Emma is 4 years old today. It was really an exciting day and this year, more than the previous 3, she looked forward to the presents and the whole day being about her, her and some more her. It was fun to give her a special day, but at the same time I cringed at every occation Emma had to be more selfish. She is so completely blessed and I pray she understands it soon. We had a yummy egg breakfast and she opened her 2 presents from us, a new dress for Sunday School and a horse for Barbie. After a good nap (Praise the Lord), we had her party with her both sides of the family -- 29 immediate family! She got so much nice stuff. I'll post pictures of course, but for now, I thought these of Emma showed her sweet side, and not the side where she is completely consumed with being the birthday girl.
I looked back at the birthday archives and found posts here, here, here and here. She's grown up a lot. Please forgive the posts in the Emma's own voice. I think I was bored or something. I promise it won't happen again.
It is fun to remember when.... she was a baby.... she was helpless instead of steadfastly independant.... played peak-a-boo for the first time... took her first steps....
Emma was the perfect baby. She napped well, was the fastest breast-feeder on record (start to finish in less than 6 minutes), was content to sit and watch the world go by, and loved to snuggle.
Some of her earliest characteristics are now part of her personality. She still loves a schedule and needs routine. She is a good eater and will eat anything, even sea food and chinese -- her favorite food is green beans. She's reserved in social settings, but joins right in after a few minutes. She loves to play with others, but is definitely an introvert. Her earliest love to snuggle now shows itself through willing hugs for those she loves.
When Emma was about 15 months, her strong will started to show itself and we've been in a constant tug of war ever since. When we say "no", she says, "yes." She wears skirts when we advise pants. She takes the long way when we suggest a short cut. She is stubborn and has challenged me to my breaking point more than once (a few more than once), yet I now see the benefits of her strong will. She is very determined and even self-motivated. This last year has given us hope that her "guns are shooting in the right direction," as my grandma described the wish for all spirited kids. I am really proud of Emma and her ability to make decisions based more on the facts these days instead of just choosing the opposite of what mom and dad want.
I haven't ever shared her birth story. I remember it clearly, but the details are fading. I started having labor pains Sunday (the 7th) and went to the midwife the next day. She said to wait it out, the baby would come eventually. Always what a first time mom-to-be wants to hear. The pains were quite strong by the evening and Jeff was a little disappointed because Lord of the Rings was on TV (that is the detail he remembers about Emma's birth). We left right after it started and were at the hospital by 9pm. I was dilated to 5cm, so I was admitted and the midwife came. Somewhere in the middle of the night I transitioned into heavy labor and thought I was seriously going to die. I previously specified NO EPIDURAL, so when I was begging for one it was too late. At one point I screamed at the midwife, "No woman has EVER been in this much pain. You have to get this child out of me NOW!!!!! I want a C-section. I don't care, just get her out!!!" I don't remember the midwife's response, but I imagine she rolled her eyes behind by back. I had all back labor, never felt a contraction in front, so I really thought I was going to die or at least be paralyzed for life. The labor went from horrible to worse and I started to push and push some more, but nothing happened. I changed positions many time, but the baby's head was turned almost completely the wrong way. I ended up pushing through contractions for 3 hours. I don't remember how I made it through, but I did, ripped to shreds, but I made it. Emmaleigh was finally born at 5:31am on the 9th. She looked up at me with the biggest, most searching eyes and I knew that I was made to be her mother. Somehow all the pain was worth it. Even saying that doesn't make sense unless you are a mother yourself.
She is truly a gift and I love celebrating her life. I am so thankful for her. We'll work on her own gratefulness tomorrow.