Today, May 5th 2015, Molly Rose Corman Hart said my name for the first time!
I was putting her to bed, which I have been doing once a week, and it’s the most delightful night of the week for me. Today, when Tom brought her home on his bike, I was told that Molly had been being a little cranky, or was simply having on off day, but when she saw me she gave me the big smile. I took off her helmet and got her out of her seat, and she let me know that she wanted to play outside. I loved watching her develop to where she could communicate her wants. Before going out we did our usual thing, I changed her diaper (and having never changed one before Molly came along, I can’t believe that I love doing it), dressed her, and took her out to play in the water. We like to set up on a towel under the orange tree (I love Florida living), a bucket of water, some water toys, three new “beeh-tuh” (that’s “big truck” for those of you who don’t speak Molly as fluently as I do) that I had just bought her, and she played, transferring water from bucket to toys, and sometimes dumping it on me or herself. And she was a little off, not quite so happy as normal, occasionally mildly cranky, but content and fully engaged. She’s great that way, even at her worst she is capable of engaging in whatever it is she’s doing without having fit after fit, and with precious little fussiness. She soon let me know that she wanted an orange off the tree, so Tom and I got one down. I peeled it half way for her so she could suck out the juice and chew on the pulp. It’s adorable watching her smash that delicious fresh orange into her chubby little face, juice rolling down her arms.
I had made the mistake of thinking it would be OK for me to take a break while she was eating, but it wasn’t. Just because she was taking a lunch break didn’t mean there wasn’t work to be done. She pointed to the trucks and water, guiding the play and insisting that that water be moved even though she was eating. Every time I tried to stop and talk to Tom, Molly, in full manager mode, would point to the trucks and water and demand that the work was still getting done.
She was fussy about coming in, so I did what I usually do, I make the moment of going in or going home all part of the fun and adventure by picking her up, running around a little, laughing and getting her to forget that she didn’t want to go in. One thing I’ve learned is that if she’s at the park and I need to get her home, saying, “I’m sorry sweetheart, it’s time to go home” doesn’t work, she knows what is about to happen is an end to the fun. The simplest solution is to make sure that getting there and going home is all part of the fun and adventure.
Leela and I bathed her, and Molly flashed me several of her good old smiles, the big one, and I could see that her mild crankiness was melting away. She doesn’t like being held or hugged a lot (at least not by me), she tends to want to be on the go, and when I hold her, she likes to be facing out so she can engage with the world and people around her, but sometimes after I change her she will let me hold her tight to me. She’s warm and as grounding and full of peace as the Buddha, and she feels delightful on those occasions when she lets you hold her against your breast. By dinner the old Molly smile and brightness was back, and she entertained me with her funny eating routine. I loved her just as much when she was frowny, but I was really happy to see that I was able to get her back to her bubbly self.
Getting her to bed was not easy, once she had perked up and gotten happy, she wanted to play. I gently coaxed her into sitting on my lap so I could give her her bottle and read to her. One of her favorite books is “Madeline,” and she has learned to say it, “Malalie.” I thought if she could say that, she could say my name, so I coaxed her, “Can you say Justine?”
“Gah-keen” she said. My heart soared, it was the first time she had ever said my name. Just to make sure I heard right, I got her to say it again, and she said it just the same.
It was a moment and a feeling I will never forget, the first time Molly Rose said my name… after all, I had been anticipating it since the first time I held her, as a baby, in my arms.
Love you, Molly Rose, my very best friend in Gainesville (apart, perhaps, from your dad).