I told you last week (or maybe three weeks ago…I’ve been so busy yacking to you, I’ve kind of lost track of time!)…that the “waking up” of Rebekah Sunday Gore was another story for another day…how about today? But first let me refresh your memory…
I seriously doubt that I will ever experience another baby like Rebekah. Her infancy was an unexpected gift of ease, relaxation and utter delight. I remember describing, with stars in my eyes, how wonderful her first six months had been to yet another senior adult friend at a Young at Heart outing to Cracker Barrel. “Oh…just wait,” she knowingly said. “At six months, she’s going to wake up!” I should start believing my senior adult friends right off the bat. A minute after she turned six months old, Rebekah did wake up! But that’s another story for another day…
So she turned 6 months old, and just like Miss Erma said, those sweet, sleepy eyes popped open wide and Rebekah woke up. As if when Miss Erma made that prediction at Cracker Barrel she had set some magical alarm clock inside Miss Sunday’s brain. (Hmmmm…maybe she did?)
The baby who previously spent her days alternating between sleep and song began…growling. And when I say “growl” I mean, deep, gutteral, difficult-to-imitate growling. The funny thing was that she didn’t just do it every once in awhile; rather, she completely replaced each and every one of those soft high-pitched coos and gurgles with the growl that earned her a new name from Papa: Beelzebaby.
Thankfully, Beelzebaby didn’t become a holy terror; granted, she began dragging herself all over the house with her right arm, as fast and as furious as you please as her little body picked up every single dustbunny and stray crumb on the ground, she started waking up more often at night, she no longer grew her teeth on the sly, and she might have bit me a few times, but really, it was the growling that concerned us the most.
Any initial concern we felt over these…noises…soon abated, as we grew accustomed to the monster-like communications of our baby girl. Seeing as how she made them until her 1st birthday!! I kid you not; Beelzebaby was with us for six long months.
But growling is only the first of her talents. We have been delighted to find that Miss Sunday is quite good at making most any noise, imitating whomever and whatever she hears, and doing so quite well. Her vocabulary has been slower to form than Gideon’s was; but then, she doesn’t really need one, for from a very young age she has been able to communicate exactly what she wants and, in return, seemed to easily understand every word we spoke to her. It might be my favorite thing about her…we’ve only been in a handful of “conversations” where she wound up frustrated that I didn’t understand her. With Gideon, those happened every day, even though he could talk!
Her uncanny understanding of how things work mystifies us ~ at a year old, she would pick up my Dad’s bird calls and begin rapidly blowing and sucking until she figured out which method made them honk and then it was “honk! honk! honk!” all over the house. The first time we put a straw in her mouth, she sipped from it, the first time we gave her a sippy cup, she tilted her head back and drank from it, and the first time she got her hands on Gideon’s harmonica, she played an impressive little ditty, feet tap-dancing like she’d been doing it for years. I am convinced if Mr. Gore and I ever fall on harder times, we could put her on a streetcorner with her harmonica and a cap and she’d make enough money to at least bring home some supper!
Her growling was surprising, her mimicking entertaining, her communication skills impressive…but her “squawk” is fascinating. Rebekah Sunday is easy like a Sunday morning, easy to get along with, easy to care for, easy to bathe, to feed, to put to bed, to wake up…but if you cross her path, you’re gonna get squawked at. I first noticed it on a trip to Wal-Mart, during a month where we noticed her voice was getting louder, and louder…and louder. Like Mr. Gore loud, reaching decibals that were beyond the human hearing comfort capacity. She was in my buggy, while Gideon shopped with his Grandmother, and as the place was nearly empty (for a Wal-Mart), I decided to have a little fun. At the beginning of an empty aisle, I would take off running, jump on the shopping cart and SOAR down the aisle. Rebekah’s giggles tinkled like sweet little bells as we flew past hundreds of bags of chips in seconds, but then, as we slowly came to a stop…she squawked. Like a very loud and very belligerent crow. As she is the queen of communicating, I knew exactly what she was saying: “More…NOW. ” I stared at her. Out came another squawk, this one meaning “Do it again NOW woman or I will come unglued!!!!!”
Her squawk is like the rapping of a schoolteacher’s ruler on the desk. Rap. Rap rap! It draws rooms full of people to attention, it quiets the murmurs of a restaurant, it gets Gideon off her back, and it apparently sets her Mama into motion. Down we flew down the next aisle. Sweet, soft giggles…SQUAWK! Down the next aisle we flew. Giggle giggle, girlish squeal…SQUAWK!!!” And the next, and the next and the next. I happened to bump into an old friend on the soup aisle, out of breath, forehead glistening, baby girl squawking like a bird in a cage. I’m sure she was so impressed by what the great and promising Lesley Jackson had become…
From that grocery trip on, I noticed that shopping with Rebekah was a horse of a different color than shopping with my son. As you know by now, Baby Gideon was always a bit of a hermit, keeping to himself, not caring for the attention of strangers. Miss Sunday, however, soon earned another new nickname, from me this time: The Belle of Wal-Mart. One day, she said “Hiiiii!” to each and every person we passed, as syrupy sweet as a debutante, and then preened as they stopped us to talk about how pretty she was, patting her hair, her dress, showing off her shoes… that was THE longest grocery trip of my life. I mean it when I say we talked to every person in the store! The next trip, she yelled “Dada!!” at every man we walked by. Every single one. I’ve always been one to kind of enjoy the spotlight, but this was too much. By the time we got out of there, I was positively blushing, avoiding eye contact, the works! Sheesh!
Miss Sunday is now a year-and-a-half old, and I find that when she is in the room with me, my eyes are always on her, not for fear that she might get into something, but because I am completely taken by her. She tends to our family so faithfully, truly concerned when the book Papa is reading is not next to him in his chair, or when my purse is not hanging in its place on the coat-rack. When I give her a cracker, she holds out her hand for another one, not for her, but for “Dee-an” (Gideon). She throws away her dirty diapers, unloads her dishes from the dishwasher and puts them in the correct drawer (on tiptoe), helps unpack the groceries and then wads the plastic sacks up into little balls and shoves them in the picnic basket where we keep them, and tends to every “baby” in the nursery (the nursery she herself is a member of), passing out toys, pacifiers and sippy cups whenever needed. And as she IS the Belle of Wal-Mart, she has taken it upon herself to keep even that place tidy, squawking at me until I pick up items that have fallen and returned them to their proper shelf. A good citizen she is, a good little mother and a good nursemaid.
I didn’t know how good until she was around 15 months old. Mr. Gore, Gideon and Rebekah were all sick with a stomach bug, but she had the worst of it, and fearing she might soon become dehydrated, I stayed awake with her, slowly and periodically giving her liquids, praying she could finally keep something down. However, well past bedtime, the same sickness came upon me quite suddenly, and I left her sitting there on the couch to go and toss some Mama-sized cookies in the little powder bathroom that adjoins our living room. There I was, retching (how do so many of these posts include vomit?…), when I felt a little presence beside me and then a small hand on my shoulder. Unblinkingly, Miss Sunday stood right by my side and watched as I emptied my stomach, gently patting me on the shoulder, her sick eyes keen, interested, and…knowing, somehow. I finished my unsavory task, and before I could even blink, she reached up and flushed the toilet before leading me, unshaken, back to our home on the couch. It was the first time I’ve been tended to by a child – a baby, no less! – and I know, with Rebekah around, it will not be the last.
She is still such a little thing with so much to learn and discover, a lifetime of growing and developing ahead, but what she has already contributed to our family is substantial, to say the least: she brings a new and different light to Papa’s eyes, a balm to Mama’s soul, and a boon companion to Gideon’s side, belly laughing at his antics and staring indifferently at his fits. She is no more perfect than the lot of us, her heart just as in need of a Savior, but it is glaringly obvious to me that God knew we needed her, and crafted her just for us. A gift she is, wrapped in a pink bow, a fistful of dirt in one hand and a baby doll in the other…
Yes indeed, our sweet and sleepy Miss Sunday most certainly woke up. And now that I think about it, she’s even dreamier awake than she was asleep.