While I was away…
October 27th, 2014
I was gone for two weeks on a trip to Europe. While I was gone, this happened:
Are you seeing this? Seriously!?!
I swear to god when I left, she was a baby. And now she’s a teenager.
Okay, okay. When I left, she was five and now she’s six. Same difference.
The fact remains that my eldest child is changing before my eyes. Miss Mouse will always be precious to me in that way that firstborns are. It was she who made me a mother. Holding her in my arms in the moments after she was born, my whole world shifted.
She’s the one I’m practicing on – tackling the joys and challenges of each developmental phase together.
There are a lot of challenges. Miss Mouse is my most difficult child. Or perhaps, the word is “exasperating.” Buggie can make me see red and lose my mind entirely. But Miss Mouse regularly makes me contemplate a future life of baldness brought on by tearing at my hair in frustration.
She’s simultaneously demanding and fragile. She craves constant attention and requires endless affirmation. She’s often timid and self-conscious and has skin so thin that she is often wounded by the thoughtless cruelties of preschool. She can be reduced to tears (or stoked to a blind fury) at the thought that someone is laughing at her – even if they are truly laughing “with” her, enjoying her wit and fire.
Because she’s fierce, too, that child. Stubborn like nothing I’ve ever seen before and with an iron-clad and unshakeable sense of fairness. Particularly if she feels like a situation is not living up to that sense of fairness!
And smart. So smart, with a vocabulary that literally makes my jaw drop at times. She comes home from school shining like the sun, overflowing with the things she’s learned and can’t wait to tell us about. The books she’s reading and the new math lessons she’s learning and what is the capitol of Brazil.
She’s a real person, these days, too. She has ideas and opinions and questions about the world. We can talk now, my girl and I. Her favorite thing to do is rock in the hammock together, chatting. She and I had a date tonight and I found her to be a genuinely enjoyable dinner companion.
Miss Mouse wants the world to be beautiful. She believes in rainbows and princesses and purple-striped leggings. She’ll sit for hours with her markers, drawing pictures that are almost always designated as gifts for a family member and signed “I love you!”
I’ve given up asking her not to carry her little sister around the house. As a third-born, Birdie is necessarily tough. And Miss Mouse loves her to distraction. Ditto for her little brother…except for when they’re fist-fighting. Which is often.
Miss Mouse wears a black sparkly tutu to dance class and is looking forward to the day her hair is so long, she has to take care to keep it from falling into the toilet (she told me that tonight over dinner).
Her current career aspiration is to be an explorer and whenever she looks at the sheer rock cliffs that are common around here, she never fails to pronounce her ability to climb them.
Then she punches her brother when he disagrees.