Katie growing up

Katie adamantly insists these days that she’s a big girl (or, as she adorably pronounces it, a big ‘geel’). She revealed to Mom and me her hierarchy of age in childhood: she used to be a baby girl, like Zuzu is now, now she’s a big girl, and next she’ll be a kid.

There are a number of rituals that have fallen away as she’s gotten older and transitioned from a baby girl- my baby girl- to a big girl. It’s starting to make me a little sad that they’ve disappeared, even as Katie makes me want to pull my hair out most days. I’m excited to watch the person she’s becoming, sassy, beautiful, and imaginative as she is. But I treasure the moments where I see flashes of her babyhood, in her facial expressions, her mannerisms, the way she looks up at me from underneath her bangs when I tell her, “no.”

So we don’t have our morning snuggles anymore, which were a rigid expectation every single morning after she was born and I nursed her first thing after she woke up. Now, Zuzu gets that snuggle, and Papa gets the first “I want to go to the wiving woom!” dictate of the day. I have been getting the final request for a snuggle before bed time, though. She’s been frugal with her kisses, hugs, and affection lately, pulling away from me. Her independence is coming out, which I think has as much to do with getting used to sharing my affection with Zuzu as turning into a big girl.

I’ve always planned to get all the snuggles of their babyhood while I can, to store and hoard the emotional memory, and to accept it when it lessens as the girls grow up. We’re not quitting cold turkey around here; she still leans into me as she drinks her milk in her sippy cup before bed time or after we get home. But I watch her closely, watch as she dances in the living room to any bit of music that comes on, the intro music to Go, Diego, Go or anything playing on my iPod, and I watch as my baby spins, twirls, jumps, and grows into a young girl.

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