One of the things I hear the most about Vivian is, “she’s so serious“.
Why, yes. Yes, she is.
Listen, we all know every baby is different, but on some level, it seems most people expect one prototype: the giggly, drooling baby who smiles at strangers and beats a spoon on the floor. Not that there’s anything wrong with that baby – I love that baby too! I just don’t have that particular baby, but the baby I do have is pretty darn special.
From day one Vivian has been a very smart and ladylike gal. She’s incredibly observant; even in the delivery room on her birth day, Vivi watched all the action quietly and with wide eyes. She tends to “eyeball” things – watching, learning, listening – before reacting.
For example, when we recently took a stroll to visit our neighborhood duck pond for the first time, the uninitiated might have thought Vivian was unimpressed. She simply leaned forward in her stroller and stared – not a sound, not an expression on her face. At home a little while later I pulled out her stuffed duck and “quacked” at her; she burst into giggles and hugged the little duck to her chest. She clearly remembered, and in her “safe place” at home, she felt comfortable enough to be silly.
That’s the thing about Vivian; even at 9.5 months, she’s analytical. If she’s not sure about something, if she’s nervous or overwhelmed in a new situation, she tends to keep a straight face and take it all in. It doesn’t mean that she’s not a happy baby, but she certainly isn’t the little one who grins at strangers at the grocery store. It takes some time for Vivian to warm up and feel comfortable.
She’s an old soul, my kiddo. I mean, how many babies do you know that look up at their mommy for the okay before touching something new? Cautious could be Vivian’s middle name. I smiled as I watched her learning to pull up this week. She does this sort of tripod stance, carefully ensuring that she can get down from her pull-up. Vivi did an army crawl/belly flop for months, even though I felt sure she could easily hands-and-knees crawl based on how well she could rock with her belly high off the ground. Then one day, she just started hands-and-knees crawling, like she always knew how. On some level, I think she was just waiting, gathering her courage, and taking the plunge when she felt sure she’d succeed.
In short, she’s a type A, Little Adria clone. Imagine me, many moons ago, watching my little sister glide across the monkey bars at the park while I stood by wearily, shaking my head. Cautious could have been my middle name too.
Because I’m type A, I worry – surprise surprise – that she’ll be a perfectionist like me. I guess there are worse things in the world, but I want her to feel the release that I don’t often feel – the freedom to let go and dive in without looking first. I probably overindex on trying to balance out “the serious”. I sing a lot of silly songs these days; for some reason, I find that the tune to La Cucaracha lends itself to so many lyrical combinations. I tickle her (yes, there’s a creature called The Tickle Monster involved), and I blow raspberries on her tummy. I encourage her to get applesauce on her hands and smear it on the high chair.
The thing is, Vivian is Vivian. She’s her own little person already, and I don’t want to change her. She’s a joyful, sweet, cuddly baby; she’s my smart, observant, and yes – serious – little treasure. In my eyes, she’ll always be perfect – whether she grows into an adventurous little crusader or a serious little lady – or maybe some delightful combination of both.