Sometimes I forget and still call her a baby. But she's not. She's a little girl.
I don't remember when it happened, but when I look at Hadley, I only see a faint hint of the baby she was. She tells jokes. She teases us. She expresses her opinion. She has enough hair for pigtails, for heaven's sake.
She chooses her own pajamas (from two options) every night, and she prefers any jammies that have monkeys on them. (This reminds me of a short but serious time in my childhood when I desperately wanted a monkey for a pet. I planned to put a diaper on him and carry him around like a baby. I think I was about six. Good thing nobody gave me that monkey.) She remembers her friends--asks for them, even, when she misses them--and calls people (mainly Papa, Mumsie and her friend Harper) on her pretend phones.
Hadley, the little girl. When I was pregnant and thinking about being a mom, I knew I was ready because I didn't just dream of having a baby. I also dreamed of having a toddler with a quirky sense of humor (check!), a kindergartener with an affinity for crafts (so I hope), a fifth-grader who wanted help with her homework, even a teenager--I dreamed of the whole child.
But I never guessed how much fun it would be to see a person grow up, to get to be so intimately involved in her life every day.
Tonight, for example, she wanted me to get up from the dinner table and play with her while I was still eating. She said, "Mama, play." I said, "No, Hadley, I'm finishing my dinner. I'll play when I'm all done." So she walked right up, put her little arms around my waist and tried to lift me out of my seat. She even grunted to show just how taxing it was. Thanks, Had.
And even when she's not being cute or funny, even when she's fussy or tired or sad, I love helping her grow, being the mama to this little girl who is growing up with spunk and humor and grace, in her own little girl way.