her chubby little arms in excitement,
as if she wants to take off –
my little birdie,
trapped inside a human body.
arms, knees, skin –
whatever takes her fancy,
and she’s thrilled about it;
the kind of raw excitement a grown-up will probably never know again.
incoherent sounds and noises –
the makings of words,
the beginning of her next form of communication.
loud enough for the neighbours to hear;
straining her lungs to give it all she’s got –
like a little lioness,
discovering the depth of her roar.
She wants to eat
everything we eat,
giving us that look of expectation every time we have a meal in front of her;
as if she’s part of the event,
waiting for her portion –
even if she’s just had her own food minutes ago.
when she wants attention,
as if being left alone for five seconds means we’ve abandoned her;
and she won’t stand for it,
not even for a minute.
under the sheet,
innocently believing I don’t know where she is –
and when I find her,
she explodes with joy,
amused that I play along
in her little game of peek-a-boo.
in the cutest way I’ve ever heard –
laughing hysterically when she’s in her hyper-energetic stage of the day;
when any silly noise or tickle
will set her off.
at pretty much any time of day –
remnants of the reflux that so plagued her
in her days of infancy;
it doesn’t smell quite so harmless.
She smiles at me
when I come home,
and she gets to play with someone else;
giving me a brief moment of feeling so loved by this innocent being,
even though it quickly disappears as we settle down to playtime.
to keep awake,
as if something is not perfect,
and she won’t drift off until we fix it –
yet not long after,
she melts away
into that precious, peaceful slumber
which gives her – and us – rest after the long day of activity.
to love and cherish,
care for and guide through these childhood years –
a responsibility so great and tiring,
yet replete with moment after moment
of joy, happiness, and tremendous blessings.
She’s my baby,
and she’s the most beautiful gift I’ve ever received.