Before I walk into her darkened room, I can already hear her babbling. Between her ooohs and auggghs, which always end with a high pitch sound like she's asking a question, I can detect a few barely intelligible words. Daaat? Maa? Daaa? Her sounds are sometimes muffled, which means that her face is still half buried in her pack n play mattress, which means she's still horizontal, which means I'll give her a few more minutes before I get her up.
Weighing in at twenty-three pounds and standing over two feet tall, she is slender and thick all at once. Her stomach bulges out between her ribs and her pants, but her shoulders and arms are petite and fragile, like twigs protruding from a sturdy branch. Her thighs are chunky and rather squeezable, but her calves are ruggedly tough. Her cheeks swell out unmistakably and sometimes you'd swear she actually was storing a few acorns in there. This is especially true during her smiles, which come often and pack enough force to make you stop thinking about whatever else was on your mind. Her tanned skin starts soft and delicate at the top of her frame and gradually gets a teensy bit rougher once you arrive at her calves, ankles and feet, which she has happily and purposefully drug through mud, grass, sand and concrete over the course of her thirteen month life.
Her temples are always warm, even hot sometimes and whenever I need to warm up, I'll bury my cheeks into them, which she almost exclusively dislikes. She smells like baby, which is strangely indescribable, but worth every sniff. During the rare moments that she will snuggle up close, which has happened more in the last month than the previous twelve combined, her breath is sweet and milky and smells like innocence.
Her deep blue eyes. When you contrast them with her dark hair, they are strikingly beautiful. But when you see them every day, when you see them connected to a smile or a scream, when you see them filled with hope or hurt, they are piercing, hinting at a bold and independent personality that lurks just below the surface.
She is standing now, her babble more crisp and defined. George and teddy, her sleeping buddies, have likely been tossed onto the rug below. She has begun sprinkling yells into her talking, signaling her readiness for a bottle after twelve hours of sleep. As I walk across the creaky wood floors toward her closed door, her babble goes quiet. She hears me. I push open the door to find her standing there, one arm slung over the side and one dainty finger pointing in my direction. Good morning Stella, I whisper, and we start another day.
Written for prompt 2 of the workshop...