Facebook Post: 2017-03-21T23:52:02

On Alice turning 14.

Here is the kind of baby Alice was: horrible. For approximately three days after she was born,she slept, and I thought, “oh, this must be what it is like to have a baby without colic”. And then she woke up. And unlike Margaret who had colicky hours, Alice was just generally pissed off, all of the time. By the time she was six months, my delicate baby weighed in at twenty pounds likely because I fed her All The Time out of desperation and not knowing what else to do to soothe this un-soothable child.

Before she could crawl, she WANTED to crawl, and so she seal-flopped around the house after me, John and Margaret. I would walk from the living room to my room and I would hear this ker-thunk, ker-thunk, ker-thunk of my seal baby flopping down the hall – I’d walk back, step over her, and then the ker-thunk would follow me again. It did not matter that she was too young to crawl developmentally, she was GOING to get where she wanted, one way or another.

This child of mine tested my patience, my will, my sanity with many, many wake ups every evening. MANY. My mother was sure that if we would just let her cry it out once, she would be cured of this habit. She didn’t believe me when I said we had already tried that and the agony of defeat was ours. If Alice wanted you to pick her up in the middle of the night, you were eventually going to pick her up, it was just a matter of how much sleep you wanted to lose first. Once, my mom visited affording us a rare evening out, and asked if it would be ok with us if she let Alice cry when she put her to bed. Fine, we said, because we knew, by then we knew. Suffice it to say we came home that night at midnight to my mom, the baby whisperer, with Alice sitting right next to her. That was the end of the well-meaning suggestions.

And then slowly and suddenly, she grew up. I think of those baby and toddler times and selfishly, I’m glad they are in my past. Those were hard days and the pictures of John and I have mostly a shell-shocked quality with our gazes silently pleading “emergency, send help”. But at the same time, I want my almost 14 year old whose drama teacher’s constant coaching is “LOUDER ALICE” to remember that she was born loud, strong, bold and RELENTLESS. She comes from determination, resilience and ultimately, victory. This one was born knowing her own mind. A mother’s prayer: that when she most needs it, she remembers that she carries within her more than enough strength and force of will to see her through. So much so, that that will was almost the end of two healthy thirty-somethings who thought having one kid meant they could handle another. Poor clueless souls.

Happy Birthday to my wild child. As a friend once simply said, “Alice is epic”. Could not agree more.

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