Gracie is Daddy's girl. Most definitely. And I don't mind! I spend my day lifting, changing, feeding, entertaining, teaching, stretching, defending, and checking on her... I don't mind that she prefers to snuggle with Daddy in the evenings and I definitely don't mind that she prefers him to feed her... ;-P
I've been trying to teach her the sign for Daddy for a good six months - I jokingly say that it takes her a year to learn each new sign... but it's not far from the truth. She has 3 signs, we've been a family for 5+ years... BUT, she just added "Daddy" to her repertoire (!!) or the Gracie variant thereof (hand to her forehead).
Josh is out of town this week. He was out of town last month for less than a week and we all did fine. But this time, Gracie has been refusing to go to sleep - whining, even crying, instead of sleeping. Is it the heat (it's HOT this week)? Is she thirsty (hydrating her could be my full time occupation)? Is she hungry? Does she need a position shift (she's not good at getting herself into a comfortable position at night, so we spend a lot of time at night shifting her until she's comfortable)?
Tonight, she clearly signed "Daddy" as she whined. Wow! So I asked her if she missed Daddy: "yes" (patting her left hand). "Do you want to hear Daddy's voice?" "Yes." "Do you want me to call Daddy on the phone?" "Yes."
Those of you who have "talked" to Gracie on the phone know that it's a VERY one-way conversation - she gets completely quiet and might be kissing the phone or Mommy, but there's no feedback to the person on the other end of the call.
Not this time! She whined loud and hard at Daddy on the phone - she has NEVER done that before! After a long "conversation" full of reassurances of love and a return tomorrow from Daddy and loud complaints from Gracie, she put her head down on her bed and I felt her body relax and she stopped whining and complaining. After I closed the conversation with Josh, I fully expected her to start up her whining again. Nope! That was what she needed. She smiled and laid her head down. She started "clicking" her tongue (her self-soothing thing) and working on going to sleep.
Wow - so, the Gracie fans aren't surprised, but ARE deeply touched that we are RIGHT that this sweetness of a child has so much going on inside her. Those that don't know her well might be surprised that she can communicate SO well with 3.5 modified signs under her belt!
THAT's why we're here in Uganda (in part). As we struggle to reach Gracie's world and help her reach the world around her, we treasure her just the way that God made her. We are praying that I can struggle along side other moms with precious children with various struggles. That through our shared struggles we can display God as great and these children that He created as precious!