Avery Rio makes 2 months today and before anything else, she would like you to know that she’s shed the nickname Murray.
As many have remarked, Avery’s face is beginning to fill out. While she doesn’t have the formidable chin her brother does, she’s catching him steadily in the cheeks. While Avery still scowls and furrows her brow, hers is no longer the face of a gaunt old man. As my dad said, she “went from old lady to new baby”. She’s also smiling much more than she ever has. Avery’s still got those huge eyes like that one monkey from the meme, but they look less intense because they’re fixed in a much fuller face. I have to admit it: I am sad to see Murray go. Anyway, she’s tearing through Madison’s hand-me-downs. Luckily, our family and friends were very good to us this Christmas. Avery’s got a bunch of new things to wear as soon as she starts growing a little more.
She’s a cutie. When I feed her and she looks up at me with those huge, bright eyes, they wrap me around her tiny fingers. She smiles at me. She warps her lips into the shape of an oval and tries to talk to me. She makes howls and makes these grunt-like noises that probably sting my heart because they remind me of the sounds the raptors make in the Jurassic Park movies. I keep looking deeply into those eyes and engage in conversations with her for a very practical reason. Yes, I love her, but I also need to build up an immunity to her cuteness now while I can.
Like her big sister and mother before her, Avery is a high maintenance Higa. Since she is only two months old, the only extravagance she knows is breast milk. In our home, this treasure goes by many names: boob juice, the good stuff, the real thing, and sleep potion. If anyone tries to feed her a bottle, she take a sip. Once she figures out it’s formula, she’ll tongue the nipple out and turn her head. I love it the most when she cocks her head back in disgust. She’s all Why would you dummies waste a scoop-and-a-half of formula powder, you dummies? This protest, as Lynnette calls it, goes on for a few minutes until Avery’s hunger overtakes her preferences. Once, when Avery was being particularly particular about her lunch, Lynnette looked at me and said “Your daughter is so stubborn!” Note the use of the pronoun to so as to attribute this trait to me. “What?” I said, holding out the A-sound for as long as my lungs could manage. “A stubborn Higa/Pascua girl? No way!” I said. Lynnette smirked. I think this might be one of the first times Madison recognized sarcasm (even if she doesn’t know what it’s called or how to define it) because she looked at me and scrunched her nose up the way she does when she’s mock-upset.
Over the past few days Lynnette’s campaigned for Avery’s “chillness”. Because “chill” seems like it’s Cole’s default setting while “inconvenient” appears to be Avery’s, Lynnette’s been highlighting instances of Avery’s “chilloutishness” to myth-bust Avery Rio’s well-established P.I.T.A. Girl reputation. “She, Phil? Avery can be chill, too!” Lynnette shouts during one of Avery’s rare non-whining sessions. “Look, she can be good, too!” Lynnette says as she holds up a neon sign over Avery’s head that reads “NEW AND IMPROVED!” But I don’t buy it. The female members of my family – including the dog – are hyper-adept at putting on the good face when they want something. They’re like chameleons that change their appearance to good if they’re crawling atop a Kate Spate purse or Fighting Eel dress or Lego Friends set or chocolate candy. You don’t fool me, Avery Rio. And yet I suppose if she continues to grow along this same trajectory, I’ll know exactly what she’s trying to do and it won’t matter at all. I’m a sucker for my girls.