When I A Big Girl
September 1, 2011
© Photo courtesy of Maggie Cheung
"Mommy, when I a big girl, I have a baby in my tummy too!"
"Ummm, well, first you need a Daddy. Then you can be a Mommy."
"Jackson can be the Daddy!"
These are the kinds of conversations I'm having with my [SNIFF!] three-year-old these days. Three! Today! I can't believe it. I mean, I CAN, it is, after all, what happens. But still. I did not want this baby to grow up. Every month I told myself, "This. This is the best month." Or I would say, "I will WEEP when she is no longer a baby. She can't possibly be any cuter or sweeter when she gets bigger. WOE." And here I am today, looking at my THREE-YEAR-OLD and wishing time would stand still because seriously, Just Turned Three has got to be the best thing ever.
"What that, Mommy?"
"This is eyeshadow."
"Mommy, I put that on my eyes too?"
"No, this is just for Mommies."
"When I a big girl, I be a Mommy. Then I put that on my eyes too."
I wanted a girl so bad you guys. I know that's not the proper thing to admit in a public forum but I SO wanted a baby girl. And then I got one and I was over the moon. I remember staring at her and disbelieving my awesome luck, because I didn't just get a girl, I got THIS girl. She was sweet, so sweet, and cuddly and lovey. It was like she owned my lap. She'd just climb in and do her thing - puzzles, TV show, books, snack, whatever. There's no personal space when it comes to Molly and me. I'll lay down with her sometimes when we put her to bed and she'll rub my arm, play with my hair, or just smile at me. I am SUCH a sucker for the only-for-Mommy smiles.
"Not those shoes, Mommy. Those are not cute."
"But I like these."
"No, wear these. These are cute."
"Molly, I am not wearing four-inch heels to the playground."
"But I LIKE these."
She loves dolls and purses and play makeup and play jewelry and pretty much anything pink and girly and sparkly and branded with princesses, as much as I try to steer clear of those things. I was not that kind of kid. My dolls sat gathering dust on a shelf in my room while I ripped through stacks and stacks of paper and buckets of crayons and markers. I think I was much more like my son, and whenever I recount a Jack conversation with my mom she'll say, "you said the SAME THINGS." So sometimes I look at Molly and all at once she is familiar and foreign. A girl, like me, but a frillier, pinker, rufflier one.
"Mommy, I want to feel your baby."
"Okay. Did you feel that?"
"Mommy, I like your baby. She's going to sleep in my bed. And wear my clothes from when I was in your tummy."
"That's right! You're going to be a good helper."
"When I a big girl I have a baby in MY tummy!"
We are, understandably, COMPLETELY TERRIFIED of how new baby is going to affect Molly. She's not just our current baby, she's... well, she STILL thinks she owns my lap. I think she's going to love being the big sister helper, but only as far as the baby stays in her own place and doesn't take too much of my time. So we all know how long that will last. But she's three now and she's a big girl. You want to be a big girl, Molly? Then find me a diaper, talk to your sister so I can use the bathroom, put the silverware away while I unload the dishwasher, pat the baby when she's crying and I'm holding her - I bet you can even hold her bottle!
She starts preschool in two weeks. She no longer says my favorite word: stah-ba-weddy. She can work my iPhone and use a mouse. She wants me to paint her nails. She's opinionated about her clothes. She's eaten more vegetables by age three than I'd eaten by age 25. She likes Blue's Clues and Barney and puzzles and baby dolls and mushrooms and her grandmothers and she totally sings along to that song about the pumped up kicks. She's SUCH a big girl now, but I keep telling her, she is always going to be my baby.