“Daddy, I lufs you so much!” Not a day goes by that my daughter, Nina, doesn’t say these words to me. Sometimes she says them with a grin, a scrunched up nose and a pair of tightly closed eyes. Other times, she says them with her eyes wide open and pouty lips, expressing to me the sincerity of her words. No matter the facial delivery, the words always create the same reaction from me – total joy!
My little girl is growing up. She demands independence, from getting her own cup of water to taking a shower by herself. She always is saying, “I do it myself!”
Her energy is boundless. She’ll jump up and down on her mattress non-stop, always smiling, often requiring that I acknowledge her abilities. She dances with her shadow and swims underwater in a pool, usually coming up, gasping for air. My Nina is definitely a sensory-seeking girl!
Although she idolizes her big brother, Luke, and oftentimes mimics his behavior, she definitely has her own personality. Unlike him, she isn’t into videos and won’t sit still for hours demanding that Daddy, “read!” She doesn’t know the names of all the dinosaurs and couldn’t care less about learning them.
And, unlike Luke, she definitely requires a nap. When Nina exceeds her fatigue threshold, the whole household trembles. Hell hath no fury like a Nina sleep deprived. She becomes belligerent and, at times, downright mean. She’ll instigate her brother into lashing out and she’ll spill food items on the kitchen floor, all with a sinister laugh trailing behind her as she runs away. In her defiance, she becomes illogical. For example, one day she hurt her hand and was crying. When I asked to see her hand, she said, “No! I won’t let you!” Okay.
But, no matter what, she is my beautiful, little girl. A little girl that one day will grow up to be a woman. And, that woman will marry and have children of her own. But she will always remain, in my eyes, as the little child who greeted me at the door with a big hug and a “Daddy, I lufs you so much!”