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How Do I Love My Baby? Let Me Count the Ways (or 8 of Them)

Mother and daughter

Have you ever seen such chubby and delicious little fingers?

I’ve been so over Valentine’s Day for seemingly ever. My then-boyfriend now-husband met my parents for the first time on Valentine’s Day after we’d be dating for all of about 10 days. That was the best Valentine’s Day ever and since then no red rose or stuffed bear bearing candy is necessary on Feb. 14. I’m good.

However. Last night, after both of our daughters were asleep, my husband and I were sitting on the couch and giggling about how our 3-year-old Petunia had somehow managed to sweetly include our 5-month-old Peony in a game of hide-and-go-seek earlier in the evening. And all of a sudden I had an urge to really celebrate Valentine’s Day this year.

My heart is bursting with love for my little girls, and my husband. This morning I cuddled in bed with Peony, happier than I’ve been in weeks (probably — OK, definitely — because it was the second night in a row that she’d slept from 8:30 p.m. until 6:00 a.m.) We posed for a few pictures together as I made mental notes of a few of the ways she tickles my toes right on up to my nose.

I’m now counting the minutes until we can celebrate her first Valentine’s Day ever, and my first one in a while. I’ve also counted the reasons I have to celebrate extra hard this year:


  • Did I mention shes gone two nights in a row sleeping 10+ straight hours? 1 of 8
    Did I mention shes gone two nights in a row sleeping 10+ straight hours?
    What's not to love about that?
  • Cuddles and more cuddles 2 of 8
    Cuddles and more cuddles
    She wakes up in the morning, nurses, and then falls back asleep in my arms. She would happily stay there forever. And I'll happily keep her there forever. It's totally win-win.
  • Her rolls have rolls 3 of 8
    Her rolls have rolls
    Is there anything more precious than baby fat? She's so chubby her chub has chub. It's solid chub, too. Her legs are like tree trunks — sturdy, predictable and glorious. I know she'll lose it one day, but for now I just enjoy running my fingers over all the lines of chunk on her little body.
  • Chill baby chill 4 of 8
    Chill baby chill
    From the moment she was plucked from my womb she has been the most chill baby, like, ever. She goes with the flow — thank goodness, since her big sister has a busy schedule that she necessarily has to bear witness to. I don't always feel great about schlepping her from hither and yonder, but even when I have to wake her up to do it, she barely bats an eyelash.
  • Speaking of eyelashes . . . 5 of 8
    Speaking of eyelashes . . .
    . . . . . . hers are so long and exquisite they nearly touch her eyebrows. It tickles me just to see the long lashes brush up against her brow bone.
  • Laughter is the new black 6 of 8
    Laughter is the new black
    She's all about the laughter these days. Make a funny face or kiss her belly and her fits of laughter are endless. Serious, serious joy all around.
  • The eyes have it 7 of 8
    The eyes have it
    Even when my back is to her, I can still feel her eyes on me. I get a little thrill knowing that she knows who I am, and that our time together (pretty much 24/7 since the day she was born) is starting to bear some extra sweet fruit.
  • This is it 8 of 8
    This is it
    Peony is my very last baby. I haven't lost sight of the fact that once she gets bigger, I won't get regular early morning cuddles in bed with another baby until I have grandbabies, and that's a long way off. So I'm doing my best to savor every single moment. There's no such thing as too many kisses, too many tuckles (my mom's word for cuddling). Get it while it's hot (or warm and snuggly), after all.
    A happy Valentine's Day, indeed.

Images: Meredith Carroll

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