Monday, May 25, 2009

Free

Bitty Girl,
Somehow, you are three.

Although you are the smallest member of the family, you take up an enormous space in our lives. You boss us around, often using my actual tone of voice, which is frightening. You make us all laugh with your high-pitched giggle, your deep belly laugh, and the throaty cackle you love to use—it’s your evil laugh.

You are mischievous, good natured, sweet and loving, LOUD, and energetic. You prefer to run or gallop as a means of transportation, but can often be found walking on your tiptoes or spinning in circles. This tendency for speed plus silliness has resulted in many scraped knees, and I think you have permanent bruises on your shins.

You do so many things fiercely, and mainly want to do them YOURSELF. Anyone attempting to help or control the way you do things is sternly rebuked, with words and seriously downturned eyebrows. “DON’T HELP ME. DO IT MYSELF!” The stink eye was perfected long ago, but now you’ve added a sharp elbow fold, downcast eyes, pouting lip, and a head shake that causes a curtain of hair to cover your eyes.

A master negotiator, you always come ready to bargain. If I say “One more slide,” you say “TWO!” If I say “Five more minutes,” you say “SIX!” If you don’t win on the first round, you keep trying relentlessly. Or you simply ignore me and go about your business, swatting away the irritating buzzing of that Mommy trying to control you. The other day, you asked me if you could “go outside and boss The Boy and Daddy around,” and then told me “I’m not their coach, I’m their leader.”

You still drop the initial “s” off a lot of your sp- or st- words, and we’ve gotten quite skilled at hiding our smirks when you ask for a “poovie” (smoothie) or a “poon” or tell us to “TOP” doing something.

Your dramatic play has reached new levels, and you tell us elaborate stories about how your baby was “kicking and fussing, and I tried to give him Tylenol but he really wanted Motrin* and he cried and cried and he barfed on his pillow yesterday and today he barfed on his covers. I had to work, so Daddy took him to the doctor.” Looking at your facial expressions and hand gestures during these stories, you would think you were really an exhausted, overworked mother trying to soothe her sick baby.

*And you’re addicted to Tylenol, which explains why you use the drug names perfectly in your stories. If the bathroom cabinet opens or you see a bottle of medicine, you clutch your forehead and say that you have a headache or you feel sick. Never mind that just a mere two minutes earlier you were twirling around jumping on a bed or chasing your brother.

You love to sing, draw, cut “snips” with scissors, glue pieces of paper onto each other, paint, play outside, make houses for the bugs, dig in the dirt, water flowers, do projects and homework just like your big brother. Your fine motor skills astonish me—you can pick tiny stickers off the sheet, cut tiny snips of paper, and hold a crayon or a pen just like a big kid.

You are a solid southpaw – throwing, kicking, eating, and writing all lefty. I’m secretly delighted, but I already feel bad you’ll have the same smudging issue I always did. And you have developed quite an arm – all the months of watching your brother play baseball has paid off.

You love your babies – still love to play “Trinity” daycare and have all the babies laid out face-down with their individual blankets having naptime. You are sweet and nurturing, talking quietly to them, feeding them and setting out lunch or snack on individual plates for each baby. You are constantly busy changing their diapers when they “poop in their clothes” or “have stinky poops,” and you must have a wipe to clean it up. Some of our loudest laughter comes from the sessions where one of us is forced to take part in naptime. Facedown, with a blanket, no exceptions or special treatment for family. Once you told Daddy he couldn’t even breathe.

In some ways, you are fearless. You love to swing high on the big swings (Mama clutches her heart here), and demand bigger underdog pushes. But certain masks and monsters are “too –cary.” We made the mistake of taking you along to the “Walking with Dinosaurs” show, and you only lasted 5 minutes. Sorry about that.

We put you in daycare two days a week last fall, and while you’ve adjusted fabulously, made friends, learned a million songs, and brought home 10,000 art projects, you just don’t love it. You resist going in the morning, and I just think it’s too long a day. We’re making a change for the fall that will shorten your day and give you more Mama time.

Lately we hear you singing snippets of songs from school: Old McDonald, Farmer in the Dell, ABC, Twinkle Twinkle, various versions of grace from preschool.

Suddenly, you are completely potty trained. After a few weeks of boycotting after a few months of stickers on the calendar as a reward, we finally went cold turkey, thanks to your preschool teacher. Almost immediately you were dry all day—and all night, with very few accidents. We caved to jellybeans to get you to use the potty, but you have agreed to stop on your birthday. While we’re trying not to wish away all the baby stuff, diapers is one thing we will not miss.

You love your brother, constantly following him around, copying him, and often terrorizing him. You are lucky that he loves being with you most of the time. You often play together for long stretches, and sometimes even without fighting. I’ll admit it, he is obnoxious and sometimes too rough with you. But you hold your own, and are often too quick to smack him or bite him. I’m torn between my own experience as an older sister who knows all about how annoying little sisters can be and trying to protect you from your big brother who sometimes doesn’t control himself well. And I can’t let you hit him, but I’m secretly proud of you for sticking up for yourself. One minute you’re smacking him, and then five minutes after I separate you, you sneak back together and I hear you comforting him in a game of pretend—“It’s ok sweetie!” So I really can’t complain—much.

Three years has gone by so fast. Lots of chaos, lots of mess, lots and lots of noise. More than we expected, I think. But we’re coming out of the fog, and I can actually see some things getting easier. When you and your brother play together and make each other laugh, or snuggle together before bed, it makes it all worthwhile. We didn’t have another baby because we felt like we had to have two kids, but because we wanted you to have each other. And you do—we do. We hope for more better than worse, and will try to remember the good times.



Love,
Mommy

1 comment:

Arzaga! said...

Beautiful girl!