little girl balloon

Things I Love About My Daughter.

Her many shades of laughter — the shriek-y kind, the belly kind, the silly performative kind, the anticipatory kind when she’s just waiting to be tickled.

Her name, a daily reminder of family and the bravery of our forebears.

Her cornsilk-fine hair, now so long as to fall midway down her back when it’s not in her preferred style: braids.

The humbling, all-consuming, knee-buckling privilege of knowing that she needs me.

Her shockingly high EQ.

The way she cups her hands around my face in tender moments.

Her inquisitiveness.

Her unexpected, precious compliments: “I love your beautiful dress, mama,” she will say out of the blue, nibbling at her sandwich.

Her occasional saltiness. Me: “What do you think of the halibut?” Her: [Chewing thoughtfully, then slow blinking.] “Horrifying.”

The feel of her hand in mine.

The way she cannot sit or lie next to me without pressing every possible part of her body against mine: her feet against my legs, her head against my shoulder, her palm against my arm.

The stubborn crossing of her arms and hunching of her shoulders when she’s drawn a line and will not budge, equal parts irritating and comical. (But where did she learn this pose?)

Her love of books.

Her attentiveness to detail — she owns easily a hundred or more books and when I ask her “What does Amelia Bedelia Goes to School look like?” as I skim the spines in its pursuit, she will reply, effortlessly and immediately: “Yellow with a little blue flower on it.”

Her love of Woody and Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story.

Her babyish mispronunciations, whose death I dread: “yogrette” for “yogurt,” “ozinge” for “orange,” “oppopus” for “octopus,” “pita-budda-jelly” for “peanut butter and jelly” (the “and” elided; the phrase strung together as if one word).

Her taste for apples and the way she twists them around in her still-baby-like hands in search of the perfect next nibble.

Her solicitude for her brother.

The way she calls her brother “Hillbill,” “bud bud,” and “little man.”

Her comfort in conversation with adults: she launches in, unflustered by the age gap.

The earnest way she will tell the doorman and the super where she is going and what she has been doing as we enter and exit our building. More to the point: her underlying, heart-rending assumption that everyone cares.

The soft and faraway look she gets in her eyes when she is tired and I am singing to her in the dark of her bedroom.

The fact that she insists I sing her “O Little Town of Bethlehem” most nights, even when not in the Christmas season.

Her incredible memory for song lyrics — she knows the words of many songs much better than Mr. Magpie or I.

Her obsession with art — painting, specifically — and the care with which she creates her masterpieces, face close to the paper.

The way she intones “oh my goooodneeeeess!” when opening a present: 100% me, living outside my body.

Her wriggly, writhing, uncoordinated dance moves.

Her voice chanting “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can” when racing to the bathroom — an inheritance from her grandmother. (My mother trained me to say this to myself as a toddler, and I paid it forward.)

The way she gleefully yells “mama!!!!!” when I emerge from the bedroom in the morning.

Her beautiful hazel eyes.

The thud of her feet sprinting around our apartment, a kinetic energy that does not stop from 6 a.m. in the morning until she falls asleep at 7 p.m. at night.

All of her —

All of her —

All of her.

Post-Scripts.

+My daughter has always felt like my other heartbeat.

+On the elegant but lopsided dance of motherhood.

+Eyeing these St. James striped tees for both of my children after spotting them on Caitlin’s!

+A sweet reader wrote to ask after gift ideas for her Kindergarten-bound niece, in order to “get her excited about school/congratulate her.” A few ideas…

FUN PERSONALIZED STICKERS TO PUT ON ALL HER BACK TO SCHOOL GEAR

A PERSONALIZED CRAYON BOX WITH A FRESH BOX OF CRAYOLA

MINI LOVES USBORNE STICKER BOOKS — MAYBE A BUNDLE OF THEM, INCLUDING THIS BACK-TO-SCHOOL ONE?

A PERSONALIZED TRACING PLACEMAT

A LITTLE BRACELET — I BOUGHT MINI THIS AS A GIFT FOR HER FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL THIS YEAR BECAUSE I WEAR A GOLD BANGLE DAILY TOO

THE KISSING HAND BOOK — ABSOLUTELY PRECIOUS STORY ABOUT A RACCOON WORRIED ABOUT MISSING HIS HOME/MOM AT SCHOOL

+Talbots just generously sent me this long quilted coat. Perfection for the transition to fall. I’ll be wearing mine with No. 6 clog boots in the pick-up line after school.

+Speaking of boots: these are an amazing everyday fall boot for a toddler. I think I will also be buying mini a pair of Ugg boots for winter. The commute to her school is a cold one in the winter months.

+All Saints has some really good handbags out right now — this on-trend snakeskin tote is crazy chic (and crazy discounted); this leather crossbody reminds me of the far more expensive Hermes Evelyne; and this woven tote reads like a St. Laurent or something.

+Gorgeous oblong cachepot.

+One of my favorite Target finds in a long while. (More Target scores here.)

+If you need a good cry today…this one always does it for me.

+If you need to hear it today: you are enough.

+These wheeled laundry baskets are…can I say this about laundry baskets?…impossibly chic.

+Exaggerated collars are the thing this fall, and this sweatshirt nails the look at a great price. (More pilgrim-chic picks here.)

+Gorgeous teapot. I’ve flagged this as an impossibly elegant gift for somebody.

+More gifts for girlfriends.

+Construction pajamas for a little boy. (Would make a cute gift, bundled with this bedtime book.)

+Emory absolutely loves this book. The illustrations (can’t tell if it’s cut paper or something a la Eric Carle?) are eye-catching, the language is lyrical, and the storyline is powerful.

+This adorable birthday jon jon is on sale and still available in size 12M and 24M (i.e., most common sizes for a boy on his 1st or 2nd birthday).

+These blockprint-esque jammies are so adorable!!! I love all of the pajamas in J. Crew’s “Dreamy” fabric/collection.

14 Comments

  1. Ah, this is so familiar! We are about 6 months behind Emory. It’s making me miss my girl who is at her second day of school as I read this! She also never stops running all day (or talking – can’t wait to hear from her teachers if she talks all day at school, too…) and I’m constantly asking her to walk on quiet little kitten feet as she thunders down the hardwood hallway past her napping sister’s room. My favorite mispronunciation is when her “thank you” sounds more like “tee boo” or “tan poo.” She calls her grandparents Mimigramps (no “and”) or sometimes “your parents” (“I want to go to your parents’ house”) which kills me! Ugh they are such shining lights! Except when they’re ornery every five minutes.

    1. I love that — “mimigramps.” I’m sitting here feeling my heart swell majorly because we just dropped Emory off for her first full day at school and GOSH it is ridiculous but it is hitting me like a ton of bricks. It is SO quiet. I have been complaining about the constant interruptions but now I don’t know how I’ll get through the day without her springing in here to show me her latest artwork or tell me she used the toilet or cleared her lunch plate. I can’t wait to see her and give her the biggest squeeze. Parenting is SUCH a wild ride.

      Anyway, thanks for sharing these sweet little details from your own daughter. xxxx

  2. My three year old daughter asks for Away in a Manger (or “Manger! Manger!” as she calls it) every night without fail! I hope these songs awaken in our girls the splendor of the mystery of the Incarnation.

    1. How sweet is that?! Also, all of those Christmas hymns make excellent lullabies. “Silent Night” is another calming one. xx

    1. Ahh — the time goes by so fast, doesn’t it?! I already feel this and my children are still so young. Sending you love!

      xx

  3. Ouch! This was just so heartwarming. I had two boys and have always wanted a little girl, but it wasn’t in the cards. Now that one son is married, I’m hoping he will have a little girl for me to dress up and play dolls. I definitely feel the miss, but also am a strong believer that God provides what I need and maybe a daughter wasn’t it. Regardless, I move on and love hearing your stories. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Aw, Cynthia – I always love your comments. So vulnerable and yet full of perspective. I will be hoping for a granddaughter for you, too!

      xx

  4. What a joy to read while nursing my son to sleep for his first nap. Thank you for opening up and sharing your beautiful daughter with us. Xoxo.

  5. What a beautiful tribute to your daughter! I smiled through the list of things you love about her — some of the items remind me of my stepdaughter (the sweetness contrasted with occasional saltiness! haha!) and my nieces. Love, love, love! Also love the callback to the post where you announced her birth! Her name is so special and I just love that it honors her ancestors on both sides. Inspirational for sure!

    xx

  6. Love this – brought a tear to my eye! I love this 3-5yo age range (which is why it was the focus of my graduate degrees.) My favorite is that my daughter will not hesitate to call you out and keep you honest. For instance, she will scold dad for not putting his shoes away in the closet and remind me of what treats she’s owed when. The unexpected compliments are also lovely as is her just being the wonderful girl she is (even when she’s being a threenager).

    Love these back to school ideas – need to pick up something as hurrah, found a program that meets my standards and had a spot available for the fall.

    1. So sweet and so true of a 3 year old — they WILL remind you when you are not following the rules. Emory will also let me know when something is not put back in its place or is in any way askew. We are creatures of habit over here.

      xx

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