Somebody just asked us at church how old Ya’el is, when we responded, they said “there’s no way!”
I have to admit these two years with Ya’el Ariel Ruth, aka Boo, have gone by so fast. She earned the nickname Boo, thanks to those little piggy tails accompanied with her dark brown hair and eyes, many people told us she looked just like Boo from Monsters Inc.
I struggle, maybe because I am yet again growing another human inside my body and my brain keeps telling me that I need to make room for an infant and I am unable to accept the fact that Ya’el is now a toddler. I look at Ya’el and tell myself all the time “but she is still such a baby”. I didn’t feel that way when I was gearing up for a newborn with her siblings, I didn’t struggle with accepting the much missed yet can’t wait for it to end baby phase. I have never been one to want to wrap up my kids in tiny little bubbles and not let them grow. I want them to leave the nest, equipped, confident and self assure they can grow up. But this time, this time has been different.
A friend recently told me that I might be struggling because in our hearts we had finally said our final fair wells to anymore children. We really did say goodbye. We moved on, held a newborn Ya’el and felt complete, felt the need to move out of this newborn phase. For those of you who read my blogs and followed our story personally, I know…we have said our final fair wells 3x now…but
I have held Ya’el longer when she has slept in my arms, I have relinquished my consistent rules that I refused to break on her other siblings, I have caught myself just staring at her. She draws you in if you aren’t careful. You could sit forever and watch her little piggy tails bouncy as she hops from one place to the next, while humming whatever song is on her heart. I know this to be true because when I go places with her and succumb to her free spirit, I get the pleasure of steeling glances of others who can’t help but smile as they watch this little one drink in life.
We recently switched the rooms in our home (something that if you are close to us, you have experienced we get restless with room assignments and furniture placing). Ezzy moved into the room with her sisters and Cayden moved into the old playroom. We expected some resistance from the parties involved, yet we have been pleasantly surprised with the outcome. I learned on the recent trip with Ezzy, that when Ya’el doesn’t want to sleep or is fussing, she climbs into bed with Ezzy. After seeing a very tired Ezzy one morning, I was informed that Ya’el had woken with the early morning sun and climbed in bed with Ezzy and wanted to name off all the body parts she knows or every family members name.
Ya’el woke up one day this last week and decided to not be a baby anymore. She will joyfully tell you that she is 2 and struggles to get two little fingers to stand up by themselves. Ya’el will talk to you in a sentence format, but the trick is having one of her trusted translators close by. Ya’el also has decided that she is ready to potty train and since Friday, has told us 75% of the time when she needs to go potty!!!! Leave it to the #4 to do things on her own.
Every morning, the first thing that comes out of her mouth is “cerwerl”, cereal, she climbs up in her seat and let’s her blood sugar slowly return to normal as she sits in silence away from the rest of the family still trying to wake up. Within just a few minutes you will see her little legs swing from the bench and she might even say hi to someone as they walk by. Once the bowl is empty she climbs down and starts the adventures on her jammed packed list. It use to really drive me nuts that she is an early riser, even more so now that sleep is so precious to me. Thankfully I have an ever present, hands on husband that attends to the needs of our early risers. Now I find myself chuckle when I hear the fast rhythmic shuffling of her feet scurry across the floors as I am nestled in my bed, knowing that she has woken up and can’t wait to start her day.
Ya’el will chase her daddy to the door and have her arms spread wide and lips ready to give a kiss when he heads to work. She needs you to say “bye” to her when she waves her beauty queen wave and says bye or she will keep repeating herself. If you want to have a snuggle party on the couch, she is your girl. After each shower she craves to be rocked back and forth as you sing “sweet baby, sweet baby Ya’el” thanks to her daddy starting that tradition. Ya’el craves to be held and will follow you around the house and say “up”, the moment you pick her up, she will wrap her arms tight around your neck or tuck them in and release a sigh of relief. As if her love cup became dangerously low, she runs to find the nearest person who will hold her tight until she has reached livable levels. I have found her in her brother and sisters arms in moments that my arms could not fill up her urgent request.
I love hearing her sweet little voice sing along to any music she hears. She has shown me time and time again that all the time she spent inside my womb, listening to worship music has had a lasting impact on her need to express herself in song.
Our days can get a little intense and sometimes, the level of patience we give to one another can wane, but I have found its in those times that Ya’el will take it upon herself to change the energy in the room. She loves to laugh, she loves to play games with you, most of the time you can actually look in her eyes and realize that she is up to something.
As the months have flown by since finding out that Ya’el would no longer be the baby of the family I have found myself wondering how she will feel about not being the baby to everyone. I have worried it might wreck her. She has never been labeled an easy going child, in fact when I have to run errands with her I never know what to expect. Unlike her siblings that I could read and determine the outcome, going and doing things with Ya’el is like rolling dice.
When Ya’el turned one we missed out on doing a party for her. We were traveling for Ezzy’s big surgery last year and returned with two sick kids. By the time our family was healthy, weeks had gone on and we never did a party for her. To be honest, the response from her parents was “it’s not like she knows what she missed”. Thankfully this year we were able to do a small party with family and her surrgate parents Joel and Kalli. I am beyond thankful she has people outside her mom and dad that she knows loves her dearly. I have spent many Sunday’s watching her leave our arms and run straight into theirs.
My heart has found peace in just this last week as I have watched her become so proud of the new things she is learning to say and do. I have also loved seeing she wants to be a big girl and no longer wants to be identified as a baby. Daniel tiger has been instrumental in preparing her for being a big sister. I know that her special spot in her daddy’s heart will be a place she finds comfort in as she learns to share her momma. I know that she is going to love having her older siblings home this summer and go on fun adventures and be seen as a big kid. I know that when the time comes for her to get her love cup filled up and recharge she will understand there is a little baby that needs it too. I know that the love she freely gives has brought more joy to us then we could have hoped in the short 2 years of her life. I know that God created her to fill a spot only she can in our family, I am ever grateful she is ours.