Lilah Grace has been charming me to no end with her cute new antics. She's between 17-18 months, so basically a year and a half. LOVING this phase. She sleeps solidly from 7:45 or 8pm until 7 am, and takes either 2 naps or 1 long nap each day. She eats normal foods that we do ((the only foods she hasn't tried are honey and shellfish)), and is running around in our backyard MULTIPLE times each day. She loves sidewalk chalk (("tok-EE")), markers (("MAH-kuh")), and every single book she can get her hands on.
When we rock, I usually sing the same songs to her...
"When You Come Back Down"
((^I usually cry while singing those two songs...lullaby time is cathartic for me; it is not only a gift to my daughter, it's also a gift to myself))
"You Are My Sunshine"
She recently started lifting up my shirt, pointing out my bellybutton, then her bellybutton, then laying her head right on my bare chest, with my shirt pulled taut over her. She'll sometimes sneak her head out the collar and look at me real quick, then rush back to her comfortable little nook.
Last night after I sang "Blackbird," while she was snuggled tight against my heart, then she did her sign language for "more" and then adorably said "BAK-bur".
SHE SAID "MORE BLACKBIRD."
Not only that, she sang along in her own little way. She would repeat "blackbird" and "broken" (("take these broken wings")) while I was singing. She asked for it over and over. She has a favorite lullaby! I love discovering her preferences. Her personality is truly emerging before our very eyes.
This morning, she woke up a little earlier than usual, and for some reason I was already up...just scrolling through Instagram in bed. I made my own coffee, scooped her out of bed, and took her for a sunrise walk. No stroller, no burley, just the two of us. I pointed to the sky and showed her how it was darker in the west, and starting to become orange and pink in the east. I told her the sun was rising now, and will continue to rise every single day ((I saved the global warming and//or nuclear weapons talk for another day)). We collected leaves, and admired the trees, birds, crickets, and ducks. She was mesmerized while patting the trunk of one particular tree, then said "boo boo" when her fingers came upon a piece of missing bark. I told her that "yes, the tree has a boo boo, why don't you kiss it and make it feel better?" and she did. She is such a special, loving angel baby.
I'm trying ((operative word: try...as in, maybe 25% of the time with a goal of "more often"...full disclosure, I'm writing about my "best parenting moments," but I fall short a lot and there are definitely moments where I'm not so present! They just aren't as fun to look back on!!))...I digress. I'm TRYING to be more conscious with my vocabulary and my presence. Subtle changes in the way I present the world to her might not even be noticed by some ((including her)) but on an energetic level I think I'm helping her to retain as much of that pure spiritual energy she brought down with her when she was born. I know that every human is born perfect, just a little ball of pure divine energy... and as we learn language and begin to limit objects with labels, and learn prejudice, hate, fear, and judgment, we eventually become jaded. Since Lilah Grace's vocabulary is exploding right now, I'm trying to be very aware of the way I speak to her.
That sounds very theoretical. Here are some real life examples:
"That is a tree" teaches Lilah the label, "tree." That's fine if my goal is to teach her labels for objects. I think that's the status quo for parenting. Nothing wrong with it, but nothing spiritual about it, either.
"We call that a tree" teaches her that the word "tree" is just a word; the actual living, growing, majestic creature coming from the ground and reaching toward the sky is MUCH greater than the word, but that's just what we call it.
These are teachings from my all time favorite book, "A New Earth" by Eckhart Tolle. I have found that motherhood is taking me to deeper spiritual levels than I've ever gone, and I'm loving it. I read this book in 2008 and am re-reading it now, and am learning completely new lessons.
Another example I realized last night...
I think she is getting very close to being able to say "I love you." That will be such an exciting day!!! But I don't want her to be a parrot just repeating what I tell her. I want her to know what love feels like. I don't want her to just say it because I said it! That would definitely be cute, but meaningless.
So, last night, I asked her for the first time,
"Lilah, what does love feel like?"
This could be coincidence ((even though I don't believe in coincidences)), but her response melted me like a stick of hot butter.
OMG. She's a daddy's girl just like me.
With tears in my eyes, I told her, "Yes! Dada loves you. So does Mama. And Binky, and Papa, and Grandmama, and GrandDad," blah blah.
Then, I said,
"This is what love feels like" and squeezed her while kissing her.
I want her to know what love feels like before she says "I love you."
That goes for me, and for future romantic partners!
I think one spiritual lesson I'm learning now, and will probably be learning for a couple decades at least, is not to idolize our baby. Umm, I totally do. I worship her like the goddess that she is! But I know inevitably she is human and will at some point disappoint me, and I don't want her to fall 500,000 feet off her pedestal when she does. I'm not too hard on myself for this; I'm just aware of it, and I think that's enough for now.