Ms. Four Year Old

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As of January 29, little Edie is even less little.  All limbs.  Choppy bangs from cutting her own hair.  Mastering sarcasm at an alarming rate.  And flying between stunning maturity and temper tantrums all the livelong day.  Her interests include star-nosed moles (they are awesome), princesses (especially Kate Middleton), motherhood, and gravity; as it sounds a little optimistic to her that this cock-eyed theory keeps us stuck to the Earth.  Because she does not want to fly away, having been told that one cannot live in space.  Which brings us to a corollary interest: mortality.  She doesn’t say “Mom, I am going to live with you forever.” But instead, “Mom, I am going to live with you until I die.”  Well, that’s more… accurate?  It stings every time.  But, death is real.  And I think about it a lot.  Not ponder it.  But it occurs to me all the time.  It always has.  When my mom was late from work, I would cry silently in my room to come to terms with her end.  And then wiped my cheeks and went on with my day when she did in fact return.  Then there is the fact that Edie’s middle name comes from an aunt who she will never meet, because she died before Edie was born.  So, in the always advisable category of experimental parenting, I am trying to be (gentle) but totally open and honest about death with her.  And see how that goes.

Edie is the best and the worst big sister.  But best wins out, I think, when push comes to shove.  In our house, she is wont to lose her temper with him, yelling and smacking.  Or constantly ask me to curb him or take things away from him.  But in the secret moments, or when I am not around, I know she is so protective of him.  We left little bro at a friend’s house on her birthday so we could have dinner with Amma and Afi, my parents, in relative peace.  She was so excited.  Talked about it for days.  And then, when it was time to actually take him out of the car and drop him off, she was stone faced.  Throughout the dinner, she wondered aloud how Eli was.  I think they will be just fine.

And she is still a mama’s girl.  Less so.  But still.  These days, I love it.  I never minded it so very much, but it made babysitters and the like a very traumatic proposition.  She’s good with sitters now.  But she loves to be my side kick, and I mostly love it too.  When I tuck her in, she says “Mom, lets chit chat about our days.”  And she asks me whether I am going to drink wine and watch grown up TV (she’s referring to 30 Rock reruns, by the way).

Soon, I am going to have my first trip away from her where Dad won’t be there to fill in.  Grandma Sally is staying with the kids, and I am so grateful and excited.  But already a little sad, too.  I feel naked without Edie at my side.  Or at least like a different self.  I told her so while we were running errands the other day, and she pulled out some gems from the ether when I did.  I jotted down our conversation so I wouldn’t forget it.

Mom: I am really going to miss you when Dad and I are in San Diego.

Edie:  That’s okay, mom! Because I have a drawer with my love and I can give you some!

M: Really!? That sounds great! Can I have some in my suitcase?

E: Yes! I will pack it for you.

M: And for my purse?

E: Yes! And I can just stick some on you.

M: I would love that.  It would make me feel so much better.  When you give away love, do you get more love?

E: Yes, I do! And when I am sleeping, my love sticks to me, so I don’t even have to hold on to it.

M: [Big blinks. Something got in my eye.]

It was easy to wish away that first year of babyhood.  Not that in a sweeping way, but in little increments.  Oh, I just want to get to the point where I get three hours of sleep in a row.  Or I can’t wait until she can go a few hours without nursing. And It will be so great when she can crawl/walk/talk. And the even smaller When we are just done with this cold(or stomach bug, or teething), then I will be ok….  I don’t blame myself for it.  And maybe it’s inevitable with the first child (and second, but a little less that time).  Babies are just so hard!  And so magical!  But woman cannot function on magic alone.  We are now getting to a point where she is so independent and grown up that even during the crazy times – because we still have a lot of those – it’s become easier to breathe through it and not wish it gone.  Now the challenge is more often not to shed tears for how fast it’s going by.  (My challenges seem to largely revolve around not crying…)

So, happy birthday, Edie!  Here’s to another year of laughing, hopefully less screaming, and of course, more bumming out your Dad  by you asking what a cemetery is.

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