Twenty-seven years ago, baby Emmett Jade Lloyd's mother was recognized as one of the fastest babies during the Toad Suck Daze Baby Crawl. Last weekend, Emmett stole the spotlight and continued her family's legacy.
Competing in the 12 months and Under division, baby Emmett was destined to win.
Her mother, Courtney Lloyd, had a crowned toad embroidered onto her bloomers and dressed her in a light pink tank that read, "Toadal Babe." What 9-month-old Emmett doesn't know, is that her outfit and earned title are a continued legacy mirroring her mother's childhood.
When Courtney was 8 months old, her mother, Mary Moody, painted a toad on her diaper. The toad her mother painted was holding up a sign that read, "Lil Toad."
Courtney said she thought it would be a cute idea to mirror her mother's idea and decorate her daughter's outfit for the annual baby crawl at Toad Suck Daze. While her husband, Dexter, noted Emmett is known for being "lightening fast," he said the family was toadally surprised when Emmett raced across the finish line, claiming for her family once again the champion baby crawling title.
"I've always heard the story of my mom telling me that I won the baby crawl race and that I had a toad painted on my diaper. She's probably told that story a million times over my lifetime," Courtney said, laughing. "I just thought we'd carry on tradition and that it would be cool if she had a little toad on her bloomers in case she won to commemorate that and make a legacy out of it."
Courtney and Dexter, along with their family who watched from the crowd of other spectators, watched baby Emmett race across the finish line within a matter of seconds as the other small competitors were still wrapping their minds around whether they wanted to crawl all the way over to the other side of the race mat.
"She just took off," Dexter, who has also won a baby crawling competition in his lifetime, said.
TSD race creates lifelong memories, family tradition
Conway Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President Jamie Gates said these types of stories are humbling and also show that Toad Suck Daze is a staple festival to make memories at.
"For a lot of central Arkansas natives, Toad Suck is a family tradition. Now that it's been around long enough, people who once went as young kids are now bringing their children ... It's really cool to hear another story about another multi-generational baby," he said, noting he attended the festival as a young child and now takes his children to Toad Suck Daze as well.
As she watched her young child race against the track she once crawled across, Courtney said she was humbled and happy for the memories she's now able to make with her daughter.
"Being a mom is the best thing that's ever happened to me. I'm proud of her; I love her to death," she said Saturday as she watched her lively baby play with her dad. "As busy as life is, I wouldn't trade it for anything."
While she once enjoyed leaving work to relax, Courtney said she now finds comfort and happiness in her busy lifestyle that keeps her on the go at all hours.
"Now, I'd rather just take her and go to the park and swing and just spend time with family," she said.
Baby Emmett has a close-knit family.
Dexter said the entire family lives here in Conway "within four miles of each other."
During the work week, family members trade off time with the baby while Courtney and Dexter are at work.
Courtney said she is thankful for her family's closeness and looks forward to a Mother's Day cookout where everyone can once again, be united together.
Thinking back to the rewarding struggles of motherhood, Courtney said she better understands her raising now that she too is a mother.
"It makes you appreciate everything your mom did for you," she said of becoming a mom. "You realize how much of a sacrifice it is, even though we're glad [as mothers] to do whatever it is ... it just makes you appreciate your mom just that much more."