Last year, Bunny's 5th grade class did a unit on "Puberty." Everybody hated it, and nobody was willing to come home and talk about it, except when they had to. One of the times they had to was when they were forced--forced! I tell you--to come up with photos of themselves as babies, as 4 year olds, and then currently. This exercise served the important pedagogical purpose of showing that even before puberty, life was about growth and change, and so puberty shouldn't be too scary.
This is the picture we found of the Bunny at her second Christmas. At this point, she must have been almost 16 months old. We are decorating for Christmas, and she has decided to grab the trimming and decorate herself.
I love this picture. I flat out adore this picture. This is my sweet little sugar bowl of a baby. How can you not want to just scoop her up and smooch those sweet baby cheeks? How can you not want to just push your nose into her neck and drink in the smell of that sweet baby flesh?
Look closer. What big blue eyes you have, my dear! All the better to get my way with, Mama.
What long eyelashes you have my dear! All the better to break boys' hearts when I get older, Mama.
What smoochable cheeks you have, my dear!
When we found this photo, I could hardly stand it. The years when she was this little were such hard ones for me. I was hurting all the damn time, and I really had almost no ability to see past the pain. This sweet little toddler lived in my house, let me snuggle her to sleep, was bright and happy and good, and I couldn't appreciate how wonderful she was at the time.
I could appreciate that she wasn't more than I could handle, but that completely failed to do her justice. Now I look at this picture, and I see what I missed, and that it is gone.
Except, the other night, Bunny happened to be standing in front of me, and I saw her in a sort of rear three-quarters view. From right behind her left ear, I could see down the line of her cheek, along the corner of her eye, and there it was! That smoochable cheek of her babyhood!
Of course, it is much harder to catch a 6th grader in a snuggly and smoochable mood. But it can be done! Especially early in the morning, when the alarm is not enough to wake her up. Then I can snuggle and smooch her as much as I want. Until she wakes up.
Still. It's nice to be able to appreciate it now, even if I couldn't then. Life is getting better.