put on your big girl pants.

Emily makes me feel like a kid. This morning, for example, she takes her blue crayon to my bathroom mirror with the kind of abandon that would put the most liberal of artists to shame, forcing me to step out of the room and swallow my laughter before taking the crayon box into the dreaded "uh-oh toys" area. But what did I really want to do? Grab carnation pink and join in. Then I remember my husband and the massive pregnant-belly-sized pot of boiling water I'd be home when he realized what I'd done. Aw, nuts. Uh-oh toys it is.

We now have a Big Girl in the house. No more binkie. Big Girl bed. Big Girl chair. Big Girl snacks. Big Girl plates. Big Girl tea parties with real marshmallows. She makes a hundred 'choices' for herself each day (the carefully crafted kind that we give her to choose from). Where is my baby? Someone stop the presses. Yeah, now would be great. Thanks.

She knows how to use a Blackberry. This isn't news in the Lenke house, however. She sent Daddy her first text around 15 months. She has rearranged contacts for me, and called my friend Emily Wells on several occassions to say hello. She also knows how to look through videos and photos. Several times a day she'll come to me with my phone and say, "veeyos?" or "photows?" I call up the menu and off she goes. Last night David was cuddling with her looking through old videos and he said he couldn't believe she was ever that little. Me? I can't believe she's this big. I still think of her as this baby peanut with the bright blues and big smile, weighing in at 6lbs 15oz.

As if I needed another reason to love her, my OBGYN is loving and gracious with Emily. Last month at my checkup Dr. Stewart offered to put the monitor on Emily's tummy and listen to her heartbeat, just like she had done with the baby in mommy's tummy. She was excited until she got up on the exam table and froze. Every other day since, it's been (while lifting up her shirt or dress to whoever would take notice) "baby dawtor? Emi tummy? yeah!" Let's just say she was dragging me out of the elevator toward the doctor's office this morning.

(please excuse the I-just-stuffed-a-huge-strawberry-in-my-face face)

Em grabbed the jelly before Dr. Stewart could get to it, and hopped up on the table. She lit up like a kid at Christmas. Naturally, I immediately called David and said we needed to begin saving for medical school.


twenty questions

Now that my baby bump is freaking h-u-g-e in comparison to when I was at the same point in my pregnancy with Emily, I am often approached by women: "when are you due?", "is it your first?", "how are you feeling?", etc. [The latter is my personal favorite because, naturally, I'm going to enter into a conversation with a TOTAL STRANGER about the comings and goings of my internal organs during this experience. Mmkay.] But most often the question is, "are you going to find out what it is?" followed by the inevitable "what do you want, a boy or girl?"

It seems like a natural question to ask, but answering the same question a thousand times got me thinking. Do I even care whether it's a boy or a girl? I mean really care. There's always the politically correct "we'll be happy no matter what the baby is" answer, but what about the deep down in your gut "holy crap, what if we have a _______" answer?

David wants a boy. Sorry to blow your cover babe, but there it is. He wanted a boy the first time, actually. But it was a fear-driven response, not a logical one. Every time we'd pass a group of high school girls, see the cheerleaders at a football game, or click past a lipstick commercial his blood pressure would rise, he would look at me and say, "we are NOT having a girl!" He was completely serious. And completely freaked out. It's a good thing we didn't have a cute little blonde-haired blue-eyed baby girl with so much personality she fills the room.

Let's move on shall we?

Being a stay-at-home-mom was never in my 5-year plan. It wasn't ever going to be in my 5-year plan. It just wasn't on the priority list. And alas, there I was with a beautiful baby in my arms, unable to think about anything else. I have the best job. Ever. Seriously, show me another job where you get to play with Strawberry Shortcake (whose hair smells EXACTLY the same, by the way), have playdates every day (total toss-up as to whether these are more fun for the grownup or the kiddo) and get to cut the crust off your peanut butter & jelly sandwiches.

For example, yesterday afternoon we realized it was getting close to bedtime and Emily had energy to spare. David asked me, "any ideas how to get her to burn it off?" Moments later she was accessorizing me with beads, sunglasses and headbands for our dance party of Al Green, a little Green Onions and our personal favorite, Ray Charles. David, while certain he needed to remain stoic to preserve his man-card, couldn't help but laugh with us. So fun.

So when the first brave person asked me whether I wanted a boy or girl, I had two thoughts. First, I looked down at Emily and thought, "I have my girl. Whatever's next is the icing." That's how I feel. I have this awesome girl to play with, dress up with, show how to love the Lord and someday respect and admire her husband. If that isn't the cake, I don't know what is.

The second thought I had was to deck the woman. I mean, if we're being honest here, let's be honest. Do I know what I want? I want a healthy baby, you nut job. I want my friend that can't get pregnant to feel what it's like for the flutters to turn into kicks that wake you up at night. I want my friend that just miscarried at 24 weeks to wake up from her nightmare. And while we're at it, world peace. What a question. Next time I begin a similar conversation with a prego I pray I remember to keep it in perspective. "What do I want?" How about "what a blessing." I think next time I'll try that on for size.