Finley Pig! Peanut Butter! Clare Bear! Baby Cakes! You are the child of many nicknames. You are the perfect complement to our family. The daring baby, unafraid to walk off steps, plunge head-first off bunk beds, changing tables, couches or the deck. You refuse to be left behind and if you can't crawl or walk fast enough, you plop down on your little cloth diapered bottom and scream your bloody head off until someone picks you up and brings you along.
You unreservedly love everyone you've ever met or seen but rather than flash your 1000 watt, be-dimpled smile, you regard strangers with quiet curiosity. That is until they try to hold you and then you can't jump out of my arms fast enough.
You seem to be pretty independent a fact which I just noticed today as you sat quietly near my feet reading a book. As much as you love to be a part of the group, you seem content with your solitude, or at least your quiet time.
Just like your brother before you love to eat. You will eat pretty much anything I put in front of you and if we're having lasagna, watch out! You will out eat me and Conor and very nearly consume as much as Daddy.
Oh, and speaking of Daddy...yeah, you love him. Like, love, love, LOVE him. And my goodness does he just love you right back. The other day he came home from work and I was in the kitchen doing something while you were in the living room where I had locked you beind the gate (oh I will miss the days when I can legally lock you into a room). I thought you were going to pull that gate right off the wall so excited were you to see your Daddy. DADA is by far your favorite, and most often used, word. You also love Tucker (TATA) which, of course, drives me crazy. Tucker seems to prefer you over Conor as well although as you're getting older you're beginning to get a little rougher with him. Bless his little dog heart though, he just endures it all.
You don't really talk much, you have no teeth but but you make plenty of noise when you need something. You have the softest skin of any baby, anywhere, ever, I swear it.
We have this night time routine and Daddy and I fight over it. I bring you into your room all smelling good from the bath tub or from the lotion that we've used instead of giving you a proper bath, and sit you down on my lap for one or two stories. Conor used to sit with his back facing my chest but we sit tummy to tummy and I hold the book backward so you can see it. When we're done, I pull you foward so your head rests on my chest, my chin on your head . You reach your sweet, soft hands into my shirt sleeves or my collar and rub the fabric back and forth, back and forth. I rock you and sing the "Strawberry Love" song. After a few minutes, you stop rubbing and your breathing, once quick and shallow, slows to long, slow inhales and exhales. in...out...in...out. A tiny little arm twitch, followed by a bigger leg twitch and finally a big, full body twitch and you're asleep. If Daddy can't find me, he pokes his head in your door and his eye meet mine. He knows I can't get up. He wouldn't get up either. You are too, too sweet to put down. I could sit there all night, tummy to tummy listening to the perfect breathing of my baby girl.
You're our last baby, the last little member of the Walsh family and it's like you complete the puzzle from which we didn't even know a piece was missing. You came along and "click". Perfect.
Oh, I hate to see you growing up because I want to hold you and love you and snuggle you forever and I know, one day, you'll pull away and then one day after that, you'll be gone, off at the mall with friends or driving around back roads with the windows down singing at the top of your lungs. but today, on your birthday, you're my baby. Sweet, perfect Finley.
I love you more than is humanly possible,