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birthdayNine years ago an elephant sat on my chest. Through the magical zipper at the bottom of my stomach came my baby girl. She emerged at 8:03 on a sunny Friday morning. As predicted, she was a big baby with lots of dark, curly hair. She outweighed both her brothers at birth by three pounds.

While some think chubby babies are cute and seem more healthy, her 9 lbs. 4 oz. are most to blame for her two day stay in the NICU. The rest of the blame rests on me.

It was the easiest pregnancy by normal standards. I used to have to remind myself she was in there because I felt so great. Diabetes wise it was my hardest pregnancy. I struggled to maintain tight control of my blood sugars. The extra sugar my body “fed” her caused her body to produce extra insulin to compensate. It took a lot of time  after birth for her body to regulate.

No matter what any doctor said, I still blame myself for her NICU stay and the nurses calling her the Queen of the Nursery. Although I consider myself very lucky that rooming with preemies was her only challenge. There was the very real possibility she could have been born with a chromosomal abnormality. Yet she was perfect. Our Little Miss.

The day after she turned 4, she insisted she was “almost 5” and began resenting the name Little Miss. “I not little!” No honey, you’re not little. You never were. You have always been a tall drink of water looking much older than your actual age. Grandma was frustrated when Gwen put on her birthday dress. Grandma made it a size 14 and the hem falls inches above her knees. Like her oldest brother Gavin, we can barely keep this girl clothed properly!

It’s her last year in the single digits. She woke up around 2:00 am and noted the time on her alarm clock. “These are the last few hours I will be 8!” she told herself. In my mind she was never supposed to age beyond the first grade. This is the girl who has been going on 20 since the day she was born! In this picture she is going on 14 months old. And she thought she was going on 14 years old! That’s my Gwen.

She is beautiful and she knows it. She is the most confident and mature child I have ever known. She is smart, manipulative, shrill, sunshine and friendliness personified, not to mention really funny.

Being young has its perks. She was so happy to go to school today. Personally, I would have been a little put out to have two days off of school for a “midwinter break” only to have to return on my birthday! Not Gwen. She’s fine with it. She may be upset when she sees that we got her an American Girl dress that matches the dress her doll came with. Upset because tomorrow is her PE day and she can’t wear dresses. Both her boys were thrilled to announce they had three recesses the first day of first grade. Gwen was mad to learn that she had two PE days each week! That is two whole days she is forced to wear athletic shoes. Oh the humanity!

She definitely keeps growing up. There is nothing I can do about it. We sure have loved every second with this minx of a girl. She has charmed us with her wiles, tested our patience, warmed our hearts, and balanced out our family.

Happy birthday Gwen!