It's been so long since I updated the blog that the entire blogger interface has changed. Blame it on what I think is post-partum or the side effects from Zoloft (to treat the post-partum), or the fact that I have a baby whose face I could stare at from sun up to sun down and never ever get bored. Blame it on one or all of those things. Anyway, here I am.
Every night after Clementine has had a bath and is safely snuggled in her jammies, cuddling with her pal "hippo" and laying in my lap sucking feverishly on her bottle I turn off the lights, listen to her suck and swallow and suck and swallow and I say a prayer. A few things dominate the prayer every night. 1) how insanely grateful I am to have her; healthy, happy, dorky perfect little Clementine Imogen Conger. 2) that she always knows without a doubt that she is loved by me, Nate, God and Jesus. 3) that she will grow to be confident, brave, happy, kind, forgiving, strong, and gracious. There also might be something in there about "please sleep through the night" but I can't be certain.
Dr. Phil says the biggest influence on a child's life is the same gender parent. Um, folks, that's me. I'm carrying that yoke. Me. The self deprecating, overly anxious, slightly lazy, incredibly insecure girl over in the corner wishing she was home wearing sweats and eating Nutella with a spoon.
I've gotta pull myself together. I've got to become graceful and brave and kind to myself and others. I've gotta mellow out and stop obsessing over being perfect. My neurosis is the absolute last thing I wanna pass on to my daughter.
The amazing and very unexpected twist in this story is that Clementine is probably the biggest influence in my life right now, too. The little girl that poops in her pants and would eat a dead mouse if she found one on the floor. She is so mellow and comfortable in her own skin. Things make her happy. I make her happy. She is unabashedly social and has this gift for drawing people out and making them smile. She is healthy. She's not perfect. She encourages me to act foolish and talk to strangers and take her to the zoo even when I'm feeling particularly fat that day. It turns out, elephants don't give a damn how much you weigh.
And then I started wondering if Clementine is saying her own little prayer at night while I rock her to sleep. A prayer for me. A prayer about how she is so grateful to have me, here, healthy, to take care of her and make her laugh and teach her how to be authentically dorky. Maybe she is praying that I'll know I'm loved by her, my parents and Nate and Heavenly Father and Jesus, too. And I like to think she is also praying that I'll grow up to be confident, brave, happy, kind, forgiving, strong, and gracious. Also, I'm pretty sure there is something in her prayer about when she wakes up at 2am that I'll hear her and come rock her back to sleep because she really just want to know that I'm still there even when it's dark.
Clementine is now 13-months old. She knows lots of words and animal sounds. Her favorite books are I Want My Hat Back and Barnyard Dance. She started crawling shortly after her first birthday and loves climbing stairs. She also (pictured above) prefers to cut her teeth on large pieces of dirty bark selected from the flowerbed where cats have peed and birds have undoubtedly died. I tell myself it will just put hair on her chest. I love her.