Breaking my heart, shaking my confidence daily

When we choose our daughter’s name, eons before even discussing the idea of getting pregnant, my husband, Jim, and I did not take into consideration that Simon and Garfunkel may have been speaking from first-hand experience when they harmonized about their troubles with Cecilia. Is it really just all in the name; if I changed my daughter’s name next week, would she stop shaking my confidence? Could we change her entire personality? Probably not; probably wouldn’t want to.

Cecilia was given her name because of that beautiful song; I love being correlating music to people. And while the message delivered by S&G isn’t quite… wholesome, it is beautiful none-the-less. (side note: I had a doctor in a hospital ask me if I knew what that song was about when we named her; I said yes, we named our daughter after a “hussy”, otherwise known as a woman who wasn’t afraid to explore her options; he may have been a little disgusted by us) We knew her name before she came, we knew her name before we knew that we would be applying female pro-nouns to our parasite (aka fetus). Very little could have changed our minds about what we would call our daughter.

Mother (me) holding a newly delivered baby to chest, father's hand on the head of baby. Baby's hand on mother's lips. Blue curtain over mother's torso.

Before we knew we were calling our fetus our daughter, we were keeping the sex a secret until we all found out together. So I was off to our midwife to pick up the envelope with either male or female genitalia written on a little note, and while I still had weeks to find out, I was listening to the radio, and right before I went inside to get that envelope, the song “Cecilia” by Brett Kissel came on, and that’s how I knew my parasite was Cecilia. She, from the very beginning, like from the moment I could feel her little flutter inside of me, she has not stopped moving. We didn’t get to actually hear her heartbeat until after the 6 month point because she wouldn’t sit still. She always has had something to do or somewhere to go. We got to see her heartbeat on ultrasounds, but the doppler could not pick up more than Cecilia splashing around in the amniotic fluid. When we were induced (I have one hell of a birth story, maybe I’ll tell you about it later, but it will definitely include a content warning) Cecilia got so excited she did a flip without any of us knowing, and tried to come out breech, and when she was finally pulled from my body, there was no cry, just the doctor struggling to hold onto her wriggling body. The first time, probably, that she was still was when she was laid on my chest, looked at me, and put her hand to my mouth. Then she started wiggling again, and hasn’t stopped.

Baby, about 7 months old, kneeling on top of an empty huggies diaper box, arms supporting her against a wall.
Kid couldn’t even walk, but damn she could climb

My daughter is a ball of energy and chaos, and if I’m referring to an unnamed force of nature, it’s usually her. Cecilia, while being full of energy, is starting to develop into a proper little human now that she’s a year and a half, and it’s so interesting to see her personality peeking out. When she first met a dog (her first animal really because cats have no interest in being around) she was 7 months old, nearly walking, and infatuated. This dog belonged to her aunt and uncle and immediately we started trying to devise safe ways for her to interact with more dogs. She has since shown a love and interest in all animals, being careful to be gentle with them and observe them more so then touch them. She now makes all sorts of animal sounds and is thrilled when she sees a dog walking by; I’ve been trying to convince Jim that Cecilia needs an animal friend, but he’s firmly on the “you get a cat or you get another kid, you can’t have both” train. We’ll get there.

Cecilia, about 15 months old, standing/crouching inside a giant silver spaghetti sauce pot

Along with her admiration of animals, Cecilia is proving to be a helpful soul; she loves to participate in cleaning, stealing my broom when she can and always trying to empty the dishwasher. Unless we’re unloading (with her help, of course) the dishwasher cannot be open, unless we want the dirty dishes delivered to us. She also helps with unpacking groceries and bags, pushing around wheelbarrows, picking fresh fruits (and even delivering them to the basket) and helping when she can with kitchen duties (she is excellent at working the motar and pestle). She is also extremely thoughtful and kind. She likes to share her yummiest snacks and drinks with us and her stuffed animals, and carries her favourite animal of the day around with her, making sure they get all the attention that she does. In the time when we can interact with friends, she treats her younger best friend (aka my best friend’s kid) as a curiosity who’s feet she can tickle. She’s developing into exactly the kind of human I know I can be proud of.

17 month old, dressed in a colourful pink and purple poncho, "cowboy" boots, and her father's oversized brimmed hat attempting to move a regular sized black wheelbarrow full of leaves

And as for her energy, well, I guess I have no one to blame but myself for that. I have mentioned that I can’t sit still; yes? She keeps me on my toes and there’s no question that daily I’m asking if I’m doing right by her and am I providing what I can to keep her happy and content; it’s hard to be confident when you have to worry about raising such a lively and thoughtful little one.

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