It's hard to remember her being so small, but I can clearly recall the long days we spent in the hospital with her under the lights around the clock, the painfully long week that we spent waiting for repeated blood tests that would determine if she had PKU, the scariest night of my life with her at the hospital after she went into anaphylactic shock after her first taste of cow's milk formula wreaked havoc on her tiny body, and the exhausting months that followed when we discovered food allergy after food allergy...
Being Ansley's mom awakened an overwhelming love and a fierce maternal protection in me--that had always been there but had been able to lay dormant--alongside the humbling realization of how little control I have over the precious lives we are blessed to live.
Thankfully, while I can regurgitate every minute detail of those difficult times, I also have etched in my memory the first time she smiled at me. I had been worried that she wasn't smiling, and when she finally smiled at me at 8 weeks old, I learned that she had smiled at all of the men in her life weeks before. Stubborn girl who loves men--even still.
I can remember the way that she would belly laugh at her sister, the way that she would clap for herself when she learned a new trick. I remember her sleep sounds and how she would nestle herself into my shoulder until she found her most comfortable position. I looooved her baby-ness.
Before I was a mother, I wasn't gah-gah over babies, but I really surprised myself at how much I loved the early infancy and baby stages of my girls. It doesn't shock me at all, though, to realize that as they get older, it only gets better. I love the way we are able to communicate now. I love her thoughtful and interesting questions about life and the way things work. I love her sense of humor. I love that she used to be the belly-laugher in our family, and now she is the cause of all of our belly laughs. She really is a clown, and her expressions make my reactions hard to stifle.
As a three year old, Ansley loves to play dress up. Her favorite characters are Sofia, Dora, Minnie and Mickey, Winnie the Pooh and Piglet, and her favorite princess has recently changed from Snow White to a shared love of Aurora and Cinderella. I think I might be raising an old soul like myself. Her favorite foods are pop tarts, spaghetti, carrots--seriously, bananas, peanut butter pretzels, and her favorite candy is candy corn. She is starting to buck her naps, but she sleeps great at night. Her favorite books are A Hole is to Dig and Corduroy. She still loves to play with her baby doll, her stuffed animals, Calico Critters, and her figurines. She loves to work puzzles and color pictures, and she begs for "Homework" whenever Addison is working on hers. She is learning her letters and numbers and is very interested in learning to write her name. I think she might be a lefty, but she hasn't totally declared yet. If we forget to say our prayers at night, she can't sleep, and her favorite song is Matt Redman's "10000 Reasons." She sings, "Bless the Lord, O my soul..." all.the.time. Her favorites shows are Dora, Sofia, and Mickey Mouse, and her favorite movies are Alice in Wonderland, Winnie the Pooh, and The Sound of Music. Her favorite words are "actually" and "fantastic."
Ansley is lying a LOT right now. She totally gives herself away. She denied to the hilt that she was the one who cut her new Birthday present Princess Aurora's hair, but when I asked where her hair was, she promptly brought it to me from the trashcan that she had buried it in. Bless her sweet soul--she didn't even realize she was caught red handed. Hey, at least it wasn't her OWN hair... not yet, anyway...
Her face her OWNS me. Maybe it's because I see a little bit of me in it, but she really cracks me up. She is an actress for sure!
We celebrated with her dinner of choice--spaghetti--and sprinkle cookies when Patrick got home from work. Then we let her dig into her presents.