Sunday, August 03, 2008

A Plate of BenAnna Cake

Oh Anna Kathryn of my heart. I know I write odes to you at each passing month milestone, but I'm so full of moments lately that I want to capture in snapshots of the heart, I just had to put some down on the page.

I looked at you last week and was startled by how long you've gotten. At your six-month checkup, I figured it was a fluke, a temporary state. A tall Mathis baby? Both your dad and I are 5'4". Ben has been small since his birth. He still seems at least six inches shorter than the other kids his age. But you are stretching out, all arms and legs. A gymnast and a ballerina, maybe a track star.

You are easing out of babyhood, and through the misty tears and smiles, I see shades of a little girl peeking through the veil. The special smiles for your brother, the look of incredulity when we don't give you what you want. The pure joy and exhilaration when you see us after an absence. The concentration across your whole body as you examine the mardi gras beads every day, and the graham crackers, and the sippy cup. Like you are going to work every day, studying your world, turning it around and over, learning what it's all about. I'm honored by the hugs and kisses you bestow on me, my magical, flailing girl of light.

And, dear Ben, my little gentleman. I've often contemplated your transformation during your two-year-old days. When before you would trundle around the world, mute and smiling, grunting and pointing to get your point across, now you startle us by clasping your hands together and saying "Peeeez! Mama. Peeez! Getti!", a plaintive look on your face as you let us know exactly what you want for dinner. With language, you've come alive. Now you narrate what you are doing with your choo-choos, you call out points of interest that you can see from the backseat of the car, and you tell us that you are drinking yellow juice out of Ben's sippy cup. You let us know when Anna is crying, when your diaper is uncomfortable, when a toe hurts.

Today at the park while I was doing my playground workout, you joined me, showing me the stretches you learned at the baby gymnastics program at the YMCA, reaching to the sky, hiding the turtle, actually talking me through the movements. It's hard to describe how this change makes me feel. I've always been your mommy, and I've always loved every part of you. We are still your parents, and you are still our tagalong, but now that we see and hear you notice everything around you, it feels like you are a real person, less a baby to cart around and talk excitedly to. Now you do the talking.

My children. My heart. My bits of wonder and effervescent joy. My silver lining.