Sunday, May 08, 2011

Song of my Daughters, Verse 2: Linda

There is this story I tell every time I talk about Linda.  She was born feet first, a month early, and has been in a hurry ever since.  That actually tells you a lot about who she is. 

So after it took me so long to get pregnant with Bobbie, even though we wanted the kids to be about three years apart, we figured we'd better start trying "early" for the second go 'round.  Imagine my surprise when I got pregnant with Linda almost immediately.  She was born 9 months and 4 days after the Boise got back from OIF, which sounds much more amusing than it really is (see the "month early" part above).

Linda also scared the hell out of me when she was born.  See, when Bobbie was born, she screamed bloody murder and grabbed ahold of the sterile drape in the OR.  When Linda was born, she didn't make a peep.  She was okay, just silent.

That was about the last time she was silent.

I tease Linda now that since she was the middle child, I don't remember anything with her, and sadly that's close to being true.  To make matters worse, I had a horrible computer failure right before we left for Hawaii that wiped out most of my photos of her.  (I thought I had them backed up, but apparently not.)  So there's not a lot of photographic evidence of her babyhood.
I played hell finding this picture, by the way.  When she was born, she was tiny--5lb, 9.9oz.  Not small compared to "real" preemies (she is what is called a "near-term preemie"), but...well, about the size of one of my breasts.  Which made feeding her hard.  We had to swaddle her before feeding her for months, I remember that.

If the first child is the learning curve, the second child is validation.  Kind of a cosmic "Yeah, you're doing well enough we'll trust you with another one" deal.

She has been a firecracker since day one, I tell you what.  We called her my Jalapeño Baby in Hawaii.  She started walking at 10 months and running at 10.5 months (see that little italicized explanation of her up there).  She was climbing before she could stand.  Absolutely fearless.  She still is.

One of the things no one ever outright tells you is that you don't have to be in love with every single stage of your child's development.  Some people see the newborn stage as a time to be endured.  For others it's two or three years old.  For me it's around six/seven, when they're old enough to have developed an attitude but not to communicate very intelligently.  Linda's seven now, and careening headlong into that phase that Bobbie just barely survived.  There is something in her little child mind that must go through this train of thought in a nanosecond: "Yeah, Bobbie always gets in trouble for bossing around her sisters but Mommy likes me better so I'm not going to get in trouble for it because I'm Linda." 

Needless to say, she gets in trouble for it.

She is a Mommy-partisan, though.  She is the one who will tell me that she's never going to move out, she's going to live with me forever.  She's also going to work wherever I'm working.  It's kind of cute, especially because I know she'll outgrow it.  So I enjoy it now while I still can.  I actually think she is the most likely to present me with a whole passel o' grandkids in her grown days, so I encourage the familial feelings whenever possible.

I know I'm not the only one who speculates about who her kids will grow up to be.  Know what?  That's the best damn part of parenting, right there.  Getting to know these little people.