-- Graham Green
I haven't talked a lot here about Piglet lately other than an occasional mention ... but she is rapidly changing and growing. Private Ryan has been gone for 26 days, and in that time, she has learned how to cruise more confidently, she has begun to give slobbery kisses more frequently more freely. She has gone from having five teeth, to have seven. She has learned even more confidence in her "dancing", and she has begun to babble and talk even more than before. She misses her father, and when I hold up my phone so that she can see the photo of him there, she shyly turns her head away, smiling. I believe when he comes home, she will be shy with him and he will be heartbroken. I also believe that she remembers him and will warm up to him quickly because of the efforts we took to prevent her from forgetting.
In those days since he has been gone, she has let go of her mommy a little, perhaps in the natural order of things where a child begins to trust their mother and can therefore begin to move away knowing that there is a safe place to return. The day he left was the the end of our nursing relationship. Private Ryan left on a Tuesday, and she didn't nurse at all that day, probably feeling my tension. She nursed Wednesday morning ... the 14th of April. It must have been painful, she had another ear infection and would not nurse again that night as was our habit. She nursed on Thursday morning ... and that was it. Just that quick it was over. And now, each night as I look down into my arms at that little girl who was almost ten pounds at birth and now measures almost twenty, I miss the times we shared in peaceful nursing together. But I also appreciate the new child she is slowly becoming as she leaves infancy behind.
She has also begun to put herself to sleep in her bed occasionally (but still mostly likes to be rocked) and is learning finally to soothe herself. She will make the most perfect little pouty face, her sweet bottom lip dropping and her big blue eyes half-full of fat tears, and then ... she will practice the deep-breathing that I have been teaching my children these days as a way to calm and release stress. She doesn't breathe deep yet, though, it's more of a quick huffy breath, but she looks to me always for approval and I encourage her, reminding her, "in with the good, and out with the bad." I breathe with her, and she settles. Sometimes she is truly upset and this doesn't work ...
But often? It does. It gets me through cooking when she doesn't want to sit alone as I work at the stove (or microwave). It gets me through diaper changes when she doesn't want to lie still or when her ears hurt to lay flat on the floor. It even works for Teenybop and I. She has learned so much in these few days, and I wonder about the child she will be when her father comes home to reclaim the family he left behind in order to train for the United States Army. But still as before, she is precious, beautiful, amusing, and a blessing the likes of which I could not have imagined.