Apr 20, 2012

Tessa in Spring Time

Spring sprang up in my garden this month and the flowers are blooming in all their glory.  Tessa is also blossoming into quite the young lady...or at least into something.  With number three, we got a wild child.  I've heard that that is often the case with number three, but I just never bargained on how loud and wild our number three really would be. I adore her, I can't help but squeeze her a million times a day, I think she is the cutest little thing with her big cheeks and squishy thighs, and I can't help but want to pull my hair out a million times a day as well.  She's a conundrum that one.
 She is unique and all to her own.  Each of my three is so completely different, it's hard to believe that they came from the same place.  Tessa is the one who will run me ragged however. I feel that if I successfully keep her alive and healthy until age five, I will have done a major accomplishment.
 She looks innocent enough her in her Easter dress.  I am completely shocked that that dress made it through church without getting completely destroyed.  It was a major first for us.  And yes, as a side note, I totally did the matchy matchy nerdy "all blue, in stripes, nautical themed, Easter outfit".  I can't help it.  Something is in my blood that says I have to do it every Easter.  Even though we go to a church where most people wear jeans.  It's like my one free pass a year to go all out on the nerdy matchy theme and I take it for all it's worth.      I'm sure there is some type of intervention for this.
Whatever, we were talking about Tessa and not my need for an Easter outfit intervention.  We can re-discuss  next year when I do it all over again.  Anyhow, Tessa is my physical loud child.  And by loud, I don't mean talking.  Because while my other two really talked early and were stringing together sentences nonstop by Tessa's age, Tessa maybe has a dozen garbled words she can say.  Tops.  The rest of the time she screeches.  It's ear piercing and so enjoyable for the entire household. Sarcasm intended. She really would like to talk actually.  We work on new words every day, we try not to speak for her, and she attempts them but can't quite master forming with her mouth what she is hearing.  She gets frustrated easily and yells her head off.  Actually, she was born yelling and hasn't quit.  The first few months months of her life she basically just screamed. I would love it if she would outgrow it anytime soon. She never wakes up happy.  Usually I know she is awake and ready to get up when I hear her yelling and crying for me.  It takes a few minutes to calm her down after a nap.  I have learned that the only way to help her wake up is to snuggle her for a few minutes.  Sometimes I get impatient, but that's what my daughter needs. She charmed us all despite all that yelling.  

Tessa is my most observant child.  She tries to do everything the older ones do and is their silent mimic.  She currently is in a tight-rope walking phase.  Meaning if there is a curb, ledge, wall or anything she can get up on and walk the edge, she does.  I have daily heart attacks when I see where she is climbing, and am in a state of hyper vigilance when we go out.  She also is in a "steal everything in the house that could possibly be a writing utensil and mark every surface with it" phase. She is only interested in her piece of paper for the first 10 seconds and then the budding artist in her needs a much larger work surface.  We are repainting the walls this week from the waist down through our hallway.  They could only take so much scrubbing before we decided they just needed a complete rehaul.  We have also tried to hide or put out of reach every marker, pencil and crayon in the place. Much easier said than done.
 Tessa is always in a state of motion.  She loves to run, jump, dance, slide, swing, wrestle.  Her favorite thing to do is to climb up and stand on the arm of the couch and then dive bomb as hard as she can into the pillows.  I can't tell you the amount of bloody lips she has gotten.
 We make the attempt to do her hair everyday.  By noon, her pigtails are almost completely out.  She also has the very unfortunate problem of inheriting my hair is which is extremely coarse.  She always has a fuzzy rats nest on the whole back of her head by the end of the day.  I can't get a comb through it without copious amounts of detangler (and more shrieking).
 She is also my dirtiest child.  She cannot stand my help eating which means she is always covered in food, she spends lots of time floor wrestling so she is always grimy, and clothing doesn't last more than half a day before coming just absolutely filthy.  She is so darn full of life and tenacity to do everything everyone else is doing and by herself too.
 I wish I could bottle up her laugh.  Like everything else about her, it's larger than life.  So is her smile.  She has a huge smile and can turn it on at a moments notice.  Usually, she stands back and observes the world with a very serious blank stare with huge blue eyes.  Actually, this is what scares me the most, because I know she is calculating.  Once she figures out what everyone is doing and how they are doing it, she launches and there is no holding her back.  She tries to do it exactly the same and has zero fear.  When Tessa has made up her mind, she is completely stubborn about it too.  The little girl will not give up and telling her "no" will not be listened to.  She is so persistent about what she wants and has a complete meltdown when she can't get her way.

Today at the park she climbed up a high chain ladder that was made for much bigger kids to a platform and then launched herself off into my arms.  Finding that fun, all she wanted to do was do it over and over again. I'm telling you the kid freaks me out with her lack of fear.
 Because she doesn't talk, she uses hand motions and signs for many things, and also grabs my hand to show me.  She pulls me over to what she wants and points and gestures until I get the point.  She also has been gently but urgently patting my cheek to turn my head as she says, "Mama! Mama!"  If I don't look right away, her pats and calls become more urgent until I do.  While Ainsley was into girly things already at Tessa's age, Tessa could care less.  She loves animals.  If there is anything is this world that makes Tessa the happiest its animals.  Both real and in pictures.  She can find the tiniest pictures in obscure places and gestures to me until I find and acknowledge it too.  As the most observant of the three, she may understand a far greater vocabulary than they did at this stage.  She just can't say the words that she understands, but from clues and books I know that she understands a great deal so that's how I talk to her.

Tessa clings.  She snuggles more than the rest.  She wants to be near me at all times.  She gets furious when I snuggle or give the other two hugs.  She wants me to be her own personal territory.  She has staked her claim as the baby.
Tessa is my challenge.  While my other two were and still are a challenge to figure out and learn how to best parent, Tessa is the one who stretches me to my limit.  I love her wildness, and her stubborn tenacity.  I am frustrated too when she can't find the words to communicate to me what she wants to tell me.  It hurts my heart that she can't express herself.  Somehow, Tessa and I are finding some sort of communication rhythm by eye contact and gestures and we get excited about new words mastered.  The look of pride on Tessa's face when she says a word is priceless.  Every time she gently pats my face and calls my name to show me something, my heart melts a little.  Sometimes I don't want to stop and pay attention and her calls become more urgent and she never gives up.

Tessa is one of my greatest teachers about my own heart and impatience.  She is teaching me about what to truly value.  She makes me take time to snuggle her.  I can't just let her go off to play while I absentmindedly do something else.  She is teaching me that walls and furniture aren't more important than the people who live in the house as she slowly destroys it.  She is teaching me that I can't just absentmindedly answer, but I have to look and pay attention as she urgently tries to communicate.  She is teaching me to purposefully engage in my children's lives, and not just care for physical needs, as I sometimes do in my tired and busy life.  Tessa is hard for me.  I don't like the lessons Tessa is teaching me as sometimes it's incredibly annoying or frustrating.  From day one, Tessa has been the one to teach me the most about surrender and my wants and needs.  This is also the child who clings to me and seems to need me the most.

Tessa, baby, thank you for being born and being the beautiful tenacious child that you are.  While I instantly loved you, I am still learning daily HOW best to love you and your brother and sister.  I fear I am going to need copious amounts of forgiveness as the years go by.

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