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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

How Can My Baby Be Turning 6?!

She's the baby of the family, and that makes it so much harder to limit the number of pictures I want to share. On the one hand, there aren't as many. Very few professional pics get taken of the fourth child in a family, even if the parents are pretty sure she's going to be the last one. And snapshots aren't even as common as they are for the first child, when there is utter dedication to documenting every new milestone, outing, facial expression. No, the last in the family doesn't get as much material tracking as the first, but somehow, by nature of being the baby, she holds a spot of excessive gushing from the heart of the parent nonetheless. So, I couldn't stop adding pictures of Jilly-Bean, who is turning six.

Hunting Island Lagoon. One of our favorite places. I have always firmly believed in putting a kid in a kayak at the earliest possible age. As soon as she can balance well enough not to topple out, and when she weighs at least a few ounces more than the oar, in she goes! Jill was a trooper. Of course she didn't kayak alone, but she looked nearly ready to do so, don't you think?

As she is only turning six now, I have to say that I'm not completely sure yet just who Jill is going to be. But one thing is for certain:
Jill is funny.
She is full of surprises.

Get ready for it. You know something's up!
And there you have it. SMOOCH! She's always up to something.
Here she is at her 5th birthday breakfast. Goofy girl. Always a clown.
And she's got style. This is one of her favorite outfits, all her own ensemble. Love the camo and combat boots, and the long jacket. She's never even seen Firefly! But she is her mother's daughter, and honestly, I'd still dress like this if I thought I could get away with it in polite society.

From a very young age, she just seemed to know what would make us laugh, and her big, big bright eyes and huge grin alone would have been enough.
Then there is also her joy and enthusiasm. She is so easily delighted. Everything warrants an excited squeal and full-on attention.
And she's the snuggliest of the four, even at this point when she's heading into elementary school. She always wants her Emma or a parent to hug and cuddle before bedtime, and she still creeps into my bedroom at night pretty frequently to climb into bed with me for awhile and snuggle in close (and it's not always related to a thunderstorm, though that's almost a guarantee). That's how she has earned and kept her other nickname, Snuggle-Puppy. (Sandra Boynton fans will understand.)
This year started her first outside-of-the-home preschool program. Here she is on the first day. I had her with me for Kindergarten at home four days a week, but a local preschool program helped in a number of ways by giving her an option for all those messy crafts that strike panic in the heart of a working mom, and let her get used to the idea of learning from someone else and working and playing with peers on a schedule not quite so determined by herself and the demands of the household and work. It was a good option for us, but my heart was divided on this day.
Back to being the comedienne, here she is at Old Navy with "her friend," one of the mannequins. Sometimes when Jill joins the crew and stands still enough, I promise you I have a little trouble determining which one is my living, breathing child. It's become a game for us.
That grin and those giant blue eyes certainly dig into something deeply maternal in me. We weren't sure we would have a fourth child. After losing several, including the one just before her, it was all a big question mark. But here she is, small and bright and blue-eyed and oh, so present and wanted. We would have been out of balance without her. I think I would have missed her always.
I love you, Jillian Beth Cochrane, Snuggle-Puppy, Jilly-Bean.
Now, don't you have a wardrobe to go explore somewhere?
Happy 6th birthday. You fill my heart.

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