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    The Littlest Sprite

    July 12, 2008 by Brandy Vencel

    When I think about how things will be changing in the next two months, I think about how the most drastic change will be happening to Baby Q. We’ll live in a new place, she and A. will have a new room, we will have new neighbors, and all of that. And then there is the fact that Q. will no longer be the family’s baby.

    That will be O.’s place come late August.

    The birth of Baby Q. was interesting to me. When E. was born, he was my baby. When A. was born, she was my baby. But Q. felt like she belonged to the whole family. Even now, she is everyone’s baby. She is community property, and there are sometimes arguments over her.

    Raising Baby Q. is also a little bit like getting a second shot at raising E. They are similar in a number of ways, not the least of which is physical agility. I learned early on to teach them to climb safely {and instruct them where they might and might not climb} rather than telling them not to climb at all. Both Q. and E. were born with uncanny balancing abilities. This means that Q. is a pint-sized daredevil. She is the tiniest little toddler and she looks so delicate, and yet she’ll climb up on my rocking ottoman, stand up tall, and rock it back and forth with her legs, arms out to her sides, simulating surfing.

    That really scared us the first few times it happened.

    Or how about standing on the arm of the toddler-sized rocking chair so as to look out the window? That one is scary, too.

    She and E. also have in common two other qualities: an enjoyment of hard work, and a relish for playing alone.

    Q. already does laundry. While A. has had to be pushed to begin doing chores of any kind, Q. has been known to attempt chores that are well outside her abilities. We try desperately to find things for her to do. This past week E. taught her to bring the clean silverware to where he was standing to put it away. This actually slowed down the process of putting things away as we had to wait for her to toddle back and forth, but she was absolutely beaming.

    Q. likes to find a quiet place alone. She often hides behind a table or under a crib and does her thing. She plays with her dolls or E.’s trucks or flips through a book. I think she is possibly an introvert, which might be why she is exhausted after church, but energetic after naps.

    However, Q.’s and E.’s personalities diverge at one point: cheerfulness. Q. is mostly happy and content. She doesn’t let much bother her. She doesn’t seem to worry about anything. She only cries when something is seriously wrong.

    But perhaps the quirkiest thing about Q. is her impish tendencies. She has a twinkle in her eye that lets me know when she’s about to do something she shouldn’t. She laughingly walks up to me and asks, “Bye bye?” And she waves to me. I don’t know why she invented such a scheme, but this version of bye bye is asking permission to do something naughty. If I am distracted and say goodbye in return, she takes it as me giving her my leave. And she runs to do what she ought not to do.

    And I mean runs. She has learned that her opportunities are short-lived.

    I have told Si many times that it is unfortunate that this daughter’s theme verse is from Proverbs 9 instead of Proverbs 31. We had such high hopes before she was born. The verse is this:

    “Stolen water is sweet;
    food eaten in secret is delicious!”

    Proverbs 9:17

    You see, Q. is convinced that the food and drink belonging to her siblings is vastly superior to whatever it is that we have given her. A. is her usual victim because she too scatter-brained to keep proper track of her property. Two examples should suffice. The first is in regard to water. Q. loves, more than anything, to steal A.’s sippy cup. She will sneak up and grab it at any open opportunity, tuck it into her armpit like a football, and run away as fast as she can.

    Stolen water is sweet…

    The second example deals with food. Every evening the children get a final snack. It is usually a simple small bowl of fruit. If A. turns her back for even a second, Q. will stuff her mouth as quickly as she can with whatever is in A.’s bowl. This usually results in Q. looking like a chipmunk for the next ten minutes, and A. howling about how Q. stole her food when she wasn’t watching.

    Food eaten in secret is delicious…

    It really is unfortunate that she is displaying such serious character flaws at such a young age.

    So here she is, our intelligent, impish child who is so tiny that I constantly have to remind myself that she isn’t a baby anymore. As I always do, I grieve for her as I approach the end of my pregnancy. She has no idea what is coming or that our family will be changing or that she will no longer be the littlest.

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