It has been one year since Amity Grace Zenz made her debut performance.  At the time, she received rave reviews, and I am happy to say, she dazzles audiences still.  In light of her birthday, I thought I would pass along some fatherly Reflections concerning this little gift of God.

You often hear how utterly different siblings are from eachother.  I have to say it is very very true.  You would think that these differences would not be detectable until later on in life, considering that during most of the first year children resemble small wiggly bags of limbs and facial features, passing the time by leaking their contents from various openings.  But even in those wiggly-bag days, uniqueness screams.  Even from the start, we could see Gracie wasn't a carbon copy of her brother.  She is a much more verbal child.  She also is more sensitive: more snuggly and also gets her feelings hurt easier.  Amity notes that in these ways she's a typical female.  (And I would like to note that Amity made that note - I'm not about to post sweeping generalizations about females...)

There's another major behavioral difference that I'm going to have to attribute to gender as well.  Now I know in this day and age we are all supposed to "know better" about such things.  And we personally have done our best to break biases.  From the start Amity made little Isaac play with dolls - in fact, in an attempt to break all stereotypes at once, she got him black, female, handicapped dolls.  But despite these noble efforts he still spends his days playing cowboy, chasing "bad guys" with swords (or fishing poles), playing cars, playing cars, and playing cars.  (Even though his dad hasn't ever been interested in cars.)  And despite all those mother-daughter trips to Monster Truck events, Gracie still comes home and heads for her baby dolls, hugging them, kissing them, and chanting "Baa-bay..."

Oh, that reminds me... I think we may have spent too much time in Tennessee, because Gracie definitely has a very distinct southern accent.  In addition to the afore mentioned baby/"baa-bayyy," you can also hear her greet each family member in the morning with a hearty "Hawww-eye..." and bid me farewell out the door with a "Baww-baw-eye."

Gracie has gotten called a lot of things during her first year of life. From the one-time nicknames that slip out to those that resonate and stick around for a while.  Some of the names that come to mind:  Gracie, Grace, Grace Ellen, Gracie Mae, Gurshey, Gursh, Gershwin, Greasy, Gra-co, Grecco-Roman, Grockamolie, Gwee-wah, Baby Loo, Baby Monster, Baby Three-brow, Baby Neck-balls, Ampy Grace, Gracious, Grunky, Grazy Bus, and Grecian Formula Number 9.

(I suppose - so you don't all think we're cruel (or at least so you know we're impartial) - I should probably give a few examples of what Isaac's been called:  Isaac, Akka, Icky, Ucky, Ike, Ikie, I-kia, Zicky, Chunkston, Clucky, Buck Ching, Tinkie Winkie, Twink, Pumpkin Head, Izackarelli, Little Man, and Itty-Bitty, to name a few.)

Another quirk I love about Gracie, is that she is the most right-handed person I have ever met.  Growing up, Isaac was always a bit ambidextrous, although favoring his right hand.  Not Gracie; for example, when she eats she'll pick things up with her right hand while the left half of her body - shoulder, arm, hand - hang limp and totally motionless like a dead weight through the whole meal.

She loves to sing.  She loves to laugh.  She loves to pull her brother's hair.  She often slips and falls on wet linoleum floors.  She bangs her head on every tabletop, and more often than not has a light brown bruise on her forehead looking like a misplaced eyebrow (hence the name Baby Three-brow...)  She eats.  A lot.  She's drawn to food like a magnet to a tank.  If you're snacking on something, you're her best friend.  She'll mooch off you even if she just finished a 10 course meal.  She likes to give kisses.  She likes to jump on her brother's bed.  She'll walk up to you, cock her head exaggeratedly to the side, and stare at you with a smile.  She's learned that when her brother knocks her down, even if she's okay, if she cries then Isaac gets reprimanded and she gets picked up.  Her favorite pastime is sweeping the contents of their bookcase to the floor.  She thumps her legs on the mattress over and over when she's going to sleep.  She sucks on her feet.  She stands on things and can't get down.  She loves her bath.  She loves the beach.  She's eaten stones, ladybugs, and hamster pellets.  She's Gracie and we love her.

She's a wonderful gift from God and we're happy we can share her with you.  It's obvious that He's had His hand on her, clearly from delivery and even before.  Our prayer for her (and you can join with us) is that she treasures the Lord as much as He treasures her, and that she loves Him with all her heart, soul, and mind.

Grace to you!

Aaron for the Zenzes