Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Dear Gemma,

You are the best thing that has ever happened to me. I can say that because you are the pinnacle of good in my life. Before you came Daddy and Ainsleigh and Donovan. And you, you finished my equation. Everything about you is wonderful. Last year I wondered how much longer you could be this...good. I'm going to overuse that word. But it's true. You are the baby they're talking about in all of those sleep/eat/parenting books - the model child. Although, to your individual credit, you put your own stamp on things. Like this year I had to take you to a physical therapist because you weren't sitting up at 9 months. And then I got nervous again when you were nearing 18 months and not walking. And then I wondered if your lack of vocabulary indicated I needed to be doing something. Nope. Similar to how you entered this world, you'll do it when you're good and ready. And then you'll DO it.

Last week, I went to run some errands while the other kids were in school, leaving you here with Daddy. When I returned, he was laughing and said, "She just walks around doing stuff. Her own stuff. She checks in with me every now and then, but then she's off again." That's you.

I love discovering the world with you. Something as simple as pouring a ball out of a cup is mesmerizing to you. When you do something new or say a new word, your siblings cheer and clap and the joy on your face tells me you understand. We have watched your sign language explode in the past few months. You know the signs for milk, cracker, bread, cheese, apple, banana, orange, ice cream, cookie, candy, cereal, more, water, drink, eat, please, thank you, sorry, ball, bear, doll, blanket, book, read, boat, car, bus, airplane, train, dog, cat, frog, bird, duck, horse, shoes, socks, coat, hat, cold, hot, hurt, help, mommy, daddy, baby, grandpa, grandma, bath, pajamas, diaper, potty, brush teeth, play, dance, sign, (I'm missing some) and my favorite: sleep. I love it when you tell me you want to go to sleep. First, it's an adorable sign. Second, you really mean it. I put you in your bed and you go to sleep.

Your girliness has taken me off-guard. For some reason I expected it with Ainsleigh, but when I saw you walking around the house with Christmas ornaments on your wrists, I couldn't help but laugh at your makeshift jewelry. You find hair elastics and hang them on your ears. Rarely are you found without a necklace (or something resembling a necklace). I love that I catch you imitating me. Like when I catch you looking for something, tapping your index finger to your lips, saying, "Hmmm..." I know you've picked that up from me.

You love watching your Baby Signing Times dvds. Sometimes you are a little cranky and I say, "Would you like to watch Baby Signing Times?" and your face lights up as you run to sit down in front of the tv. And sometimes you just want me to pick you up and hold you. As you curl into my shoulder and lay your head down, can't help squeeze you a little tighter. You are just so GOOD.

One of my favorite parts of the day is when Daddy comes home from work because the second he opens the door, before he has even set foot into the house, you belt out, "DADDYYYYYY!" in such an excited joyful voice. I think it might be the best part of his day, too.

You are different from your brother and sister. You don't care about drawing the way Ainsleigh did and you don't want to destroy everything like Donovan did. Your personality is yours and I love discovering you as you discover the world. Thank you for being so GOOD. Everyone deserves a Gemma.

I love you,