My 3-month-old baby girl laughed for the first time this week. It was a delicious gurgle of a giggle that started somewhere deep in her belly, worked its way through all 23 of her inches, and made its way out those sweet little pink lips. It's the latest in a string of amazing sounds she makes, one that began with "ahh-goo," will eventually progress to "Mama" and one day lead to the lyrics of High School Musical 24. But despite all these wonderful noises she makes on her own, my husband and I feel compelled to do that really annoying parent thing where we put words in her mouth.
"Hey Dad- I'm flying!" I'll say in a high-pitched voice, holding Cecilia's tiny arms out wide. "Wheee! Look at meeeeee! I'm Super Baby!"
But I'm quite certain my sweet angel would never say anything so ridiculous. Though you can't tell from the above exchange, she does in fact come from a pretty decent gene pool.
So that got me thinking, what exactly would she say if opportunity and vocabulary were to present themselves? What secrets is she hiding under that thick head of dark hair? I looked deep into her sparkling grey-blue eyes, listened carefully to every gurgle and compiled the following list of the Top 10 Things My Baby Might Say (Or Things I Just Really Need To Hear).
10. We can do this. I know the whole Mother-Daughter has you a bit freaked out, but I promise Mom, we're going to be fine. Better than fine. We're going to be happy. When you get scared, just reach for me. I'll wrap my whole hand around your index finger and squeeze; it will be our secret signal that everything is OK. And if we're apart, just close your eyes and think about the way my head fits perfectly in the crook of your neck when you hold me tight. We were made for each other.
9. If you insist on having that Thai takeout on Friday nights, any chance you could ask for "mild"?
8. Sorry about the whole not sleeping through the night thing. I'm doing the best I can. One day I promise you'll look back on this time fondly. Did you ever consider that maybe I just miss you, and this is the only time of day I can have you all to myself? Why do you think I flash you those big, gummy grins at 4am? Besides, this is excellent practice for when I'm a teenager and you will have to stay up all night worrying about me.
7. What's up with all the guilt? You feel guilty when you're working, guilty about not working when you're home, guilty about not spending enough time with me when you're playing with my brother, guilty about neglecting him when you're with me... it never ends, and we're not even Catholic! You are doing the best you can. And it's more than enough.
6. I don't need to hear about your "flabby belly" or your "jiggly thighs." I'm young and highly susceptible, and I'd much rather inherit your sense of humor than your body image issues. Everyone says I'm adorable, and clearly I didn't get all this cuteness from Dad (no offense). And don't forget, I came out of that belly which you have to admit makes it pretty darn amazing.
5. That last diaper was really gross. Better you than me on the changing end.
4. I appreciate everything you do for me. You'll probably never hear this come out of my mouth, because that's unfortunately kind of the way things go between kids and parents.
3. Where's your confidence when you need it, Mom? How is it you can stand in front of a camera and report live without batting an eye, grill politicians and police at press conferences, and yet certain words like "High School Reunion" make you break out in a cold sweat? You're not that geeky, awkward girl with the frizzy hair and bad glasses anymore. Look at what you've accomplished, myself included. Again, pretty amazing stuff.
2. I know that if you could, you would shield me from every future heartbreak, every ounce of pain and take them on yourself. Don't think I didn't see you crying when you packed away my "newborn" size clothes. I have to grow up, but the good news is I'll always be your baby girl.
1. Wheeeee! Look at meeeeee, I'm Super Baby! It's no fun to be so serious all the time, Mom. You taught me that. Oh, and I love you.