Tuesday, February 15, 2011

On your 8th birthday

Dear Arlington,

It is hard for mommy and daddy to believe that today you turn 8 years old.  From the moment you were born, we loved you very deeply.  Holding you for the first time, you cried and cried.  And never closed your eyes.  We had read all the baby books that said after babies are born, they are so tired, they sleep for several hours.  But not you - no you stayed awake almost the whole night.  You slept very little during those first days in the hospital.  You were a fast delivery - only 4 hours of labor and 2 pushes before you came into the world.  But the nurses warned me that you would have some fussy days because of that, and they were right.

You didn't want any pacifier they offered you.  No, you wanted the ugly pacifier that a friend of mine had given me as a joke.  A big, brown, soft binky was all you would take.  But that was okay - it soothed you, and that all that mattered.
When we first brought you home, we were scared.  You didn't want to sleep much and you were the fussiest from 7-9 at night.  And sometimes you burned the midnight oil.  You wouldn't be upset - but you were wide awake a lot of the night those first few weeks.  You would sit in your swing, or sit in our arms, and just look around.  You were fascinated with the glowing numbers on the microwave.  You never missed anything.
And then, after 6 weeks of endless nights, car rides, walking until the carpet was thread bare, you changed your tune and slept 8 hours.  I woke up and didn't think you were breathing because you slept so much.  But you had just decided that being up at night was no longer fun, and we were grateful for that.  From then on, you were an amazing sleeper.  You took 3 naps a day - good, solid ones - and slept 8-10 hours at night.  The fussiness ended, and you settled into being a fun, happy baby.
We used Babywise to set your schedule, and it worked for you.  You learned to console yourself, and sleep peacefully without a lot of help from us.  That was such a relief when you started daycare.  They would comment on what an "easy baby" you were, and how well you slept.  We were proud that we were able to keep you on such a great schedule and keep you happy and content.
As you grew, you were very curious.  You sat at 5 months old.  You drank from a cup at 5 months old - that was the end of the bottle!  You crawled at 7 months and would chase everything and anything.  You said your first word - duck - at 9 months old.  You walked at 11 months old.  You had a 20 word vocabulary by your one year birthday.
And you haven't stopped since.  You were a very easy child.  When we told you "no" once, you followed the rule from then on.  You were not one to make mischief, or cause trouble.  We never even had to baby proof the cabinets in our house because we told you no, and you never bothered them again.
You were like a sponge.  As you grew, you were curious about everything.  You would ask so many questions on our walks, and stop to admire every ant, and every flower.  One day, while we were still living in California, you stopped to watch a trail of ants for 30 minutes.  You never touched them.  You just watched them do their job.  You were fascinated.
We loved watching you learn.  Watching you learn to talk, then walk, then run.  Then read.  By age 4 you had a huge vocabulary and were reading.  You had many wonderful friends, and we loved watching how well you got along with everyone you met.  You have always been a very social girl, and very friendly, and that is one of the things I like most about you.  Your daddy and I were very shy growing up, and I am glad you didn't inherit that from us.
Everything you do, we are so proud of you.  I think back to how much you have done and seen in your short life, and I am amazed.  You moved from California to Florida to Connecticut.  You have driven across the country with us and up both coasts.  Everything we saw was fascinating to you and you still remember a lot of details to this day.
The day you started Kindergarten was one of the hardest days.  I was so proud that you were growing up, but missed my little baby that had suddenly become a big kid.  You got on that bus on that first day - not knowing anyone in our new town, and you never looked back.  You came home from your first day of school with new friends, and new stories to share.  And school has become a favorite in your life.  Your zest for learning and life amazes me every day.
And now you are 8.  You are a second grader, and become more mature by the day.  You no longer have the little girl silliness you did just a few years ago, but you still are an innocent soul.  I have watched you turn from a little girl, to a big sister, so a wonderful young lady.  You are helpful, and strong, and polite.  You are strong willed and determined.  You love to play sports and swim.  You love to read and to be read to.
I could go on and one about how wonderful you are and how much we love you.  But I hope we show you that everyday.  We can never tell you enough how we feel about you.  How lucky that you are our daughter.  How amazing these last 8 years have been.

Happy Birthday Arlington Monkey Princess.  We love you with every inch of our hearts.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I remember each one of those pictures as if they were yesterday but here is my fondest memory. I was there for Arlington's first weeks of life and how clearly I remember your bedroom door opening around 2:00 Am and you asking- "Mom, could you take her for a little one". I would climb the steps and take that precious angel in my arms and we would walk all around the downstairs and stare at the light on the microwave. Finally I would carefully sit back down on my bed(the fold out couch) and slowly, slowly lay down holding you close on my chest and we would sleep like that creating that special grandma/grandchild bond- sealing our love forever.

we love you Arlington- Grammy and Papa

Anonymous said...

I remember each one of those pictures as if they were yesterday but here is my fondest memory. I was there for Arlington's first weeks of life and how clearly I remember your bedroom door opening around 2:00 Am and you asking- "Mom, could you take her for a little while". I would climb the steps and take that precious angel in my arms and we would walk all around the downstairs and stare at the light on the microwave. Finally I would carefully sit back down on my bed(the fold out couch) and slowly, slowly lay down holding you close on my chest and we would sleep like that creating that special grandma/grandchild bond- sealing our love forever.

we love you Arlington- Grammy and Papa

Thelongs said...

What a wonderful post, Jen! (Made me teary eyed!)Happy Birthday to Arlington! I hope that she had a great day!

Andrew said...

Love those pictures of a little girl I love very much :-)