Hoda Kotb has celebrated daughter, Haley Joy, even before the beautiful baby girl was welcomed into her arms. The “Today” co-anchor shared the emotional journey of yearning for a child, and the momentous phone call that came at 11:54 AM, with the words, “She’s here” in the spring of 2017.

Hoda Kotb will never forget recording that exact time as the moment she realized her dream of motherhood and, since the arrival of her daughter, she has become a beacon of hope to other adoptive parents who may feel that the window for fulfilling their dreams of a family is closed.

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Faithful viewers have witnessed the beginnings of the maternal bond between Kotb and her precious daughter since the morning host returned from maternity leave last year, and her children's book, “I've Loved You since Forever” was the mother's way of leaving a keepsake for Haley Joy along with an inspiration for prospective adoptive families. Superstar singer-songwriter, Kelly Clarkson, was even moved enough to create a musical narration of the text, that remains Haley Joy's evening lullaby.

Today's Hoda Kotb is savoring daughter Haley Joy's toddler determination and Saints' devotion.[Image source:US Femail-YouTube]
Today's Hoda Kotb is savoring daughter Haley Joy's toddler determination and Saints' devotion.[Image source:US Femail-YouTube]

Demanding as they are, any parent can attest that the infant span is the easy one. Mom and dad can take baby along without extreme, undue struggle, the tantrums in the middle of the supermarket haven’t set in yet, and the most powerful word on the planet, “No,” hasn't quite been discovered has been key to household domination.

Parenting a toddler at any age is trying, and at 54, Hoda Kotb understands the transition that is bringing her daughter from bundle of joy to a true, independent little lady.

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The bubbly mom gave examples of her daughter’s “determined” personality on the January 17 fourth hour, and straddling the tenuous line between taking orders as cute and precious or unacceptably precocious.

Not a quitter

Hoda Kotb is famous for her Ziploc bag purse on the red carpet, and she is equally well known for carrying a backpack during her work week that would give any contender in the WWE a workout. Kathie Lee Gifford is away this month, working on her creative projects and reportedly scouting new places to call home in Nashville prior to her official farewell celebration before her April “Today” departure.

Before her bon voyage, she probably will include some teasing about Hoda’s heavy bag and messy dressing room.

Jenna Bush Hager teased that it was shoes that weighed down Hoda’s must-have bag, but for Haley Joy, the contents don't matter. Kotb described how her daughter drags the heavy bag across the length of the room every evening, completely undaunted by the struggle. “She doesn't quit early. She doesn't throw in the towel,” the mom insists, and those traits are ones she hopes to encourage.

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When it comes to toddler attitude, Haley Joy has that covered. Kotb admits that her baby girl bosses her around, saying “Mama sit,” “Mama stand,” or other commands. She knows the word, “please” from her mother’s urging, but certainly doesn't always come off as polite. Jenna concurred that Haley Joy is a “Boss baby.”

Haley Joy protested putting on a New Orleans Saints jersey until the team got down in last weekend’s playoff game, and mom got her way.

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The daughter yelled at the screen and cheered as the score turned around. Wearing team colors probably won't be a problem with the game against the Los Angeles Rams.

Determination and self-reliance are admirable traits, but during toddlerhood, those same traits can result in deadlocks between parent and child, all part of the growing process.

No partner in crime

Hoda Kotb has one advantage as a parent that can't be said for Jenna Bush Hager. Last week, Hager related how her young girls, Mila, 5, and Poppy, 3, had managed to lock their babysitter away and create their own dance party, complete with loud music, the dance ball, and makeup everywhere. Both girls were naked when mommy got home. Jenna did explain that both her daughters have learned that "Sow-wy" somehow covers any infraction.

Haley Joy doesn’t yet have a sibling to make things more exciting for her mom, and years from now, all the Bush family will look back on those childhood memories in sweetness. For now, Hager freely confesses that she’s studying every book possible on effective discipline.

Every child is guided by his or her unique light and spirit as the ages and stages roll on. The key is to bring out that light and spirit without breaking the child. It's a tough job, and it doesn't get easier, but it makes the heart, and the world, a brighter place.

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