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Growth Spurts

I went into Cora’s room yesterday
morning to get her up, looked into the crib at the cooing baby, and
thought, “Who are YOU?”

Am I the only one, or does everyone else see their babies change
overnight? They go to bed looking like themselves, and wake up
looking like someone else. I mean, I know that I don’t see
changes as blatantly as people who only see my kids infrequently
– say, once a month or something. I expect to look back at
old photos and be shocked at how different Cora looks, especially
in this first year when she changes so much. But there are times
when those changes seem to happen overnight.

I know it isn’t just me, because
yesterday morning at breakfast my mom stared at Cora and said
(totally unsolicited), “Wow. She definitely looks older
today.” So these little lurches forward aren’t all in
my head – I’ve got (somewhat) impartial witnesses to

I love scrutinizing my girls and trying to guess what they’ll
look like when they’re adults – sort of a reverse
“study old yearbook photos” thing. I try to picture
Maddie with long hair and the cockiness of youth in her eyes,
carrying an armful of schoolbooks and swinging a purse from her
shoulder. Or moving even further forward, I attempt to imagine Cora
as an adult – say, the CEO of a big company. What features in
her face will become prominent, her trademarks, and what areas will
change completely? I study their photos and think about the
millions of people who will see these baby pictures flashed up on a
screen during their Tony Lifetime Achievement Award ceremony (for
example), studying those photos decades from now and trying to suss
out the adult star from those little moppets in the pictures. Can
you look at Nicole Kidman and imagine what her baby photos were
like? Jim Carrey? What about a heavy hitter, like Madeleine

I also think there’s some sort of relationship between
emotional and physical growth. I almost always notice a change in
Maddie’s appearance shortly after we’ve had a really
rough developmental patch: say, we’ve had three days of
testing boundaries and learning the necessity of apologizing, and
two days later I see an older, wiser face on my girl. Partly
projection, I know, but I think I’m onto something here.

Anyway, I’m convinced these metamorphoses are not simply a
product of a slow and steady rise from babyhood to adulthood. After
having walked into a baby’s room and finding a stranger in
the crib a mere eight hours after I left my baby there more times
than I can count, I know for sure these sneaky kids are
purposefully growing up while we’re not looking.

Let the record show – my girls are already doing things
behind my back.


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