Monday, May 18, 2009

Our Sweet Leslie

Last Wednesday, May 13th was Leslie's 17th birthday. I cannot believe she is 17 already... where has all the time gone???

Greg and I were so excited to have a baby that we didn't care if it was a boy or a girl so we didn't find out the sex of our baby until she was born. We read the What to Expect When You are Expecting book like it was a bible.

I would follow it week by week so we would know how our baby was growing. We would wake up on Sunday morning and I would read it out loud... "This week our baby will grow finger and toes and hair ".

I remember sitting on the floor in Leslie's room smelling lotions, powders and wipes. I washed, folded and re-folded all the baby clothes I had received from baby showers and generous grandparents. Greg built the crib, changing table and high chair and installed the car seat properly to insure our baby arrived home from the hospital safely. The bassinet I slept in as a baby was washed, new bed clothing had been bought for it, and it had been placed in our bedroom with a flow of light cascading down from the heavens upon it. (Okay, maybe the last part wasn't true... but that is how I felt) I couldn't was an exciting time.

I remember the day she was born like it was yesterday. I went into labor at 12:15am on May 13th, walked the house for 2 hours until my contractions became stronger... showered and arrived at the hospital at 2:30am. They wheeled me in, hooked me up and I took a nap through a big part of my labor. Greg and I had decided we wanted it to be just he and I during our delivery but we did allow the grandparents to stand behind the curtain so they could listen. I told them if I saw the curtain move or if anyone peeked we would have to shut the door. I remember hearing my mom say "Careful, don't move the curtain, she will kick us out."

Leslie was born at 9:22am on a Wednesday morning. She was so pretty.. she had a perfect little face and the most beautiful coloring.

Greg was the proud daddy who cut the umbilical cord. I remember looking down at her after my doctor placed her in my arms and thought.... Wow, you are ours....I am a mother. I felt a flood of emotions, I felt so much love for this little person who I felt move inside me from a flutter to a kick. For nine months we shared everything ... I felt her kick, stretch and even felt her hiccups. I also felt fear... fear of not being able to live up to my end of the bargain. I had prayed and asked God for a healthy little baby... one that Greg and I could love and raise together. He surely did his part... she was perfect. Now, for the rest of my life I have to do MY part. That moment was surreal.

We were flooded with visitors and gifts and Greg bought Leslie the most beautiful little dress to take her home in. Her socks read "Mommy loves me" and her shoes read "Daddy loves me".

On our way home from the hospital Greg looked down at our little bundle of joy and smiled and said "Well, we are a real family now". I got tears in my eyes and said "Yep, isn't it great?"

Leslie was such an easy baby. She loved to eat, sleep and smile.

I loved spending my days at home with her. I felt badly that Greg had to leave each morning to go to work so I would cam cord our days together. Sometimes I would record nearly 30 minutes of her just sitting in her swing asleep... the only thing moving was her passy moving up and down as she slept. (the video didn't transfer very well... sorry)

Greg thought I was crazy. Today however that footage is priceless to me. :)

Greg and I had a lot of fun with Leslie as a baby.... she was a great source of entertainment. One night Greg was lifting Leslie into the air to make her laugh and we noticed she would move her feet like a ballerina. So.... being the crazy parents we were, and still are.... we put it to music. :)

As Leslie started to grow her personality grew as well. She was such a spunky little 2 year old.

She loved to be in front of the camera (she hides from all cameras now). Each time the camera was in use she would grab a pillow, (not sure why she had to sit on a pillow) and perform. She would sing songs from church and preschool all day long if you wanted her too. She was hilarious and she loved to be the center of attention. For those of you who know Leslie now and didn't know her as a child ,you might think I am lying... come over sometime... I have the videos to prove it. :)

She was also extremely bossy (in a cute way)....she had friends across the street who were older than her and she would boss them around all day long. Her best friend was Lauren and they had a great time playing with bugs. She loved pill bugs (rolly pollys), and she liked to catch these pill bugs and play with them. She had the entire neighborhood of kids under our bushes almost every day searching for pill bugs ....she was only 2! I think it was the cute pudgy cheeks... you couldn't say no to her.

She was (and is )very bright.... she knew her colors, numbers and letters before she was 2 and could read by the time she was 4. Her favorite word at the age of 2 was actually. I would ask her if she wanted a hot dog for lunch ( I know... such a good mom feeding her wonderful, nutritional lunches) and she would say "ACTUALLY mommy... I would like macowoni and cheese pweese".

She called herself Essie and Wessie before she got the hang of her L's. She called fish shees and fruit roll ups rollers.

We would say I love you to her everyday to a tune making it a little song and she would reply " I uuuuuuuu". Instead of answering yes to questions she would say " I know". For example.... Leslie, would you like an ice cream cone? Leslie would say "I know?" It was really cute. She would say "Deets" instead of thanks. Greg and I still say Deets to one another today,.... I am sure if someone over heard us using our kids "baby" language they would think we were crazy. We are crazy, so it doesn't really matter. :)

She loved to play with toy animals (Wow, what a shock). Her favorites were her mommy animals and their babies. She would play with them for HOURS. If one of the babies were lost no one could sleep that night until it was found. She said the mommy would worry all night long and the baby would be scared.

We purchased a hermit crab for Leslie when she turned 2 and we allowed her to name him. She named him Morning Time Boy. I have no idea where that name came from. When asked why she picked that name she said " Because.......... (giving you a look like you are really stupid for asking) when I get another one I can name him Night Time Boy." Ohhhhhhh, Ok, now we totally get it. :)

When told she was going to have a baby brother or sister Leslie replied, at the age of three, "I hope our baby is a girl... I don't like boys, boys are weasels". (Ha ha ha... Can I get that in writing for when you are 17?? )

Hence the sex determination ultra sound for our second child which we didn't feel necessary for our first. :) If it were going to be a boy... we felt we had better prepare her.

Good thing we did because Nick was on his way. :) After 4 months of preparation she started to say... "I don't like boy, boys are weasels, but not our baby.. he is sweet." We never did get it in writing.... dang it. :)

Leslie has been a wonderful, big sister from day one. She made Nicholas a shirt for him to wear after he was born in her big sibling class at the hospital. She was VERY proud of the shirt and of her new baby brother.

As Greg and I were packing up to leave the hospital Leslie asked if she could hold her brother. We sat her in the over sized chair in the room and placed Nicholas in her lap. We continued to collect my personal items and place them in my bag, not paying really paying attention to what she was saying to him until..... she started singing to him; she sang the Barney song. I love you, you love me, we're a happy family with a great big hug and a kiss from me to you.. won't you say you love me too. Oh my goodness.... Greg and I became motionless while listening to her sing and neither of us had a dry eye. It was so precious.

Leslie also had he-woman strength as a child. She could carry huge cans of food and juice around when she could barely walk. She enjoyed walking to the cupboard to play with dishes, pots and pans as well as our canned food and then she would carry them around. It was a sight to see.

It was also very hard to trick Leslie.... each time she would lose a tooth she would look at me the next morning and say "Mommy, are you sure you didn't put this money in my tooth bank?" I had to go the extreme of inviting our good friend (survivor friends) to come to our house and play "tooth fairy" after Leslie had gone to sleep. Then, when she asked the next morning I could honestly say "No honey... Mommy didn't put that money in your bank". :)

Leslie has been a joy to us from day one. In a nut shell Leslie is smart, loves to read, loves animals and nature, is extremely loyal, does not gossip, will walk outside in the middle of the night to release a spider she found in her room. She loves her family and still enjoys spending time with her parents (my favorite). She is sentimental, sappy, a romantic at heart, a HUGE procrastinator. She enjoys intellectual conversations during long walks, she likes to be silly when she wants to be silly, but not when YOU want her to be silly. :) She loves the Lord and seeks to find his will in every decision in her life. She strongly dislikes being embarrassed, or surprised which in turn embarrasses her.:) She has a weak stomach for discussions of blood, veins, vomit or any other bodily fluid. Her favorite color is green, however recently purple has started to come into the favorite color category too. If she decides to get rid of a stuffed animal and you make it look at her....... she can't get rid of it. :) She is beautiful inside and out and I feel blessed to call her my daughter.

The past 17 years have been full of wonder and joy... I still worry I am not living up to my end of the deal. I can only pray every morning before my feet hit the floor that God will keep our children safe, and that He will give me the strength I need for that day to be the best mother I can be. Even while following God I make many mistakes as a mother and without God I am afraid to think of what kind of mother I might be. Without His grace and love I would be nothing.... but because of Him I can allow my feet to hit the floor in the morning, and I can be a mother who opens herself up to be a vessel of His love for my children.

Leslie is truly a gift from above... and at times I still see that flow of light cascading down from the heavens upon her and I smile and say "thank you". :)

Happy Birthday sweet Leslie. Your daddy and I love you more than you will ever know.

( and could love you even more if you cleaned your room) :) Just kidding...........kinda. :)

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