We went for Leighton's 18-month checkup today. Everything was great. She's tall, thin, smart, sassy and didn't cry for her shots - like a mini supermodel with a mild temperament and sweet little mullet on her 82.5 percentile head.
On the way out, we passed a freshie in the waiting room. She was an adorable little Chinese peanut with a shock of black hair and that typical far-away newborn gaze. And, for the life of me, I could not remember Leighton ever being that tiny.
I put Lei to bed a little while ago and came straight downstairs to peruse photographs from the first six weeks of her life in a concerted effort to find evidence that she was, in fact, the drooling, gurgling, can't-hold-her-head up baby that she certainly must have been. Right?
Sure, there are a few pictures where she's staring blankly and intently on a shadow in the corner of the ceiling, but the other seven thousand eight hundred fifty two shots show an incredibly alert kid. At this point, I'm even having trouble remembering her not talking - probably because we've been able to communicate since the moment our eyes met.
And, they met seconds after she was born. They put her in my arms and she stared calmly and confidently right up at me. Leighton's gaze instantly destroyed and reinvented me. Then she did it to her dad, grandmas, grandpas ... everyone. It was nuts. I made them wait before administering those gooey eye drops because I couldn't stand to end the hour of continuous eye contact.
I started thinking about the insane amount of thought and hope and anticipation and expectation wrapped around my first-born, and realize that my memories are gilded to some degree. But, I will say that the picture above was taken at four days old. Those are the eyes that locked mine that first day - the day she let me know just how much she expected of me.
Now, I can't help thinking about Little Sis. For baby number two, much of that anticipation is gone. We know what babies are like and how many diapers we'll change and what to feed her and when she should hit which milestone. With Lei, we've been (and still are) anxious to see how quickly she can learn things and in some ways, it feels like we're speeding her along to the next phase, always looking forward. If little sis is our last, then maybe the reverse will be true - that we'll always want to see her as a baby and always will.
It stands to reason anyway.
Family placement and its affect on each of us has always intrigued me - probably because the whole "only child" thing is foreign to most people and doesn't fit comfortably into the discussion of traditional family placement. Come February, little sis will put me well outside my sphere of knowledge on the topic and that's definitely a good thing.
Plus, I figure I'll have twice as much to write about.