Before we ever became parents, Matthew and I swore that we would treat all of our kids equally. We are both the Eldest Child and have both reveled in and revolted against what that position in the birth order meant. We are the Responsible Ones; the ones who take care of others, who pay our own way, who did it mostly on our own. While we love the praise for being so independently successful, part of us wishes that we had a break from the role we seem to find ourselves in. We could very well be the way we are regardless of birth order. Either way, sometimes being so grown up and responsible all the time is a little wearisome. Sometimes we envy the position of the Baby.

This is in no way a swipe at the Babies of the families. It’s just kind of the way that the world works. The older kids pave the way and the baby seems to have it a little easier. At least it seems that way in the eyes of the Eldest.

Being the ever-optimistic (and delusional) people that we are, Honey and I vowed that things would be different when we had kids of our own. Our kids would be treated the same, regardless of their birth order. They would also be loved equally, though differently. This has worked out, for the most part.

But there is this kid.


She is my last child, my only girl, my baby. There’s something about who she is and where she is in our family that makes my heart lurch a little more than it usually does.

Throughout the day she will bounce up and down and flap her arms at different things that she deems exciting. Graham used to do the exact same thing. Used to. I can’t remember the last time he did it and that realization made me do that whole teary-eyed, heart-clench thing. Verklempt, I believe it is called. It was such a huge part of who he was as a small child and now it’s gone. GONE. I have no idea when it left.

I find myself reveling in Emily and her arm flapping because that means that she is still a “baby” and because it reminds me of when Graham used to do the same and and because I don’t know when he stopped doing it and because I’m not quite ready for my babies to grow up quite yet.


I feel like I might focus on her a little harder than I do on the other two. She is the last one to make the trek from baby to child and that means that each and every milestone she achieves is the last one I will will witness. The thing that pierces me the most is that I do not know when the last time for something will be. There are two kids before her who have stopped doing things that they used to do and I cannot remember when the last time they did it was. I just find myself reminiscing about how they used to do or say “that” and am blindsided by the realization that they don’t do it anymore. When did it stop? And why couldn’t I have known it was the last time so that I could have soaked in the moment a little more than I usually do?

For that very reason I find myself appreciating her not-quite-perfectly-clear speech, her arm flapping and her affinity for her thumb in a different way. These are the last little pieces of babydom that I still get to witness and I want to make sure I linger with them as much as I can before they are gone forever. Before I know it the day will come where I realize that she no longer has the pre-schooler lisp, that her arms no longer flap, that her thumb hasn’t found its way into her mouth since I don’t know when.

It appears that I have a soft spot for my baby that differs from the soft spots I have from her brothers.


I sat down to write a post about Emily’s first day at ballet class and that there segment above is what came out. I love/hate it when that happens.

So, yeah. My baby girl had her first ballet class on Saturday.

Sitting with the other dancers, waiting for her name to be called for attendance:


Hands up:

Hands Up

With her good friend (and also, preschool classmate) Avelyn.

Emily and Avelyn

Emily and Avelyn

Running around like “bumblebees.”


Waiting for everyone else to get their flowers:


Running on their “tippy-toes”:




The cuteness quotient darn near killed me.

(More ballet photos can be found on Flickr.)

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  1. Hannah September 21, 2009 3:20 am edit

    So, SO cute.
    I can relate to those feelings; I have also had realisations that my boys no longer do/say things that they used to do/say, and I can’t remember when they stopped. For me, that’s why blogging is SO great. We have all these stories and things documented – what a great gift!

  2. Maria September 21, 2009 7:10 am edit

    I only have two and I have that same differing soft spot. Makes me feel bad sometimes but eh – it is what it is!

    You know what I love? That Emily has shorter hair than all the other girls but if she’s anything like her mom she’s gonna have a long, thick flowing mane that they’ll all envy when she’s older. And it also makes it so much easier to treat her even more like a baby eh? My youngest has a lisp from her thumb sucking and that coupled with the fact that she’s so small makes it hard to believe she’s as old as she is!
    .-= Maria´s last blog ..Thoughts on “Class”, Gender, and Sex =-.

  3. angella September 22, 2009 8:05 am edit

    You know what? I was EXACTLY like Emily as a kid – bald forever and then had hair like hers at three. I’m pretty sure that she’s doomed to have a mop like her Momma.

    I hear ya on the baby stuff (obviously).

  4. witchypoo September 21, 2009 7:31 am edit

    Ballet! OMG I cannot stand it! So adorable.
    .-= witchypoo´s last blog ..Mah Drawahs =-.

  5. Elizabeth September 21, 2009 7:37 am edit

    So cute. Susannah starts on Tues but doesn’t have all the gear to go with…. waiting for the mail to arrive.
    I think it’s so cute that they all look like real ballerinas. What fun!!
    .-= Elizabeth´s last blog ..The Waiting Game =-.

  6. Amanda Brown September 21, 2009 7:42 am edit

    Thanks for posting these! I didn’t see Matt at church, alas the photo CD is not yet in my hot, greedy paws.
    I know that whole “last time” thing is so weird. I think of how Avelyn was in a crib for so long and I swore I wouldn’t move her to a big girl bed until she could climb out of the crib. Then one day, of course, she climbed out. When I tucked her into her crib that night I had no idea it would be the last time, you know? But it was.
    I am not nearly as sad about the time passing quickly with our kids right now because most days feel so long and hard, but I know that once they get bigger and in school I’ll probably pine for these (long, hard, inFURIATING) days.
    I miss you, you know. Sorry to ramble, but yeah, when that break from work comes in October we are hanging out a lot, OK?!
    .-= Amanda Brown´s last blog ..Hair Friday =-.

  7. Jen September 21, 2009 7:51 am edit


    I’m the oldest as well, and I totally get it. But, also, I got to get out of the house first, and for that I was thankful. I didn’t like living there one bit.

    I know what you mean about the youngest. With Liliana, I don’t know if she’s my last baby or not, but I’m assuming she is. She, like Emily, is a lot like her older sibling and I see little things in her that Kaylie used to do. And I miss it. And my heart swells and I get all tingly.
    .-= Jen´s last blog ..Justin & Deanne =-.

  8. C @ Kid Things September 21, 2009 8:43 am edit

    I definitely get this. My babies are still relatively babies, but they’re growing up. And while I love the fact that they’re growing up and doing all sorts of wonderful, hilarious things, my heart might possibly ache for a time when they were just a touch smaller.

    Those pictures are adorable. She’s a beautiful ballerina.
    .-= C @ Kid Things´s last blog ..Weekend Winners* Vol. 7: Haircut Edition =-.

  9. Jennifer September 21, 2009 9:30 am edit

    The ballet pics are so cute.

    I know what you mean about the growing. Molly seems to have become a lot less baby overnight.

    I have a different kind of feeling about her being the youngest. I think because Audrey and Molly are so close in age they have kind of morphed into one entity. Sometimes I see them both as being older and then I see them both as my little babies. I think it might be more pronounced because of the gap between them and Emily.

    I do see that Molly is pushing faster to catch up with Audrey and Emily so a lot of the baby mannerisms are gone. Her lack of speech has made her seem a lot younger though. See, it’s just a big teeter totter of emotions over here!
    .-= Jennifer´s last blog ..Mental Health =-.

  10. angella September 22, 2009 8:07 am edit

    I’m on the other end of that teeter totter, right along with you.

  11. Danica September 21, 2009 10:40 am edit

    Oh the cuteness. Ballet class is an endless photo op.
    .-= Danica´s last blog ..Christmas is a comin’ =-.

  12. angella September 22, 2009 8:08 am edit

    I know. I’m sure I’ll be taking my camera to every class.

  13. Heather @ Domestic Extraordinaire September 21, 2009 11:01 am edit

    such cute photos! They are seriously slaying me!!

    With my girls it just seemed like Giggles grew up so much faster than The Chicken did. I know its all in my head, but I totally get what you mean…totally!
    .-= Heather @ Domestic Extraordinaire´s last blog ..You Capture-Macro Edition =-.

  14. Kristabella September 21, 2009 11:14 am edit

    So cute! I saw my niece this weekend and she told me she’s taking ballet and tap! I can’t wait to see her recital!

    I like to say I don’t play favorites with my niece and nephews, but I would be lying. I lived in CA when both nephews were born. I was here for everything with my niece. So her and I have a closer bond.
    .-= Kristabella´s last blog ..Laffs =-.

  15. She Likes Purple September 21, 2009 11:15 am edit

    I have this theory, and it’s wildly unpopular, but that most parents have a favorite. Not a kid they love more or prefer, but one they have a soft spot for, for whatever reason. Sometimes it’s the one they identify most with or least with. Again, it’s not a love thing, it’s a soft-spot thing.
    .-= She Likes Purple´s last blog ..Will the milestones ever quit? =-.

  16. angella September 22, 2009 8:11 am edit

    It is. But honestly? I have three different soft spots…and it varies each day/hour as to which one is a little bit softer.

  17. Karen September 21, 2009 11:26 am edit

    super cute! :)

  18. hillary September 21, 2009 11:41 am edit

    the last photo is my fave
    Emily is such a cutie!
    .-= hillary´s last blog ..Now My Feet Won’t Touch The Ground Now My Head Won’t Stop =-.

  19. Lindsay September 21, 2009 11:45 am edit

    I’m with She Likes Purple on the theory thing.
    Anyway, I always think about how when kids are adults they can make milestones in orders not set by birth order, like marriage, babies, graduating moving away from the home town, so it all sort of changes again and you get to savour something with a kid that you might not have otherwise, like say when your last child gets married you can be all “mah baybeh is gettin’ marrieeeeed, (sob)” it might not even be miss Emily. You know?

    Cute ballet pics!
    .-= Lindsay´s last blog ..Hrm. =-.

  20. angella September 22, 2009 8:12 am edit

    I hear you. The thought of them getting married makes my heart lurch. Sigh.

  21. Jen September 21, 2009 1:36 pm edit

    You must read the children’s book Let Me Hold You Longer by Karen Kingsbury. It’s more of a tear jerker for me than Love You Forever. It’s all about those lasts. sigh …

    I didn’t know Saturday would be Josie’s last night in her toddler bed. The times I rock Abby to sleep are so few and far between that maybe I’ve already had my last. I’ve learned to cherish each of those moments, whether they are the last or not, just in case they are.
    .-= Jen´s last blog ..The Sparks =-.

  22. Kami's Khlopchyk September 21, 2009 1:40 pm edit

    Adorable! I love the way you edited them, so pretty!
    .-= Kami’s Khlopchyk´s last blog ..Why do kids have to inherit their parent’s bad characteristics? =-.

  23. Elaine September 21, 2009 1:49 pm edit

    Well, I have to say as the ‘baby’ girl with 3 older brothers, I think it just can’t be helped, for various reasons. Besides, boys can’t wear pink tutus and the like and that’s just so crazy cute that you can’t help to have your heart tugged on just a tad more…
    .-= Elaine´s last blog ..What I Will Miss About Being Pregnant =-.

  24. Laura September 21, 2009 2:03 pm edit

    I love the ballet photos. They are so sweet and lovely. It makes me want to get up and twirl right along with Miss Emily.
    .-= Laura´s last blog ..A Tribute to Fall in Minnesota =-.

  25. angella September 22, 2009 8:14 am edit

    You and me both. I never took dance, and now wish I had…

  26. Kerri Anne September 21, 2009 3:52 pm edit

    I love what you wrote about little miss Emily and those ballet pictures are so adorable. I always wished I’d taken some dance or gymnastics as a kid.
    .-= Kerri Anne´s last blog ..B is for Books, Better Than Kindle, Big Big Nerd =-.

  27. Nenette September 21, 2009 4:18 pm edit

    wow, talk about great minds… my post today was about my baby’s first dance class too! :)

    Emily is adorable. And I understand your feelings about your “baby”. My Mini makes my heart lurch a little more also… makes me feel guilty, but there you have it. :)

    Thanks for sharing… as I said, she’s adorable!
    .-= Nenette´s last blog tiny dancer. =-.

  28. mpotter September 21, 2009 7:36 pm edit

    i have already said the same things out loud more than twice: why can’t i know when it’s the last time….

    going to the pool is done for the year, she stopped sucking her thumb in the weirdest cutest way, what about nursing her in the middle of the night (???), etc…

    i’m sooooo in for a lifetime here!
    .-= mpotter´s last blog ..96 & 97 explained =-.

  29. gorillabuns September 22, 2009 11:07 am edit

    I’m an only child therefore, I’ve had to be everything to EVERYONE! I vowed to have more kids than 1 because it was so lonely. Even though Thalon was only around for 4months, I made sure to let me girls be kids because it wasn’t their problem that we had another child. I also tried and still do, to have a special day or time that we do things only with each other so they know they are truly loved and appreciated for themselves.
    .-= gorillabuns´s last blog ..wonderland =-.

  30. Lisa Burt September 22, 2009 2:17 pm edit

    What a beautiful girl!

  31. Momo Fali September 22, 2009 2:51 pm edit

    I SO get this. My baby has health problems too. So in addition to getting lots of love because he’s the baby, he also gets lots of love because we didn’t even know if he would live. I squeeze him just a little tighter than my oldest, but not because I love her less.
    .-= Momo Fali´s last blog ..Small Town Slumber =-.

  32. Leah September 22, 2009 10:43 pm edit

    These photos are killing me. KILLING me. What a lucky girl Emily is to have you looking on.

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