Of Horses and Elephants

“Cook, mama!”

An imperative order I heard this morning coming from the lips of my one-month-shy-of-two-year-old, Lillian. I’m starting to see the blossoming of personality from my little girl as suddenly all of those disconnected instances of screaming or laughter or determined concentration weave themselves together into one solid scrap of temperament. She seems to be a go-getter, preferring to say, “cook, mama!” instead of “I’m hungry.”

Last Sunday we went to my aunt’s house for a late family Christmas party. My aunt’s yard has a lonely swing set and slide once loved by her tall twins. Lillian ran first to the swings and then began the process of climbing a ladder three times her height (somewhat to mama’s dismay!) and flying down the undulating slide to be tossed several feet away onto her rear end. Each time she hopped back up with a smile and climbed that ladder again past her older male cousins who seemed to be working up the courage to try the slide once. My brave girl.

My mind whirls in excitement thinking about watching Cara grow and change into a self-contained little person with (probably) a totally different personality than Lillian. There is not a whole lot happening with a two-month-old except stabilizing sleep patterns (alleluia!) and occasional smiles. It takes awhile for glimmers of personality to emerge. I keep thinking about the differences between Lillian as a baby and Cara.

Lillian had an independent streak right from the very first. She always preferred to sit up, being held in a sitting position first and then transitioning into an early sitter. I wanted to snuggle with her but she did not like leaning back. She screamed at the very first signs of hunger impatiently.

Cara loves to snuggle and recline on anyone who will hold her. She smiled early and we could tell that it wasn’t just a newborn reflex smile. She can be crying for food but will rest, content to wait as long as someone is holding her. Cara seems to be a sweet, easy-going baby.

People instinctively buy my babies different stuff. Lillian always received rabbits and horses and butterflies, things one would find in a dewy meadow. Cara receives elephants and monkeys. The funny thing about this is I picked up two book posters from a Texas Library Association conference years before having babies, thinking they would be cute for little girls if I should ever have any.

monkeyhorse

Everything But The Horse (a biography of Holly Hobbie) hangs in Lillian’s room, and Me…Jane (a biography of Jane Goodall) waits in a closet to be framed some day in the future. Cara’s middle name is Jane Elizabeth, so it fits well. Wouldn’t it be cute to decorate each girl’s side of the room with a different theme?

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