Rosie is my birthday present, but Maggie is my Valentine. Of course her dad is too, but I met him in the spring, we fell in love in the fall, and got married in the summer, so Valentine's Day was just something we passed through, not significant like it was for my older daughters. But Maggie was born on Valentine's Day!
It was not, of course, the most lovely Valentine's Day I've ever had. Quite apart from my being in labor all day, there was a blizzard going on outside. I was aware of this because Maggie, unlike her older sisters, was born at home. The midwife and my support people were there, but things were progressing rather slowly. In a hospital they'd just start a pitocin drip, but at home -- It's time to go for a walk. In the blizzard. I had to get out of my nice flannel nightie, put on clothes and boots (boots!) and bundle up in my big heavy woolen cape, scarf, and mittens and walk! We made it all the way to the corner and back (about 2 blocks each way), a contraction about every thirty steps --hang on to husband and breathe --and it must have done the trick, because not too much later Maggie arrived. My Valentine!!!
She was beautiful, and her sisters loved her immediately. Unfortunately she had a few uncomfortable days -- somehow, in the "oh, yes, I know all about this nursing stuff, and it's so easy" I had forgotten that fed babies also need to be burped! Once we got that out of the way, she was MUCH happier.
Although I already had two bright and gorgeous little girls, we could tell almost immediately that this one was something out of the ordinary. From very early on we would set Maggie, in her infant seat, on the kitchen table while the rest of the family was eating. (Arwen was 4 1/2, Rosie was 3.) And by 4 months or so, Maggie was making it clear that what we were doing there was interesting. And she would like to participate too, thankyouverymuch! So in order to eat in peace, we started handing her a cracker. (I know Ritz crackers aren't a recommended first solid, but they were handy, and they worked.) Maggie gumming a cracker became a common sight.
Two or so months later, (Maggie was 6 1/2 months old), a teenaged friend was over to use some of our reference books. Jenny and the older girls were having some kind of a snack. I was changing Maggie's diaper, and as she watched them from the changing table, that "me, too" light was in her eye. I said "Maggie, would you like a cracker?" Her face lit up, and with a big smile, she proclaimed "CA-cuh!" Jenny nearly fell over. But yes, Maggie really said it. And she's been amazingly verbal ever since.