December 3, 2005
Our little Kaia has mastered the “Staying” command. She is well on her way to “Sitting” up on her own and is a joy to watch as she outstretches her arms in an attempt to balance her tiny body. She can sit unsupported for bits at a time until she reaches to grab something in curiosity. By Christmas time, I have a feeling she’ll be a pro. Two friday’s ago (11/18/05), Jason and I were awaken as normal by our daughter at some ungodly hour in the morning. We both slowly crawled over to the foot of our bed where her crib resides and groggily bent over to pick her up and transfer her into our bed – something we’ve gotten ourselves into the habit of lately. Suddenly, Jason noticed Kaia was on her back and said “Honey, she rolled over! I put her to sleep on her belly!”. We looked at each other, then looked at our wriggling, wimpering daughter and laughed. She sure did! As we stood over her crib, like Mary and Joseph gazing upon a baby in a manger, we were awestruck at this milestone. Yes…we had witnessed a miracle! We were immediately energized, giggled, and both reached in to pick her up and congratulate her. That morning, just to ensure I hadn’t dreamed it, I rolled over to Jason and said “Remember that she rolled over last night?”. He confirmed the experience and took Kaia downstairs to allow me to sleep in peace for a bit longer. Before falling back to sleep, I overheard Jason joyously telling his mom and Grandma how Kaia rolled over and before I knew it, he was laughing with joy. “Look, Look, she’s gonna do it for us!”. I jumped out of bed and stood looking down over the upstairs landing to see Kaia on her tummy on the living room couch. She hiked her little bum in the the air as leverage to push herself on her side. Gurgling and cooing, she then managed to swing her legs around just enough to roll herself on her back. We oohhed and ahhhed and clapped our hands in excitement. We tried to get her to do it again to take pictures, but alas, she decided she’d keep her secret to herself.
Milestones such as these serve as a bittersweet reminder of how quickly little ones grow up. Many times, I intentionally hold her too tight, nurse her too long, and kiss her too much in an effor to sieze the moment and remember her just as she is…perfect, tiny, wholly ours and so much herself.
For a few weeks, I’ve been hosting an internal battle about starting her on solid foods (while of course continuing to nurse). She has been watching with intent as we eat, reaching up to grab good just before it enters our mouths. She studies how we drink water and opens her mouth instintively. She is now almost 5 months old and I can tell her belly is growing! Finally, I walzed into Walgreen’s and picked up some baby food – pears. That night, we sat her in her bouncy seat and strapped on a bib. And just like that, we spooned the pears in her hungry mouth. She squealed and jabbered and begged for more…she ate like a champ! While I certainly plan to continue nursing her, I feel twinges of guilt, sadness, and loss about transitioning her to solid foods. I know it sounds funny and it’s one of those reactions I never imagined I”d have as a Mother. But somehow, I am dreading the day in which she will no longer “need” me for nourishment. I am saddened by the thought…and at the same time, Jason reminds me that watching her grow will be a true adventure and blessing.
Kaia is one happy little girl. She whines only when she is tired or hungry and let me tell you, both require immediate attention! At the first rub of her eyes, I’ve learned to put her down for a nap or crankiness will certainly ensue. Since we moved into Jason’s Mom’s house, she decided that she was no longer going to sleep through the night. So, we’ve managed to somehow make it through numerous wakings and feedings all night long…Of course, when Grandpa and Grandma Ritchie, and Grams Ritchie (my Mom) were here, she slept through the entire night for them at their hotel rooms. Sometimes in the mornings in which I work from home, Kaia awakens next to me on my pillow. She turns to look at me and we stare at each other in silence. She reaches out and touches my face, her soft hands exploring my nose and hair and mouth. We start a conversation and she laughs and smiles and talks right back. We share wisdom. We transfer love. We keep each other warm. We make pacts to always remember…how loved we are, how special our bond is…And sometimes, our lovely encounters leads up right back to peaceful sleep, together again…we share life-giving breath.