Today is Chicklet’s birthday. At 1:15 p.m., MDT, my youngest will be five years old. As all parents at such a milestone, I cannot believe she has grown so fast, and I wonder where the time went.

Chicklet--1 day old on the way home from the hospital.

Chicklet--1 day old on the way home from the hospital.

Actually, I do not wonder a lot. Chicklet is our “storm cloud,” and much of the time with her has drug by like it would never end.  (Not all of the time; we’ll get to that.) She entered the world at the end of a horrible pregnancy. I was sick for the last seven months of the pregnancy. Not “morning sickness;” I actually did not have much of that at all compared to what I had with her sister. But just sickness. Three or four stomach flus, three full-blown sinus infections, the “bad flu” for which we normally get flu shots, laryngitis for six weeks, bronchitis for several months… you get the picture. I spent a good portion of those seven months resting/sleeping on the sofa. Thank goodness her older sister was a good and patient type. I let her watch Sesame Street every morning while I did the minimal cleaning (NO cooking), and the rest of the day I slept when she slept and let her watch HGTV when she was not sleeping.  Chicklet sucked the very life out of me during those seven months. I had nothing left to give me strenth, and in the end, I did not have enough strength for her.

She arrived easily enough. Her sister did not arrive easily at all, but apparently cleared a nice path for  Chicklet.  With Chicklet, from when my water broke until delivery was less than eight hours.  When we got to the hospital without even checking me, they forced me to walk. Reader, my contractions were 2-1/2 minutes apart (or less), and I could not walk during them. These people would not believe I was in serious labor. (Kind of like they would not believe I was sick the seven previous months.) I walked for an hour and demanded they check me. Suddenly they found me a room, because funny thing, my progression was much further than they thought it would be. (I am mulling around a post on medical care given to people with high pain tolerance and lack of whining personalities.)

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Immediately upon entering the room, I got the blessed epidural. (Don’t judge me. In both deliveries, I was having a miserable time before it, and an enjoyable time afterwards. And in both instances I walked just fine without assistance within thirty minutes of birth. If you do not choose this route, that is fine with me. But for me, it was heaven.) The nurse in my room checked me and begged me not to push. (Not a problem with an epidural.) When everyone was present (nurse, midwife and midwife-in-training), I was allowed to push. It only took three, and Chicklet arrived.

Chicklet had a rough start. Though I will never be able to prove it, I believe a lot of it had to do with how sick I had been. She took all my energy, but there was not enough left for either of us at that point.  She began life unhappy and stayed that way for a good year. Yes, we had smiles, but she had a lot of problems. She was only 6-1/2 pounds (just under 3 kilos) and lost a full pound the first day. She would not get back to her birth weight until she was more than 4 months old. (Chic returned to her birth weight before she was two weeks old.) At four months I was in the emergency room at 2 a.m. because Chicklet was having febrile convulsions due to a urinary tract infection.

chickletmarShe had very bad reflux (must be a family trait) until she was seven months old. She was slow and dull and miserable. So were we!

She did perk up a little after her first birthday, but until she was three, she really was not much fun most of the time. She did not walk until 17-1/2 months and did not talk until 2-1/2 years. (At which point she started speaking in full paragraphs, clearly, and has not shut up since.)

She is still small for her age, but not off-the-charts small. Her personality has been developing into a fun, bright and charming little girl. (It is difficult to remember that she was “slow” and “dull.”)

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So here’s to Chicklet, who is five today, and here are some of the reasons I love her:

-She is funny. Her laugh is the best laugh around. When Chicklet laughs, everyone laughs just because it is clear she is enjoying herself  so much. And she laughs a lot.

-She is our “snuggle bunny.” She loves to cuddle and snuggle and be held, and her small size makes her still babylike when we hold her.

-She is generous and loves to share. Just this week we were on a field trip with Chic’s class. Due to a long chain of events, I had to run and buy “Lunchables” for us (our lunches were at home). My girls never get “Lunchables,” and Chicklet was SO excited. But a boy there did not have a lunch (due to another long series of events.) I asked Chicklet if she would share some of her chips with him. She threw him the entire container without a thought.   She is always like this.

-She is nurturing. If anyone gets hurt or feels bad, she is the one who is there comforting him/her.

-She is helpful. She is home with me all the time, and she loves to help cook, clean, whatever I am doing. She does it cheerfully and without being asked.

-She is thoughtful. She begs to do crafts all the time just so she can give them away. She thinks it will make someone happy to receive her handiwork. She is usually right.

-She does not hold grudges. When things do not go her way, she is very, VERY unhappy. But she gets past it, moves on and is cheerful again–all in a few minutes.

Chicklet is not a perfect child. What child is? And she is so much more of a challenge to parents and guides than is her sister. But her personality shines like few others, and for all her trials (she still throws complete tantrums when life doesn’t go her way or she’s overly tired which is a LOT of the time), she is a sparkling jewel in our lives.

(And Happy Earth Day. I will never forget the date of Earth  Day because when I was walking, and walking, and walking around the hospital, there were Earth Day posters, made by local children, all over the place!)

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