Cookie

Gwennie’s preschool welcome letter was in the mailbox this afternoon. This was the moment that I have been dreading all summer. *sniffle* I know, I know… I need to let her move forward. It’s preschool. A right of passage… a major milestone in the life of my little cookie. My Cookie. *sob* She tries to make me feel better by saying things like, “Mommy, I have to get all growed up!” or, “It’s okay Mommy, you’ll be right back to pick me up”. She says these things with a shrug of her tiny shoulders while wearing an appropriately empathic, but too-bad-for-you facial expression. I recognize it as my own.
Oh, how long I waited for my little girl! For all of my blustering about never wanting children (back when I didn’t know I wanted them), I secretly dreamed of one just like her. Here’s a little secret…Gwen was not planned. I had no idea I was pregnant for weeks. No idea at all that another baby was on the way! Thankfully, we sorted it all out before we ended up on the I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant show.

My sweet little Cookie. I have no idea how or why the nickname “Cookie” began, but it belongs to her. Like every other mom, I will never forget the day we first met. As I recovered (lay helpless in bed) from surgery Dave took photos and, in his ecstatic state of new Daddy bliss he posted a most unflattering photo of our new baby girl.



I was beyond mortified! “WHAT?! You posted that picture?! Look at her…she looks like a hairy linebacker in that shot! Why that picture?!” You can imagine that my hormones were in full swing at this point. Poor David.

Here’s the one I would have sent:

I’ve enjoyed each and every minute of her existence, right up to this very moment. She makes us laugh both giggles and belly laughs without even trying. She can as easily make me cry as I watch her attempt a brave face before confronting the man-eating hippos in her closet. Who can blame her for being frightened if those are the kind of things lurking in the shadows of her bedroom?

Over the past week, I have gone through what seems like thousands of photographs and can’t help but marvel at how tiny the children were. How easily we forget and how quickly they grow. Chubby little baby cheeks and beautiful toothless grins are fading away. Like every other parent in the world, we only have our memories and photographs to help stir them.

I explored picture files full of Joe and Gwen’s first years, when we lived in Boston. I had forgotten how tiny our apartment in Oak Square was. I thought of when our two babies shared a sweet little bedroom, and how suddenly one afternoon I heard them babbling to one another. That was the afternoon that she became a little bit more “baby” and little less infant.
When people say that children are born with their own personalities, they aren’t wrong. It didn’t take long to see that Gwen was an “Alpha” baby. She began busting Joe’s chops (his words) as soon as she could sit up. Here’s the proof:

Gwen came into the world making us laugh. She has that special something that lets her get away with just a littlebit more than the others. She has comic timing. Gwen has presence. She’s quick to defend and stands up for the rights of those being wronged…including herself. She has a quick wit and a sharp tongue. At 18 months, she exited the sandbox with purpose to toddle to the swings where she proceeded to smack the neighborhood’s three year old Neanderthal who was pushing Joe around. I wouldn’t have believed it unless I watched with my own eyes. She emitted some sort of crazy babble/yelling, smacked the bully a few more times for good measure and chased him off. Gwen is one tough Cookie.
She claims that her brother is her bestest friend in the world, but will rat him out in the blink of an eye. She welcomed her new baby sister into the family with grace and watches over her to ensure her safety and happiness. In fact, she’s Kate’s official spokesperson. So much so, that Kate can speak her own Kate language, leaving Gwen to interpret. Oddly enough, she has developed an uncanny knack for knowing precisely what Miss Kate is demanding.
Gwen can walk into a room full of strangers at 12:00 and come out with 5 new friends a half hour later. It doesn’t matter if it’s a girl or a boy. So now, as summer ends Gwen is eager to join her fellow tribesmen, the little people of Patten’s Nursery School. She’s a tiny social maven on the verge of independence! She’s teetering on the edge of freedom. She’s chomping at the bit to escape my (control) love.
I will be shocked if there are tears when I leave her on the first day of preschool. In fact, I have absolutely no fear that she will cling to my leg, screaming to go home. Nope. No need to pry her off and run before my own tears start to flow. Instead, I’ll drive her there, walk her inside and she’ll run away from me to meet her new friends. I’ll hang around a bit (too long), making sure that she finds her cubby…that she’s okay, and right around the time I realize that I’m not okay, I’ll feign cheer, choke out a “Goodbye, Cookie! Be a good girl!” as I hastily exit. My little Cookie is growing up too fast.
My dirty fingered, bandaid obsessed, dress wearing angel. I had no idea that she was coming, but I’m sure glad she’s here.

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