Six years ago today, after six weeks of bed rest ("Make sure you stay on your left side, please!"), what seemed like countless shots of terbutaline (actually I think it was six), several bags of magnesium to stop labor, a heart medication to prevent contractions and a combined total of two weeks in the hospital, the most amazing, stubborn, beautiful, funny, wicked, smart, confounding and astonishing little person was born—six weeks early. My Charlotte, one of the strongest kids I've ever met.
She refused to stay in the womb. Born weighing three pounds, 11 ounces, she spent two weeks in the NICU to get her weight up to four pounds, but didn't need any other intervention. It took almost three months to get her to eight pounds, two years before she could walk and three years before she could talk. She had almost 200 signs at one point, but once she discovered the joy of the spoken word, she ditched the signing. Of course, the joy of the spoken word soon gave way to the absolute bliss she seems to find in shrieking, but that's another post. Or 20.
She has endured visits to neurologists, ophthalmologists, audiologists, orthopedists, physical therapists, occupational therapists and speech therapists. She's had several EEGs and two MRIs. She takes medication twice a day, every day to prevent seizures. She has a high pain tolerance, once walking through a rose bush bare foot, in shorts, only really noticing a problem when she began to bleed. And when she cut her head two years ago, she didn't cry while they put in the four stitches it took to close the gash. In stark contrast to Hannah, Charlotte has never cried while getting shots. (Hannah once told me that it was because she cried enough for the both of them :)
When she's not yelling—which really isn't all of the time, though it may sometimes seem that way—Charlotte is a delightful, hysterically funny little kid. She can be shy, but once she knows you, she will do anything to make you laugh. For her, a day without dancing and singing might just be wasted time. She adores her friends, especially her BFF, Sofie. She loves kindergarten and Mrs. Baldini and Mr Danny G. She never met an animal she didn't want to hug (even though cats make her sneeze), a rule she didn't want to break, or a last, frayed nerve that she didn't want to swing from.
She is exasperating and charming and exhausting and exhilarating and I adore her. I can't wait to see her grown up, but I am afraid time will go too fast and I'll miss all the in-between parts. So thank god (or, in this case, Steve Jobs) for video so I get to capture—and share—at least some of her.
Happy Birthday, sweet girl!