Taking a step back (photo from a couple weeks ago) to restate what I keep restating, but am somehow never able to restate often enough:
I am (we are, I should say) completely and totally enamoured of our daughter.
She is simply amazing.
How did we never know it could be like this?
How is it possible that, in all these childless years (and we have remained childless longer than most) we never guessed at what we were missing?
OK...I do not regret that we both waited. Not one iota. In fact, I don't believe it could've happened any other way. For us, it had to be the right time, the right place, with the right people. It was right. And if we hadn't waited for exactly the right moment, we would never have met the QQ...and, well, that would have been a real tragedy!
This kid - I just can't say it enough ways - gives us happiness 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. She gives us happiness in doses that we never imagined possible.
Being on this past week's trip to San Francisco, we experienced something new with her. Since our time together in China (during which we were all, certainly, in shock) this is the first time we've had an extended period of time just being together as a family of three. M. started back at work and school very quickly after we returned, and we have been trading "shifts" ever since. This isn't a bad thing - it has worked quite well for us. It's a good way to maintain our sanity and get a healthy amount of rest. But it does mean that for five or six days of every week, Q is either with mommy or with daddy, not usually with both.
This week was our first real trip as a family, our first time existing together in a different environment, and our first time spending most of the week - day-in and day-out - together as a threesome.
Now, QQ is learning, changing and advancing at lightening speed these days, and on this trip her advancement was even more obvious than usual. First of all, she evidently ADORED traveling. I could see that same eager spark in her eye as I remember having as a child, setting off on an adventure by plane. She loved every minute of it - the flights, the transfers, the cabs and buses and restaurants, the hotel, the new faces everywhere we went. QQ is, as she has always been at heart, a social butterfly, and she adored being the ambassador in every lobby, ever bus, every coffeeshop we stopped in.
I was so very proud of her both for her eagerness and love of adventure, and for her social prowess. But what was especially amazing was how the week's trip kicked up her bonding with us by a few more notches.
Honestly, we thought she was exceptionally well-bonded to begin with. Her progress in that department has been steady and strong since the beginning. But both of us found we could feel her grow just that much more attached to us during the course of this trip. It was clear...in her gestures and signs of affection, in the way she touched us and in her quick, astute way of communicating.
We are fortunate. In the first days, it was clear that she thought we were OK. After the first month or two, it was obvious that she liked us. By six months, you could see that she loved us. Now, it's just one big smiley, huggy love fest on all three of our parts.
Finally, I have to counsel you not to get me wrong: it's not that we haven't had any trouble with this child. She is no angel. O-ho-ho no! This kid is a little devil. She does 20 dangerous things before breakfast every day. She is flat-out exhausting. The kid never stops moving...and she is stronger than an anaconda in heat. She is DETERMINED to do every single thing we say "no" to. Avert your eyes for three seconds and she will have stuffed a pizza flyer, a package of balloons, two icecream wrappers and a bottle of shampoo into her mouth - all of which will result in a fifteen-minute battle to stop her from choking, during which your fingers will be bitten to the bone a minimum of three times. If the battle last more than five minutes, she will dissolve into self-righteous tears. But as soon as you have removed the offending articles from her mouth, a smile will dawn through the tears like a sunrise, and within seconds she will giggle and give you a look through wet lashes that says "Thank you for caring about me, and I'm sorry for causing your heart to stop!" Within moments, she will grin and laugh and hug you, and go back to playing happily with her toys, or guzzling her soup, and all will be forgiven. Her affection, her kisses, her frequent and heart-melting smiles make every stressful moment worth the trouble and then some. The blatant and profuse happiness of this child makes every day a joy to wake up to, and fills us with more fulfillment than we ever imagined possible.
It is not because of her danger-loving nature but in spite of it that this child makes us happier than we have ever been in our lives. Does that make sense? She is the joy machine. She is the sun breaking through the clouds. Every morning when we awake, even if we're sick with flu, or overworked, or under-whelmed, the sight of her shining, happy, mischievous face lights up our world like a Roman candle.
So, there it is.
Now, back to our trip....