Although Elena was oblivious to the gift-giving extravaganza, Eliza and her friends greatly enjoyed the gifts. Eliza proudly showed anyone who walked into Karinna's house the cute little socks that look like ballet shoes. "These are for ballet class," she said of the pink ones and "These are for leotard class" she said of the black ones. Julieann, a first grader who recently mastered reading, was applauded for reading Elena's new book to her. And the toy, a chomping alligator that scoots across the floor, was enjoyed by all of us. Elena lay perched on her tummy, doing her little pushups, her head turning in confusion, every time the alligator chomped by.
Yesterday, the day of her actual birthday, Eliza and I celebrated with a pizza dinner and a group bath. Yes, all three of us climbed into the bathtub and watched Elena kick and splash in the big bathtub for only the second time. Her little legs are so chubby and short, it's so cute to watch her kick them in the water. Eliza kept dumping water on her head but Elena never cried. Nor did she laughed, she seemed focused and thoughtful about this new sensation of being immersed in a big tub of water.
I am blessed a second time with a happy baby, the kind that makes me want to have 10 more. Obviously, this is not only clinically impossible (I guess that's not exactly true in this day and age), but economically and emotionally impossible. But having a baby is honestly the loveliest thing in the world to me. I love her chubby legs, I love her soft, fine hair. I love her giggles and her cries of delight and her look of wonder when she looks up at track lighting. She is a miraclulous, pleasant, low-maintenance kind of girl who spends most of her time out in public smiling at everyone. She has yet to experience any kind of stranger anxiety--when I hand her to some one else, she looks for me but seems content to be in whoever's arms. She's not a good napper, spends most of the day fighting sleep and only succumbing for tiny, 20 minute naps. She does sleep at night, so I keep my complaining about the day fussiness to a minimum.
"There's nothing quite like being a mother," my friend Meredith's mom once said to me. It seems like such a simple statement but at the time and even now, it speaks volumes. I love being a Mom more than anything else I've ever done. Oh there are moments where I just don't think I have the strength to fight with Eliza to put on her tights or get the car seat buckled over her jacket or pay the bills that keep mounting up with very little money coming in. But had I not had children, I would have missed out on the one great achievement that has easily given me the most happiness.