Dear Laila

short video of Laila’s Skillz
Dear Laila,
Tonight you are 17 months and 1 day old. You just went reluctantly to sleep while asking me, “Where’s Bruddah, mama? Laila see Bruddah!” When I told you Sufyan was going to sleep, too, you said, “Laila look! Laila LOOK.” and began to crawl off your bed.
We went out to dinner tonight (I’ll tell you why in a moment) and like always, people were fawning over you and calling to you and trying to get you to let them pick you up. It used to scare you, all the attention, but now you think its fun because you have figured out that you have the power in this situation. So now you just say, “No. Khalas (finished).” And when you feel like being fawned over you say everything they want to hear: “Marhaba! Keef Halek? Ismee Laila!”. Young men practically collapse when they see your round little face and big blue eyes. They make a sound like, “bisss sssss bissss” and pinch your cheeks. Yesterday a man practically teared up while reaching for you and his heart at the same time and begged me to let him hold you and take you to show a woman standing nearby. The drama! You ate it up, sweet girl.
And now you have started really cracking everyone up because you look at your admirers and say, “biss biss bisssss” while pinching your own cheeks at them! HA!
2 days ago you learned to jump. Not the little heels lifting jumps (those are for babies), but actually 2 feet airborn. So of course this morning you leaped from the couch onto the floor and I knew exactly what it was when I heard the sound of your belly flop onto the carpet…but you were smiling. Thank goodness. I should have known you’d do that because you always have a goal in mind. Not just to jump, but learn to jump so you can climb and jump from HIGHER!
You love to climb. You climb all the time now. If I am not looking and I don’t hear you its a safe bet you are climbing something and I better run to catch you on your way to the belly flop. You climb the bars on our patio door, the couch, my bed so that you can jump off my bed. And of course you love to climb the chairs at the table (see the video). I have begun to notice how worried for you your brother is, too! When he doesn’t see you he tears through the house calling your name and when he finds you he laughs hysterically…he was worried and he is relieved to find you. He knows your proclivity to climb too high and jump.
You talk in sentences fit a 3 year old. You named a doll “Baby Talateh” (baby 3) and you say:
“I love you, too. Habik.”
“Where IS Baby Talateh?”
“Hey Mama. Watch this throw!”
“I want Laila do nursing, actually. Just nursing, actually.”
“rararararara! GET BROTHER!” (chasing him around)”Eat Eat Eat brother’s toes!!!”
“I will do it. Laila do it.”
“Ok, let’s go Baby Talateh.”
“My turn brother.”
“okiley smokiley!”
“What’s brother doing?”
and your favorite:
You also run. You don’t just toddle, you RUN (see video). And you love to run around naked. So at the end of the night after bath (which you call “Bath Laila!”) we have naked running around like crazy time. You and Sufyan yell, “ZALUTA!!!!” and run around laughing and falling down. It’s one of my favorite things. And I love seeing how much you love your brother, and how much he loves you. You crack each other up.
So about eating dinner out. With all the amazing things you can do right now by shear force of will and rock solid determination, you can also use your power to make things rather intense around here. By which I mean this: Laila, I love you with a love that words cannot touch. My heart and soul are yours. And when you decide that you want something or don’t want something I am happy to report you have no problem making your desires very very clear. LOUD and clear. This will serve you well in life, my love. And I’m proud that my daughter is strong in body and in spirit. Sometimes, however, your strength is my undoing. It is the gray in my hair. It is the reason I find myself doubting my ability to be a mother. And lately it is the reason I cannot make dinner, go shopping, fold laundry, wash laundry, make the bed, sweep the floor or even take a shower. You are, as they say, “spirited”. I would gladly turn all my hair gray for you, baby girl, if only I knew how to make you happy when you are angry. Day by day, Laila, we are figuring this out.
I am also happy to say that you report your emotions. “I’m ANGRY. MAD!” or “Saaaaaad…” or “I’m LAUGHING!!!”. Laila, my love, you are such a powerful, intelligent, willful, sensitive, loving little person. I’m so grateful you have these words to tell us what you couldn’t before and I want you to know that I would move heaven and earth to make your angry moments make sense to you or your sad moments turn into happy ones. I will always do my best to be your rock, even though at this very young age you already have a clear grasp on what pushes my buttons. As your mom I take that information as my marching orders to eradicate those buttons and let us see our way through our challenges clearly and early. I’m working on it. I just hope you will forgive me for times I am not as clear as I want to be and I let my buttons get pushed. I love you through it all.
So for now, happy 17 months. I can’t believe we’ve come so far and yet we are still beginning.
Your (humbled and loving)

One thought on “Dear Laila

  1. She is so beautiful. I would say "spirited" is an accurate description! The two of them together look like a whirlwind. You're doing a great job and you have two lovely children to prove it. Don't forget to cut yourself some slack. You're good at reminding me to do that, so do it for yourself! Your kids are lovely and wonderful, loving little beings. Anyone can see they are well loved and taken care of, even if you have moments where your buttons get pushed.

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