Our Incredible, Un-Shrinking Violet

Two years ago this morning, we woke up with a tiny girl in our arms. She didn’t just magically appear there out of thin air, and it would do Danielle quite a disservice to suggest that our daughter just suddenly — “poof!” — popped into the world the night before. But given the fertility odds stacked against us, there might as well have been some magic (and more likely, some divine providence) that conjured Violet Skye out of the clear blue sky.

Like her big brother, Violet was a pokey little puppy, arriving almost 10 days late despite all of her mama’s efforts to expedite the process (red raspberry tea! long walks in the countryside! bouncing on an exercise ball! spicy pad Thai!). But unlike her home-born big brother, Violet was delivered in a hospital after a bout of labor which transpired so quickly that the doctor barely had time to get his latex gloves on. We always get a laugh out of the fact that he asked Danielle to “Hold tight!” at a moment that was profoundly unconducive to any such carefully clenched restraint.

Two years later, our precious Violet continues to live her life at a breakneck pace, thwarting all attempts to slow her down or rein her in. Our sweet, snuggly little baby has quickly morphed into a sweet, unstoppable force of nature. She may be small, but she’s also the un-shrinking-est Violet in the whole flower bed.

First of all, Violet is loud. I have never encountered anyone or anything as small as she is that makes as much noise as she does. Is she trying to compensate for her diminutive physical volume with deafening sonic volume? Because if so, she’s doing a bang-up job of it!

Violet is also a go-getter. When we’re on a nature walk, she runs around and digs in the dirt and climbs on stumps and picks up sticks that are bigger than she is. When we’re at home, she runs around and digs in toy bins and climbs on furniture and picks up things she shouldn’t (from cupboards she shouldn’t be in). She lives her life nonstop.

Violet is incredibly music-driven. Every time we put on a song, she starts joyously dancing (our girl’s got moves), drumming rapturously with her arms, and even doing something akin to headbanging. We learned recently that when she says “wa-ha!” it means that she wants to listen to music. She will clearly be the one begging to go to concerts with us someday.

Violet is weirdly strong, given her small stature, and that strength extends to her will. This is no meek little girl; she’s got opinions. As a little girl, her mama (Danielle) was playfully referred to by her parents and relatives as “baby I-do” because she wanted to do everything on her own. Well, the apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree. Since roughly the age of 18 months, Violet has done everything in her power to eat her food without help, put on shoes without help, read books without help, and dress herself in bizarre combinations of shirts and pants and hats (sometimes multiple of each at one time) by herself.

Fortunately for my tender, squishy father’s heart, our strong-willed little girl also loves being held. She’s a wonderfully odd combination of codependent (and even more so when other people are around) and hyper-independent. I’m so grateful that in the last 6 months, our wriggly, go-go-go girl has learned to sit still for the duration of not just one book, but as many books as we’re willing to read her. And I’m so grateful that she savors being held. There are very few feelings on earth more satisfying than the sight of her looking up and reaching both her arms toward me, wanting to be picked up. Will I get 6 more months of that particular joy? A year or 2, maybe? Given her penchant for independence, I won’t hold my breath.

But I will hold my little girl. As tightly as I can, for as long as she’ll let me.

Our 1-month-old
Our 1-month-from-2-year-old

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