My little big girl,
I’m not allowed to call you my baby anymore, according to you. “I’m a BIG GIRL, Mama” is the response, and when I try to explain that you’re still my baby you firmly disagree, aided by the fact that there is an actual baby waiting in my belly. Maybe a month ago you came and laid down beside me after your bath and I marvelled at just how physically big you actually are, all legs stretching out and a body that never stills itself until you are completely locked into sleep. That’s the only time that you still look like my baby, actually, when you are snuggled up, quiet, breathing deeply with your thumb half in your mouth.
All those glimpses of personality we saw emerging, almost from day one, are real parts of a real person, now. As a tiny baby you were frustrated when you couldn’t move, couldn’t talk, couldn’t get to where you wanted to go and tell us what you wanted to say. Now you are able to express those opinions in great, loud detail, and you make sure we know exactly what you want to do, how you feel, and how much you want to do things by yourself. Every weekday when you come in from school I laugh at how you fling your boots off of your feet, madly kicking at the air until they go flying.
At the same time you love to be a helper. It’s one of your favourite roles to take, at home and at preschool. You help your teachers with the younger kids, you pick up messes, you are utterly enamoured with Kii-go the fish. At home you want to fold laundry, cook dinner, build things and decorate things and get the woodstove going. You’re intensely proud of your accomplishments, and have mastered the art of being proud of yourself. I’m glad you’re proud, because we are, too. And you’ve been telling me that you are going to be the one to change baby brother’s diapers, so…
On Mondays and Wednesdays I watch you trying to skate. The program doesn’t give the kids any aids to get up on the ice and you’ve been at it for a month, still trying to get your feet under you. You had one terribly frustrated day, but other than that, you’re content to keep trying, and when that doesn’t work, you’re just as content to make snow angels on the ice and try to entice the other kids to join you in your knee-scooting away from the teachers. When you toddle out into the stands you always want to know what sticker you got on your helmet, and to tell us that you “skated really, really hard today!”
At 2, 3, 4 a.m., I often hear your little feet hit the floor, running toward my room. You climb into bed with me and say, “I’m just bisiting you, Mommy.” And then you kick your freezing cold feet into me, snore in my ear, and gradually take over the entire bed until I lift you up and out to your own bedroom again. It drives me nuts but at the same time I love those quiet, dark moments, knowing that when you need comfort and warmth, you are secure in the knowledge of where to find it.
Three years ago today we were all waking up out of a trying several days, and seeing your face made it all worthwhile. I cried a lot in those early days, not out of sadness, but because I loved you so much that my heart couldn’t bear it. Now we’re getting ready to do it all again with your brother, and I am so grateful to you for making me a mama, for showing me my own bravery, for teaching me the ways of motherhood so that I can do it all over again.
At age three you love dinosaurs, mothering your stuffies, noodles, raiding the snack drawer I put in the fridge for you, NOT wearing jeans, stickers, a whole range of terrible children’s TV, babies, taking care of the cats, birthdays… and we love you. So much.