When Mare was born, she weighed in at 9 lbs, 12 oz. I’m as stubborn as she is and refused an epidural, thus delivering a bowling ball that proceeded to get stuck because, people, she came out positively chubby. Thankfully (eyes rolling over here), there were two nurses available to pump my belly while the doctor eased her shoulders around my pelvis bones. Boy howdy.
Mare contracted RSV from her sister the first week of her life. Now that extra chubbiness came in handy and she pulled through like a trooper.
At four months she was diagnosed with a bladder infection that landed her in the hospital for three days. The ER doctor was pissed that it had gotten as bad as it had. I would have felt responsible except I had hounded my doctor’s office, telling them that something was wrong over the past month, only to be told at a visit that sometimes babies run low grade fevers, and not to worry. I called more, they repeated more. They only listened when I broke down in tears on the phone, crying that something, something was wrong. Mare came out of the hospital a different baby. For the past four months she had been fussy, to say the least. Anything could set her off. Now I know it was because she was in pain (oh my crap the guilt when I think of that.) When it was cleared up, though, she was a different baby. Happy, smiling and a joy to be around. But she could still get mad when necessary.
At 6 months Mare decided she had had enough of this dependency thing. There were things she wanted, no needed, across the room. The girl figured out that she could roll as far as she wanted. And so she did. She would roll 20 feet to get to a toy or a dog or a sister.
I thought she would crawl and walk early, but she didn’t. Hey people, this isn’t a contest. Mare will do it when she is good and ready.
Mare started asking to use the potty around 20 months. Natural curiosity, I figured, and indulged her little whim. She kept asking and I remember actually fighting with her about putting a diaper on. I had just gotten through potty training her sister, getting rid of the daily accidents that plagued my oldest for months after we switched to big girl panties. I wasn’t up for it again. No way could she train this early, I thought. But she did. She was out of diapers, day and night, by 22 months with nary and accident. And I had nothing to do with it other than giving in.
That summer, Mare watched her big sister riding her bicycle around and realized that she was at a disadvantage. The Step-Two ride on I pushed her around in was not going to cut it. Mare had a hand-me-down Kettler tricycle that has been the bane of my existence since I bought it in a spurt of overindulgent parenting on Bird’s first birthday. The thing is impossible to peddle, and as I have watched all three of my kids struggle with it, I have hated it. Bird never really rode it. Mare, though, was determined. She would get on that dumb thing and her legs would pump and pump and she would fly down the driveway or street, trailing her big sister in speed only.
Mare loves people. She is incredibly social, wanting to be in the middle of everything. Take this picture for example:
Mare’s boy cousins were piled on a hammock while vacationing in Cape Cod when she was 30 months or so. She walked right over and put herself in the middle. And that is the way she is about every situation. Friends? She’s got ’em. Admirers? Strangers remark on her all the time. I told a friend once that I didn’t get it. Because the amount of “isn’t she adorable/beautiful/cute” comments she gets from strangers was unreal. Of course I think she is becautiful, but there are a lot of beautiful kids out there. It was out of proportion. When my friend saw her again (it had been a while) she said she knew what they were talking about. It isn’t beauty they are remarking on. It is the whole package.
When I look through my files of pictures, I have a hard time finding one of her where she is looking at the camera. She never mugged. Mare is always looking around, at other people, at the surrounding world. My cameras were never good enough to get a good shot because the direct look at the camera was always fleeting. I found it frustrating when she was a toddler because I wanted to capture her beauty so I would never forget. Looking back, now I know I was capturing her spirit, and I’m glad that is what was recorded. Thank goodness for cheap Kodaks.
Mare had taken a bit of a backseat over the last few years. Bird started grade school and Mare was still in preschool. Chip was born and Mare was relegated to middle child status. Lately, though, she is demanding her place again.
She started loosing her baby teeth last year – a full year before most kids. In fact, she lost them in an unusual order, just to make us notice what was happening. Even further, she lost teeth that we weren’t even aware were loose. Just because.
Bird has been trying to learn to whistle for two years. Mare started whistling a couple months ago, during a time when Bird was obsessed with the idea (she has since given up – I think I know why.) Mare learned because she could and Bird couldn’t. Period. She proceeded to whistle constantly; in the car, walking around the house, in the backyard. I would hear a faint note coming from another room and smile to myself, knowing that that whistle is one more example of my child’s pluck.
And now it is reading. Bird is an excellent reader, and Mare has been watching her enjoy her books. In the past week, she has become determined to learn to read. She wrote a book yesterday, about a kitten. Granted, everything was written right to left. And very phonetic. But she’ll get it, with or without my help.
I love you Mare!