Sunday, February 10, 2008

365 Days of Grace

If you've been following our blog for more than ten seconds, it should come as no surprise that Grace is photogenic. We can only assume that this trait is a result of genetic mutation, as clearly she did not get it from either one of her parents.

So it's pretty much self evident that the kid is cute. But what you can't tell from photos is that even when the camera's not pointed at her, Grace is just the same little cherub. And in person, cute doesn't really seem to cut it.

I'm not sure if it's the eyes, the smile, or her shimmering bald head, but Grace is always stopping strangers. Even when they don't say anything to me, I often hear people comment to each other, "Did you see that baby?" Most of the time, though, they do stop, and become even more enamored when they discover how eager Grace is to make their acquaintance.

When we went to Hawaii a few months ago, Grace went with us, and was a big hit with tourists and locals alike. More than once she was called an Aloha Baby, and after being there a few days and getting a feel for what aloha really means, I realized that is the perfect description. When Grace smiles, she's not just saying "hello," or "I see you have a camera there, sir, and I would like to pose for you." It's more like, "Oh! What a delight! A person! I love you! Let's be friends!"

Could YOU turn down an offer like that?

I didn't think so.

She even wins over grumpy travelers. Our flight from the islands back to the mainland was very crowded, and we ended up in the back of the plane next to an older gentleman who was traveling alone. As he stowed his bag and moved toward his seat, I saw a look of horror cross his face when he noticed Grace. I can't blame him, really; it was a six hour flight, and I was a little worried myself. But Grace was angelic. She slept and played quietly in my lap, never once crossing the invisible wall to my right, beyond which sat Mr. Grumpypants. When we finally landed, Grumpypants uttered the only words I heard from him the whole flight: "Good baby." Then he half smiled, grabbed his briefcase and headed down the aisle.

So strangers are smitten with Grace. But once you know her, you're in love. The best part is it's totally mutual. Whether you call it love, or aloha, or even grace, our Grace is eager to share it.

It's been that way since she was born. When she was a couple months old, I told my journal: "Our Grace is as soft and cuddly as can be. She'll curl up in your arms and relax against your chest and before you know it you're both in a pastel dreamland. It's amazing. "

It's still true. There's nothing Grace loves more than a good cuddle. She'll hug you just to thank you for picking her up. Then she'll pat you on the back and hug you again. I've never known a baby so affectionate.

Now, before I start sounding smug, let me acknowledge that I can't take any credit for this premium baby. I'm pretty sure I've made every mistake in the book. For example, all my cuddling her to sleep reinforced some lousy sleeping habits. It turns out the cuddling isn't nearly as endearing at 4:00 AM. And bringing her back to bed with me wasn't such a great idea either because, truth be told, she is a bit of a bed hog. So we've been struggling with the sleeping thing for months, and I'd almost decided it was time to give up an buy a bigger bed.

And then, she did it! On the eve of her first birthday, Coach put her to bed in her crib, and after a (moderate) bout of sobbing and screaming, she snuggled into her blankets and slept the rest of the night. I know it's ridiculous to be as proud of her as I am right now. Having a one-year-old who sleeps the night in her crib is no feat for the record books. But I just love her little guts for doing it, even though it was hard. And you know what the best part was? She was still happy to see me in the morning.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised at her resiliance. For Grace, a frown is just a smile waiting to be turned right side up.

(Elapsed time: thirty seconds)

I love you, sweet Gracie-Ku. Happy Birthday.


Amber said...

What a cute little sweet heart! Congrats on the sleeping bit. I certainly know how that feels, although my 22 month old still hasn't kicked the habit of sleeping in 'Mommy's bed'.

Happy Birthday Grace!

Mrs. Donut said...

Happy Birthday, Grace!
I sure wish I could meet you. I wish I could be one of those people that you cuddle just to say thanks for picking you up! The more I see and hear about you, the more I think about how you and Aaron would really get along. Will you talk to your mom and dad about us all getting together sometime soon? I'd sure love one of your special hugs. You are a beautiful little girl, Grace!

Ree said...

Proud parents are understandably biased. And Blogger Boss is occasionally prone to exaggeration. But this post about Grace is 100% verifiably true. Obviously the girl is cute in photos. But meet her in person, and her eyes light up at your first hello. She'll give you a hug, and you can feel your heart melt into your shoes. I want to clone that baby. Happy Birthday Gracie!

Peanut said...

Happy Birthday Sweet Gracie-Ku! I love you!

Woodine said...

What an absolutely beautiful baby! Happy Birthday!


It's true, you can't help but melt when she hugs and cuddles you even though you just met!

Boss said...

I love that the people I love love Grace. Thanks ya'll!

Oh yeah, Ree, I'm totally offended that you'd insinuate that I exaggerate any less in real life than I do on-blog.

Johnny and Angela said...

What a wonderful tribute to your sweet princess!!! I totally agree with all of your comments. She is so sweet, pleasant, and photogenic. We are glad we get to be in her presence every once in a while.