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Monday, February 11, 2013

In Celebration of My Middle Child's 11th Birthday

I'm not sure how we got to the point so fast, but tomorrow, February 12, is my middle child's 11th birthday. Perhaps I blinked too many times because it seems every time I blink, my children grow taller.  Or, perhaps, it's because my middle child likes to rush things along.  I do not know how it is possible, but my middle child is turning 11.

We are this much closer to the teenage years, and she already looks like a teenager.

This particular child slipped into our family as somewhat of a surprise, and she has pulled us forward through years of birthdays ever since.  Always in a hurry to get on with the next celebration life has to offer, this child has been a gift from the start.

Here are 11 facts about this girl, for her 11th birthday:

  1. She is our first little girl - our princess!
  2. Daddy prayed for her to have beautiful hair.  When she was born, however, she had only peach fuzz on top. This quickly changed.
  3. I have always loved her freckles and her blue eyes.
  4. She always rocked hats so well, and was my only child who would keep them on without complaint.
  5. Once she was upright, at 11 months, she began to climb and taught her older brother antics he had never considered by himself.  In fact, he received his first skinned knee after trying to follow this girl down the deck steps, which she did with bouncing ease.
  6. She has always loved horses, including carousel horses.  We became members of the St. Louis Carousel at Faust Park because we couldn't get her off of the thing.
  7. She has been a dancer since she was 2 years old, performing her first recital just 3 months after turning 3. She performed this Fuente' turn with a 2nd degree burn on the bottom of her foot:
  8. Her easy-going personality has a price - She complains so little that we don't ever know she's sick until she's very sick.  In fact, for part of her pre-school years she could not hear due to ear infections.  We discovered this during a Kindergarten screening where she flat-lined her hearing test.  All is well now.
  9. She has always been able to make us laugh with her impersonations and hilarious faces:
  10. Not so long ago, we discovered she has an amazingly sweet singing voice. This is her solo:
  11. We don't know what we'd do without her.

Where do I begin to tell the story of this girl's life:

We were thrilled to discover we would be having our second child in March, 2002.  My oldest son was celebrating his first birthday not long before we discovered this little beauty would arrive, and sooner than expected.

At a routine ultrasound, my doctor was chit-chatting routinely and ready to pass us on to make our next appointment when he stopped cold in his tracks while jotting notes onto my file.  Chills went up and down my spine as I gasped for air and braced myself as to what was about to come out of his mouth:

"Wait!"  He said.  "Measure that kid's head again."

So, back to the ultrasound wand we went with my heart pumping on overdrive.  Why did he want to re-measure her head?  What could be wrong, I wondered and tried to remain calm.

But, it was nothing to worry about.  Somehow, most likely due to the fact that I was still nursing my first-born son and had very little physical warning signs that this little girl was inside me, our math calculations were wrong.

My doctor moved my due date up an entire month - oh, isn't that every pregnant woman's dream?  Turns out, our little princess would arrive even sooner than that, at 4 weeks and 4 days earlier than expected.

She arrived on February 12, 2002 and was my Valentine I got to bring home on February 14 that year.

Her delivery was probably my most painful, even though going into labor felt like a relief after weeks of her resting on my sciatic nerve.

My husband almost became the delivering doctor (a preview to when he actually did deliver our third child at home, but that's another story).  The day we arrived at the hospital, several other women in labor did as well.  So, no doctor was in the room when the time came until a rush of hospital staff came running in when my husband hit the buzzer telling them he could see the child's head and could someone tend to his wife.

Weighing in at 9 lbs. 5 oz. and 21 1/2" long, she was by far my largest baby.

I watched as they lifted her up and whisk her away to clean her up, though I heard no cry.  She took several seconds, which seemed like a lifetime, to make her first sound of that beautiful cry.  And, then she really didn't cry much more than that ever again.

She was by far my easiest baby to manage, and I believe God knew that we would need it that way with a little boy already at home who was still 3 months shy of turning 2 and extremely high need.

This baby would sleep until I woke her up to feed her, and then she would fall back to sleep.  She had an amazingly sweet temperament that she maintains to this day.

Happy birthday girl!

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