Lilly wants to do everything that I'm doing, all the time. If I'm unpacking the dishwasher, she's next to me tossing the silverware into the drawer. If I'm writing an email, she's standing by the computer trying to type. When I'm cooking or baking something in the kitchen, she says, "big chair, mummy" so that I'll bring a big chair into the kitchen for her to stand on and see what's going on and "help." She loves moving furniture. Dad calls her a "furniture removalist," as she seems to move an awful lot of furniture in her free time. She likes putting clean clothes away, usually unfolding them first and then squashing them into a drawer. She loves sitting on the washing machine when I'm putting clothes in. If she's there, I hand her the clothes and she tells me, item by item, what's going in. "Daddy's t-shirt, mummy, daddy's t-shirt...daddy's sock, mummy...another one, daddy's sock...lilly's sock, mummy...another one, lilly's sock..."
Her non-stop activity.
From her earliest days, she's been a mover. When she was only weeks old, she would lie on our bed and kick her legs and wave her arms for a solid 30 minutes, which is a lot of movement for such a little person. She was crawling before she was 7 months old, and then took her first steps around 11 months, before launching into her run/walk confidently on her first birthday. And she's never looked back. Now, she dances and skips and runs and jumps around the house. She loves going out for walks. When I'm holding her hand, I've had multiple people stop me and say, "Oh, she's such a little thing. Her legs have to move a lot faster than yours to keep up with you..." I know that they're implying that I'm pulling her along, when in fact, the opposite is true. She tends to run everywhere, pulling me along to keep up.
She's cheeky. And she knows it.
She calls Jim, "Dim," and me some version of Amelia, "a-me-wia," if we don't respond to her "Mummy...Daddy" calls fast enough. She climbs up on the changing table, and sits there with a triumphant smile on her face. If she wants us to come and pick her up after a nap, she'll yell out that she has a "yucky diaper," knowing that will get an immediate response. If she wants to watch another episode of Olivia or wants another lollipop, she'll tilt her head to the side, hold up her pointer finger and say, "one more, peeese..." which takes a lot of strength to say no to. But her cheekiness is not destructive. It's not dangerous (aside from the changing table incident, which thankfully hasn't happened again). It's playfully cheeky, and she knows exactly what she's doing.
As such a wriggly little person from a young age, I've come to really appreciate her snuggles. She snuggled as a newborn, of course, but as soon as she was a few months old, her snuggling lessoned and her independence grew. Once she started crawling and walking, she wanted no part in sitting still. Now that she's bigger, she's growing into a snugly little girl. She loves lying on the couch on Jim's lap, watching a "moomie" or reading a book and drinking her milk. She'll happily lie in our bed before her nap, reading books, pretending to be asleep. Granted, you have to catch her at the right moment; usually just after she wakes up or when she's getting tired, but these are times that Jim and I cherish.
She's a genuinely kind little girl.
She kisses everything (which is cute for the time being, anyway!) If she likes something, she kisses it. Today, we were out for a walk and she kissed a stick. Lilly adores sticks! She finds one every time we go out and uses it as her walking stick. She kisses all her stuffed animals. She kisses us. She kisses her harmonica, which is currently her favorite toy. She loves babies and helping with babies. A lot of our friends have younger babies, and from their earliest days, Lilly was hugging and kissing them, and forcing their pacifiers into her mouths. She brings them diapers and wipes when they're being changed. She walks up to them and tells them to, "shhhhhh," if they're crying. She brings them toys to play with and tries to hug them so often that she tends to knock them over. She loves holding her friends' hands. She has a kind little heart and that makes me happy.
Her singing and dancing.
We signed Lilly up for her first class--a music class--that started in January. Lilly and I go every Wednesday afternoon (and Jim was able to take her one weekend) and it has quickly become an integral part of Lilly's life. She knows all the songs that we sing in the class and walks around singing them during the day. She wakes up in the morning and starts singing, "Hello, everybody..." to her animals. When we were talking to Joseph and Edward on skype the other day, she sang them the goodbye song. While dancing, she sang, "Goodbye to Joef, goodbye to Eye-ward, goodbye, so long, farewell..." and she pulled out her harmonica when she was singing to Gigi on skype. Last week at dinner, she turned to Jim and said, "hold hands and rock, daddy," which is how the goodbye song starts. So we were holding hands, singing this song at dinner, wishing someone could record it so that we can show it to Lilly when she's 16. Jim's words were something like, "I can't wait to tell her one day that she wanted to hold hands and sing at the dinner table." She had a huge smile on her face and has since asked to, "hold hands and rock" during a meal almost daily. Along with "Hello, Everybody," and "If You're Happy and You Know it," one of Lilly's favorite songs is still, "Forget You," by Cee-lo Green. I've included a link to the youtube video of the song, which I've never watched, but gives you an idea if you've never heard the song. It's the censored version of one of the rudest songs, probably of all time. Not at all an age appropriate song, but she adores it, and sings along, and tells us when her favorite part is coming up. She yells out the, "whyyyyyyy? whyyyyyyy?" part every time. We've tried to record it and I'll have to check and see if we have a good video of her singing it because it really is priceless. Maybe Jim's dream will come true and we'll see Lilly on American Idol in 14 years.
Her constant chatter.
I couldn't find a picture to epitomize chatter; only a video would do it justice. So I chose one of my favorite Lilly pictures. Most of the time, I love her chatter. Sometimes, I just wish for a minute of peace and quiet. But at the end of the day, Jim and I are always left smiling. The chatter does. not. stop. Unless Lilly is asleep. And the second she's awake, you know because she's chatting again. I thought it would get easier to understand her, but it's actually getting harder, as she's adding more and more words to her vocabulary. She's getting good at helping us figure out what she's saying though. Over the weekend, she kept saying, "hiwen, daddy, hiwen..." over and over and over again. Both Jim and I took our guesses at what she was saying, only to hear a little, "no, daddy..." from the stroller. Finally, she started saying, "hiwen, daddy...eeeee awwwww" and making siren noises. That's all it took. We figured out she was saying siren (even though there were none around...she must have been reminiscing about her days staying with Mum and Dad in Columbia Heights).
Her ability to sleep.
Everybody hopes that their children are good sleepers, and it's safe to say that we got our wish. Call it genes, call it luck, call it perseverance, call it whatever you want, we have a good little sleeper on our hands. She has been from her earliest days, and we appreciate it every single day. She loves her crib--yes, it's full of books and stuffed animals, so I'd love it too. But when we put her in there, whether it's for a nap or at bedtime, she lies down, lets us tuck her in, and after some chatter or a song or two, falls asleep. Her sleep is like my sleep. Once she's out, she's out. And she needs her sleep. People think we're crazy for putting her to bed at 6:30 or 7 at night, but after her days of constant movement and chatter, she loves climbing into bed. And we don't hear from her until anywhere between 7:30 and 8:30 the next day. Of course, we have the occasional earlier or later wake up, but for the majority of days, she wakes up just in time to see Jim before he leaves for work, around 8. When she's sick, she sleeps. When she's teething, she sleeps. Seriously, she's my daughter. Let's hope these genes keep passing along.
Spell check is telling me that girliness is not a word. Well, I have to disagree. Lilly is most definitely, a little girl, exhibiting many of my favorite "girly" characteristics. I put a dress on her the other day, which she called a "tutu", and she loved it. You can imagine the immense enjoyment that I got the next day, when she asked to wear a "tutu" again. Jim came home to a very excited wife--my daughter wants to wear dresses! She's choosing to wear them! For the time being, anyway. And I'll take it. I just happen to have a few spring and summer dresses ready, so all we need is the nice weather to start pulling them out. Combine the dresses with wanting to wear clips and ribbons in her hair, and you've got yourself a little girl. She has a necklace that she loves, that she would sleep in if she could. For the first week that she had it, we had to sneak it off her before she went to bed. Yep, she's a girl alright. And, although it's not causing us too much worry (yet), the only colors that Lilly can correctly identify confidently are pink and green. I'm guessing that's partly my fault, since those are the colors that have made up almost every outfit that she's worn over the past two years. I'm hoping that she starts to recognize other colors, but for now, I'll chalk it up to her being a real little girl.
Lilly smiles at everyone (after an initial scowl or two if she doesn't know you), and as a result, everyone smiles at Lilly. She goes through life seeing nothing but smiles. From us, from friends and family on skype, from people walking down the street. So why wouldn't you smile? I'd smile all the time if everyone kept coming up to me telling me how cute I was! She's such an innocent little person with a genuine love of life. And it's the simple things. Whether it's a poodle at the circus, making a tent with her Dad, a ridiculous celebratory dance by me when she's gone to the bathroom (which I've done a lot of over the past ten days), chasing her shadow, or putting in extra bubble bath to make, "sooooo many bubbles", Lilly's face lights up. She laughs watching Edward dancing with her over skype or the video of Joseph listening to the "eye-fant song" or Ellie showing her a flower that wilts and then springs back to life from her desk at work or Papa, changing the background of iChat every time that she claps, so it looks like he and mum are on a roller coaster or in the ocean. As everyone tells us, she's got the littlest face, with the biggest smile.
My favorite picture, that captures what I love about Lilly.