Thursday, September 16, 2010

Class of 2031

Dear Hayley,

This week Stanford welcomed the Class of 2014 to campus. For you, this meant mama hasn't been around a whole lot. I'm so sorry I've been gone so much. I'd love nothing more than to have been home for dinner and evening playtime this week. I hope you know I've missed you terribly and I couldn't help but think about you and our family all week.

Last year was the first time I was so involved in New Student Orientation and you were only 6 months old. This year you are 18 months and although I knew what to expect when going from event to event this week, I wasn't prepared to be so personally moved by the process. On Tuesday, as I watched teary eyed parents beam with pride as they moved their son or daughter in to their freshman dorm, I couldn't help but think of you and where we will be in 17 years. As I watched a crowd of highly intelligent and motivated students happily fill the Main Quad for Convocation, I couldn't help but think of you. And while I sat in my golf cart watching 1700 freshmen join the LSJUMB on Band Run in the middle of the night, I, again, thought of you.

As you grow older and continue to grow and learn (at an alarming rate) it becomes more and more apparent that we are raising an actual person that will become an adult and we have such a huge responsibility in shaping the woman you'll become. I watch you now, so amazingly smart, beautiful, funny, inquisitive, caring and happy and want to ensure you carry these traits with you always. I want to encourage you to work hard, take risks and try new things. I want to empower you to know who you are and what you stand for. I want to raise a daughter who knows her parents adore her and will always have her back, affording her the confidence to go out and do great things. I want to create a relationship that reassures me, when the time comes for your dad and I to move you in to your freshmen dorm and as you distance yourself from your parents, our friendship will keep us close.

I can't help but see you in everything I do. You are the single most significant contribution I'll make in my lifetime and I desperately want to do this right.

I love you, sweetheart.


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Happy Grandparents Day to us?

Hayley is growing up way too fast. Case in point: she now has her own little bundle of joy. She's had other baby dolls before (including one that she spent a lot of time playing with, even recently) but the latest addition to the family has raised her level of interest in babies to near-obsession.

Hayley's friends Leila and Maddy each have a Circo brand baby doll that is much larger than any doll Hayley has had, until now. Last week, she got the chance to spend some quality time with Leila's doll; it become apparent that she wouldn't be complete without one of her own. So yesterday we headed to our favorite store (Target) to do our duty as both loving parents and American consumers. Here is Hayley mere moments after the purchase:

For the first day together, they were practically inseparable. Everywhere Hayley went, so too did her baby (which we've named Bailey - get it?). She fed Bailey repeatedly, comforted her when she cried, poked her in the eye when she fell asleep, and cooed back at her when she babbled. Yes, the doll can cry, babble, eat, and sleep. Fun, right? When she's not doing any of those things, Hayley just hugs or kisses it. The best part is that we didn't show her how to do any of this stuff; it all comes naturally.

The cuteness only became more unbearable. At one point, Hayley grabbed some of her blueberry bagel and shared it with her baby. She then signed 'thank you' to Bailey. This makes sense only when you realize that Hayley was trying to teach her baby to say thank you. How do we know? After showing Bailey the sign on herself, she moved her baby's hand in the signing motion to help her learn! Keep in mind, this was all totally unprompted by us. Sadly, it happened too quickly to capture on camera.

We did get some pictures of Hayley getting her baby ready for bedtime. After feeding her for the millionth time, she read Goodnight Moon to Bailey (the book I read to Hayley every night). I then helped her get her baby in the crib and cuddled up with Bunny.

We knew the danger of letting Hayley sleep with her baby, so we took it out. This, of course, resulted in a tantrum, but we held fast to the rule and to our bedtime routine. Luckily Hayley got over it and went to sleep.

This morning she woke up and immediately looked for Bailey. She still insisted on taking her everywhere she went today, but an interesting thing occurred: Hayley seemed to actually get tired of her baby. At naptime she pushed Bailey away because it kept crying and wanting attention. This evening, Hayley barely touched her. It's fine with me if she doesn't want to spend every waking moment with the doll, but I will be surprised and a little annoyed if Hayley dumps her altogether after only two days. I guess we'll see how tomorrow goes.