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 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 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.
+My daughter has always felt like my other heartbeat.
+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
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
+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.
+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.
+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.