A little more than four years ago today, Mrs. LB and I were going through a transitional period in our lives. We'd just sold our first house and upgraded to a newer, roomier house. We traded in our 1050 square-foot home for one that had about 500 more square feet, a fourth bedroom, a second bathroom and a garage that connected to the house.
My freelancing business had expanded greatly (yay) and so had my waistline (boo). Mrs. LB was enjoying some prosperity at work as well, and our lovely two-year-old was increasing her vocabulary tenfold, daily it seemed like.
But clearly the most anticipation we'd felt and had been feeling for a while, in October 2005, was the impending birth of our second daughter. We'd wanted to have two children close together in age, and were pretty anxious about the whole experience, that it was finally going to happen.
Yvie, for the most part, had been a pleasant baby and toddler. She was easy-going, didn't cry too much, didn't throw tantrums and did well on trips (we'd gone to Germany in April 2004 and she did wonderful the entire time). So of course we were hoping/expecting her sister would turn out the same way.
Unlike Yvie, though, we knew all along that our second child would be a girl. We'd picked out the name Kennedy Raquel, to honor family members on our respective sides of the family. And unlike Yvie, we knew Kennedy would be a c-section. So we scheduled it on a day that would be the most convenient, knew from the previous ordeal what to expect and figured everything would run smoothly.
And everything ran smoothly, from the delivery to the time when Mrs. LB recovered from the procedure to taking our new daughter home.
And for roughly three years and 360 days since, Kennedy Raquel has been a challenge.
• She had jaundice very early on, and it was severe enough that she needed some special equipment brought over to our house so she could sleep in (some sort of blanket that emitted light that she needed to be wrapped up in). The jaundice went away without any lingering effects.
• She only responded to bottles, and was almost exclusively bottle-fed.
• She had GERD (gastro intestinal something-or-other) and would not take regular formula. Of course, it took us many months to figure this out.
• She preferred a formula called Nutramigen, which of course was the most expensive brand; we were spending a couple hundred dollars on formula each month easily, and she didn’t really eat a whole lot.
• Very early on, she was a restless child and earned the nickname “Squirrel,” which has stuck.
• At about seven months, she was strong enough to walk around with our help, only with our help. She was not content with sitting or crawling (she barely crawled) but was happy when we held her hands and she was able to walk. And when we didn’t do that, she was upset and let us know she was upset. Quite verbally.
• She took her first steps and was pretty much walking on her own on Aug. 18, 2006. I remember the date because it was one day shy of her turning 10 months.
• She climbed on tables. She climbed on chairs. She could climb out of her crib. I have visual proof.
• She was (and is) very stubborn. Once she makes up her mind, she has made it up.
• She hates sleeping in her own bed. She prefers to climb into her sister’s bed and sleep with her.
• She has never napped well. She will fight through her sleepiness so she doesn’t have to nap. This has led to many upon many difficult afternoons.
• One of her favorite princesses is Princess Jasmine because “she shows her belly.” I sense a fight about a belly-button piercing in about 10-12 years.
• She has wanted to go to Yvie’s school when Yvie started kindergarten. Almost every day, Kennedy expresses some sort of sadness or disappointment over not being able to attend school (nevermind she goes to preschool twice a week).
• She is happy about her birthday but wanted to turn five or six instead of four.
Those are just a handful of the ways she’s been a challenge. I’d continue but I’m sure that I can be here for another three hours listing more reasons and still not list them all.
Ultimately, though, I am not upset about these things (well, maybe the special formula that cost us a lot of money…) but am happy. I am happy she is much different than Yvie. I am happy that she is her own person, with her own personality, her own character, her own likes and dislikes. I am happy that she is assertive, that she is independent, that she thinks of the future, that she has desire, that she has passion. She is her own person. And I am lucky that she is my daughter.
I am beyond motivated to do things for her, to change my ways, to remain fit and active, to learn and try new things (cooking, doing hair, etc.), to work every day to try and guide her.
Happy Birthday Kennedy. Without you and our family, I am nothing.