Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Make your own 2008 flip book

He offered his appreciation in the tone of greatest sincerity, the tone 3 year olds use to show you the depths of their hearts. I really, really like your baby, he said to me, referring to L, whom I had just plopped on the floor. Then he turned to E, who had shown up to Sunday morning's play date fully clothed but clutching the pajamas she had begged to bring with her. As she stripped in his foyer to re-dress in faux-satin polka dots, he offered her a similar gift: E! I like your pajamas!

Three year olds are the best.

Thank you! she said, as she looked him over, wearing a yellow jacket over his own blue and green pajama stripes. I really like yours!

While her sister and father slept in E had asked to go to the bagel store, and I had asked her first to get dressed. She had said, but I really, really love these pajamas SO MUCH! and asked if she could just continue to hold them in her arms after removing them from her body. I told her they had to stay in the car during breakfast but she could bring them into her friend’s house afterward if she really wanted. It’s okay to strip to your purple doggie skivvies at near-noon in front of your buddy and the open front door of his house when you share a history that pre-dates birth and he, too, is a midday pajama lover.

True admiration: for siblings, for sleepwear, for each other. They played so nicely all afternoon.

His comment stuck with me not just for the tone that rung so familiarly in my ears, but for his choice of words. He’s the youngest of four kids, and a big boy himself, the same size as his five year old sister. Although he’s genuinely very loving, I know L is so wonderful in his eyes partly because she’s a novelty for her relative smallness. He addressed me about her positive qualities instead of addressing her directly, like she’s some trinket, some bauble; and in his eyes, rightly, she is. She’s an interesting little specimen crawled right out from a Cracker Jack box.

But to me she’s SO BIG.

The sleepy-eyed pastry puff was two weeks old last time we rang in a New Year. Now she walks and talks. She has Opinions. And Desires. And if they’re unmet, an arsenal of Floor-Flopping Tantrums. She watched and watched her sister very carefully and at 10 months, decided she’d take her beverages not with a bottle, not with a sippy, but with a very-big-girl straw-lidded cup. She’s over an inch taller than her sister was at the 12-month mark. And she’s heavy! My right hip and spine are so grateful for her toddle toddle drunken waddle.

When he said that on Sunday, I realized I’ve stopped thinking of her as my baby.

Where I once had my baby and my big girl, I now have my big girl and my even-bigger. Pin It