My sweet little Ceci Bear,
I can’t believe you are three years old!
OK, technically you are more than three, since your birthday was a full month ago.
Believe me, I do realize that some little girls have mommies who would have had an official birthday message prepared in time for the big event, printed out on fancy paper, folded into origami owls, and embossed with some sort of organic, edible monogram she found on Pinterest. Some little girls also have mommies who perform great feats of strength for a living.
Maybe your mommy just needed a little extra time to get things just right. Or maybe your mommy is just struggling a bit with the fact that you are in fact three (and one month, I get it).
Maybe deep down, your mommy’s biggest wish for you is that you would just stay two forever. Not even specifically two, just generally two-ish and most definitely, little-ish. Because the fact is, you are getting big-ish. Where just a few months ago you were a pocket-sized peanut, a speck in the middle of your big girl bed, you have suddenly become a long, lean, jumble of limbs surrounded by a mess of crazy bed head.
And while I love that you’re becoming so much more communicative, you’re also becoming SO much more communicative which includes the bold declaration of your sudden and urgent need to poop in the middle of a grocery store at a decibel level most operatic sopranos would envy, or the equally assertive discourse issued from my bedside at 3 am that you are all done sleeping, and the general ability to talk virtually non-stop, about virtually nothing, from the backseat of the car.
So when I think of you getting bigger and older, I really do try to focus on all the wonderful things ahead, the wonderful person you are becoming, and the wonderful times we’ll share. But I can’t help but fear that every birthday brings you closer to the moment when ruffles and flowers and kitties and bows and your beloved Super Grover shirt are replaced by much….different things.
And from there it just seems like a short walk down a very scary alley to a place where you’re you’re getting piercings in places that most certainly should remain closed, and introducing me to your boyfriend, Snake, who you met online, and telling me that you’ve decided to give up that college scholarship to be a roadie for his band, Venom, and it’s all so dark that I can’t even remember a time when sunny days used to sweep all our clouds away.
But since you seem so completely determined to grow up, so resistant to the idea of staying my baby girl forever, then you’ll have to just allow me a few wishes of my own as you blow out the candles (OK, OK, you blew them out a month ago- work with me here!).
I wish I could bottle up a big batch of you at two and carry it around with me for the rest of my life. I wish I could take it out and spritz a little Eau de Deux behind my ears in those stinkier moments that are sure to come. I wish I could spray it all over the future and use its precious scent as a talisman to ward off the backtalk and the sass, because I’m sure teen spirit just doesn’t smell that sweet.
I wish your vocabulary and pronunciation weren’t expanding quite so rapidly, because quite frankly I love it when you say things like “flamily” and “my boo boo hoots” (although we really should work on the proper enunciation of the letter “l” in “clock” and it’s really not fair that I don’t correct you when you refer to a certain cartoon workman as a Dilder and not a Builder).
I wish you weren’t so darn cute because that makes the whole discipline thing a bit tougher.
I wish that I could stay up all night and watch you sleep because in your constant blur of motion, and in the chaos of daily life, I fear I don’t always see you as closely as I should. But that’s just not going to happen because let’s face it, I’m exhausted, and I’m also more than a little creeped about by that book where the mom climbs up the ladder and sneaks into her grown child’s home to watch him sleep. I’m sure in the sequel to that book he takes out a second mortgage on that house to pay his therapy bills. Boundaries are important.
I wish I could find a way to hold on to all these two-year-old moments so that they’d never dry up. I get sad enough when that little damp spot dries up- the one your freshly bathed head leaves on my shoulder when I read you stories before bed. It reminds me that no matter what happened during the day, no matter how many tantrums either one of has had, there’s always a chance to wash it off and start clean. And the damp spot is a huge improvement over the spit up spot that you left in that same place for the first year of your life.
So maybe that’s the key: maybe your mommy just needs to remember that even though things change, they often change for the better.
Maybe your mommy shouldn’t over think things quite so much.
Mona Shand and her (gasp!) 3-year-old daughter live in Brighton (along with 3 boys of assorted sizes and ages). You can read more on her blog.