and since you share a room with your little sister, this too is a blessing because she can carry on and scream with the best of them.

I stayed home with you for the first eight months and then returned to work outside of the home, but only part time.  This did not bother you as much I worried that it would.  You were able to spend some special time with your nana, memere and Aunty Chris while I worked a few days a week.  You have always been very independent and outgoing, taking anyone's finger to go off and play.  It seems that to this day you adjust so easily to new people and situations.  I wish that I had that same quality.  It is definitely a strength.

Somewhere I believe that I have written down all your important firsts and hopefully I can find it.  I do remember that your first word was mama.  And that your first tooth came in at around five months.  Your first steps without any help was in early June, before your first birthday and you started walking on your own without any help at the end of August.  Just a few snippets.

My little angel face, you have a beautiful smile that lights up the room, and a great belly laugh that is just so catchy.  You also have a very kind heart, a very perceptive and sensitive heart.  I see you watch other people when they are hurt, or crying and you have a face of true concern.  Or you make a comment during a sad moment in a movie and I know that you have a heart filled with understanding.  I hope that you learn that it is ok to be sensitive, that sometimes you will feel sad or get hurt easily by a comment made.  Do not worry too much about being thin-skinned - you are much like me in that regard and I am sure we will talk about this a lot - but know that your sensitivity is a beautiful quality that not many people possess.

You are a smart little lady, very careful and methodical.  A perfectionist. You can write your own name without help, sound out words and recite the Hail Mary.  You love to do puzzles, color,  and create crafts.  You also enjoy watching movies, playing legos, dinosaurs and playing with all of your animals.  You were never very interested in playing with dolls or having tea parties.  You have begun to sing songs this past March, most notably a beautiful duet of the Alleluia from mass with your sister Hannah while driving in the car, with your adorable rendition of the song "Tomorrow" from Annie coming in at a close second.  You have told us that you want to be a zookeeper, a singer, a doctor.  You will not choose one, you want to do it all.  Go for it!

When your little sister came around just after you turned two, you loved her from the beginning.  There are so many pictures of you two cuddling and you liked helping me by getting me diapers and wipes.  You must think she is funny because you imitate her almost as much as she imitates you.  You are great at sharing with her and I love hearing your conversations.  I enjoy watching you read to her and love it when you two give hugs and kisses - just so cute and sweet - although sometimes you have a little too much fun and pull her down on top of you!

You have a silliness and a craziness all your own.  There is a certain high-pitched, piercing squeal you let out at times that shows how excited you are, or how scared.  You have learned how to climb and jump just this past year.  I greatly enjoy watching you run around, trying new things.  This year ahead will bring many new adventures I am sure.  I am looking forward to watching you grow, learn and experience so much more!  It has been a wonderful journey for me so far.  I can only imagine what is in store!

God has given me such a wonderful gift in you.  Such a blessing and a joy!  My beautiful, smart, sweet, silly, first-born baby girl!

Love you my angel face!