Monday, August 27, 2012

A Ridiculous Beam Of Sunhine and Love

You ridiculous beam of sunshine and love. At 20 months I am gobsmacked in love with you. I am your Momma. I am 37. I am yours completely. I adore you, every inch. Even when you drive me nuts I am so glad to be going nuts over you. You wake in the middle of the night still. You don't open your eyes, mostly. Mostly, you lie with your eyes squinched tightly and say 'Momma? Momma?' in your tiny tiny voice and whatever I am doing- writing, usually- I stop and come over and stick a booby in your mouth and say 'Momma's here' and you make this incredibly blissful face that if painted would include a slight, smug raising of the eyebrows and a sleepy contentment of the cheek and mouth. I think this little exchange summarizes our entire relationship. You have complete and total trust and faith in me and my love and my willingness and ability to take care of you in any situation, and I do so while feeling like the luckiest person on the planet to be adored in this primal and Universal way. Even nights when I lie down resentfully, wanting to finish a sentence, the river running through is always there, always saying something like: this is over so soon, nothing is more essential or important, i love you, i'm so lucky and so the two rivers run next to each other not conflicting, each with perfect right to be there. You love to turn light switches off and on, wear everyone's shoes downstairs ( Daddy's shoes! you squeak ) hug Wolfgang, empty the dishwasher, take all the books off a bookshelf, draw on yourself and various furniture with markers, ( sometimes you like to draw on paper, too ). There is a laminated picture of Daddy in his truck that he must have for work, ( Daddy's vroom vroom truck ) and when you have just had enough we give it to you to look at, and kiss, which you happily do. You steal gum, open it and sit and chew it happily until someone catches you.  You climb on everything- last night Daddy and I caught you standing inside a bathroom drawer, balanced on the edges of the drawer to get more height for leveraging yourself in grabbing all that way up high stuff you aren't supposed to have: razors, toothpaste, body cream. You recently started saying I'm sorry and always add the offended family member's name: I'm sorry Daddy. I'm sorry Wola. Dakota's best friend spent last weekend at the house and when he bumped into you on his way past, you offered I'm sorry Yake. His name is Jake but I don't think he minded. 

The last few days you've been teething badly again, two teeth coming in, and you are a different child when teething: angry, violent, prone to fits. This morning you woke up and stuffed your fingers in your mouth. A minute later you lunged at me and grabbed my hair and yanked. Ow! I yelled, untangling your fingers. I looked at your face as I sulked. You had that dazed, confused look toddlers often get when doing or after doing things like having fits, hitting or throwing toys at people, and I was reminded for the millionth time how little you comprehend of your own body and what you do, and how completely incapable you are of understanding that anyone around you could be hurt by you.. I sowwee momma, you said, patting my face. I sowwee.  I thought of how Penelope Leach talks about the way that toddlers and little children get so afraid of their own fits of emotion, how they don't understand what is happening to them or how to control it, and how terrifying it is for them when not only do they feel out of control, but then the adults around them lash out toward them. It is very scary for them, and they feel that no one is in charge, no one knows what to do. I believe that giving children the feeling of security- that someone knows what they hell they are doing around here- is the most essential thing about parenting young ones, after love.  

You love mac and cheese, avocado and black beans, string cheese, water, chocolate milk, apples, grapes and still eat mixed veggie pouches. You love Lola's dolls, the Fabulous Four especially- the four she plays with daily- and call all of them Abby. Abby is your favorite- the baby doll with hacked off hair ( Lola clipped it off in chunks when she was five ) who rarely is dressed. You carry them around until you are sick of it and then just toss em, wherever you are. Oh mang, you say regretfully as you point out to me where you threw them down. Sowwee Abby. 

I kiss you a billion times a day. You have the most kissable bridge of nose ever. I kiss your little toddler mouth and sturdy short legs and fat belly, the bottoms of your feet and along your arms, inside your neck and on  your cheek- the flat of your hand. 
I have, for months and months, said in a sing song: You want a yittle bit tootsie eye in your mouth?
Meaning, would you like to nurse? And now you say 'tootsie eye mouth?' when you want to nurse, and when you finish nursing you often pull away, look up at me with those enormous doe eyes and say ' Mm (in an approving grunt ) tootsie eye mouth. ' and then look at it, in case I was missing your point.

The thing you do that breaks my heart open right now is when you are stuck somewhere, like on a chair, or fell down somewhere, like off a chair, or afraid of something, like the vacuum cleaner, you get very still and say in the calmest,  most unremarkable voice, Momma? So that if someone else was listening they would never guess anything was wrong. You simply say Momma? and I come over and you look up at me calmly and it breaks my heart wide open.

You love cars and your car activity center, you love Barney. I can't even talk about how much you love Barney. You don't, won't, watch anything else. We watch one Barney in the morning and one around seven, before your bath. You say Barney with reverence. I'm sorry you watch any T.V., I really am, but you are the fourth kid. And I am a writer at home. So there you go: Barney.

All your siblings are the best versions of themselves with you, and I did not calculate how totally stoked I would feel watching them love you and care for you.  You are like gorilla glue that was added to our family bond.

Daddy is the sweetest Daddy to you. He takes care of you with such grace and tenderness and patience and interest in who you are as a little person. He plays with you, bathes you, changes you, chides you, feeds you, and our favorite little ritual is when Daddy and I take you and sometimes Lola on a stroller walk down the street and through the big park with the choo choo train and the stream. Daddy sometimes hurries in and looks past me to see where his little girl is, and it makes me love him even harder.

Last night when we were trying to have 'romantic time' in the bedroom and you banged on the door and all? That wasn't so great. That wasn't one of your finer toddler moments. Just saying. Your sister was SUPPOSED to be watching you, but I found out she was busy being a social butterfly fifth grader and lost track of what you were doing. Grounded for life! 

I have to go pick your sister up from Girl Scouts now, so I'll scoop you up and kiss you and off we'll go. She will slide into the car shrieking ' Kinny! Kinny ! '  and you will smile at her that special smile and I will be like 'WOAH. I'm so lucky.'

And so I am.

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