Little people are hard to describe in a way that doesn't sound like all of the other adorable toddlers out there, so I'll tell you some stories (which may indeed end up sounding like all of the other adorable toddlers out there, but close friends and family will see her in her individual glory).
•When it was time for baby Ruth to learn to sleep and stay asleep in her own crib, we discovered that she has amazing persistence. Unlike our other kids who were "sleep trained" in a matter of days as young toddlers (once I decided it was time and really meant it)- she put up resistance for several weeks before suddenly deciding that Yes, Indeed, she did like naptime and bedtime and began going right to sleep with her own set of rules for How the Blanket Should Cover Her, Which Doll Likes to Sleep with Her, and Where the Water Bottle Should Be in the Bed, How Mom Should Pat Her Back, etc. But before that, during the Weeks of Resistance, the kids and I would spy through an old fashioned key hole in our bedroom door to watch her stand and call for us over and over again, trying first one name and then another. She actually did fall asleep standing more than one time before eventually perfecting the ability to sleep propped up against the side of the crib. We decided that if grown-up Ruth is ever lost in a snowstorm on a mountain we will never stop searching for her, because she will never, ever give up waiting for us.
•She is the only one of my children who will applaud and say "Good Job!" when I sing Jesus Loves Me to her at bedtime. Once she suddenly grabbed my chin, gave it a little shake, and told me she loved me–eye-to-eye as I had just done to her. She did this really fast, and got the inflection perfectly–even though she could barely say the words.
•She is fascinated with "lipstick" of all kinds: my dark colors, the girls pink gloss, Dad's Chapstick, brother's Blistex stick, sister's Bonnie Bell bubblegum flavor. She manages to find these, discard the caps and apply with abandon, smashing the contents after rolling them all the way out. When she had finally trained all of us to store all lip products on the highest shelves in the house, she resorted to applying Desitin diaper ointment–carefully dabbing a bit on her upper lip before being caught white-handed.
•A fantastic mimic, she has been entertaining us daily by trying to say or sing any word, line or song (however challenging or multi-syllabic) we feed her with often hilarious results that she laughs at herself. She will also try to ice skate, dance, or play any sport she has seen in person or on TV, often cheering for herself and calling for an audience to "Look! Look!"
•She has given our family a great reputation at church for being a devout family with her dramatic approach to prayer at Sunday School snack time - clasping her little hands together high in front of her face before bowing her head down until her head touches the table. (And no, this is not the model of our mealtime prayers at home . . . )
•She believes that anytime we have said "No" to her current activity or request (which is, of course, often!), it is merely because we have not fully grasped the situation at hand so that she tries over and over to explain to us, often until she is carried off to do whatever we have asked her to do. This was particularly amusing to us when she was depending mostly upon vowels to communicate with. Kevin used to say "Pat, I'd like to buy a consonant . . . " Observing all of this, sister Grace said, "She seems to have a very high self-esteem!"
•This past week I entered the kitchen after a few minutes in the next room, to discover 17 individual bananas spread all over the floor leading me to believe Curious George had visited my house. These and similar episodes have often given me the sense of starring in my own situation comedy.
•For Ruthie the Resourceful, having no access to the bathroom sinks is not a problem when the dog water is available at toddler height to wash her brother's cars (or kitchen utensils, or water bottles, or apples, or shoes or . . . ).
A friend of mine once commented (when I myself had only one "easy" baby), "If you ever think you have it all figured out...have more children!" This has certainly been true for me. I'm finding myself less likely to write a "How-To" parenting book with each year that passes.
Thank you Ruthie Joy for the joy you bring to us. Happy Birthday!
For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you,
for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.
Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”