Fwee, the number after two
April 24, 2006
“I love you better.” you say to me as I tuck you into bed. As I walk out of the room I turn to look at you in your bed. A big girl bed. You look so small lying there among the huge duvet and huge throw pillows, and suddenly the tiny purple crib blanket hardly seems adequate, though you wouldn’t dream of going to bed without it. The satin has ripped away from the blanket in several places and the soft knitted weave is beginning to unravel and fray, but still you love it.
Every night at bedtime you ask me if I can turn on the tv and “hold you”. You will drink a bottle of soymilk (”Big girls DO TOO drink bottles”) and snuggle up. Your little brother will climb all over us, sometimes trying to steal your bottle from you. But usually a couple of good whacks with the bottle from you, makes him reconsider. Then you hold onto the the blanket’s “tail” and suck on your two middle fingers.
I have never won anything in my life. I have never won a contest, or some cash from one of those scratch off lottery card things, or even a free cup of coffee from McDonald’s. I never win at anything. But somehow I won the kid lottery. And I just don’t mean by the sheer volume of kids I have somehow ended up with. But rather the fact that I have ended up with kids who are far cooler, smarter, and cuter than I could possibly deserve. Really, how did I get this lucky?
I want to dunk you in my coffee, like a chocolate covered biscotti and eat you up.
I have sat down and tried to write this post about you turning three years old several times over the last few days, and each time I do I find that I end up writing more about me than I do about you. I suppose that is how it is with mothers and daughters, as we weave our entangled web of expectations, hopes, fears, and disappointments. I can’t help but look at you and think of all the ways I hope you turn out different than I did. How I hope you are happy and fulfilled in ways that I can not even begin to fathom.
Three years ago you were born and I became a mother to a daughter. I had all but given up hope of ever having one and in fact had accepted my role as the mother of sons. In fact we didn’t even bother with the pretense of picking out a girl name. I’ll admit that after you emerged from my body in a traumatic and exhausting labor, part of which involved the doctor sticking his arm up inside me like I was his hand puppet. I had a moment of disappointment. I could never be adequate. I remember sitting in my hospital room, looking at you, and thinking, “Holy shit. Now what?”
I was the mother of sons. I knew how to do that. I was good at that. Now suddenly I looked at you in my arms and felt sad. Sad at the baggage I would inevitably pass down to you. Lord knows I have so much of it that it requires me to pull a cart behind me to carry it all. No matter how hard I try I am sure that I will pass down some of it, though I promise you I will try my hardest to keep it all to myself.
This year has been a big one. You have learned to use the potty, ride a tricycle, appreciate a good joke, and perfected your temper tantrum and crossed arm pout. You have learned to wrap your father and brothers around your finger, okay and me too. You announce to anyone who cares to listen that you do not have penis, you have a big butt and a little butt, called a china. You think armpit farts and hearty belches are the height of sophisticated humor.
You are surrounded by boys who love you. Boys who will grow up to be men who love you. And I can’t help but think how lucky you are to have that.
Annoying Rage inducing Aggravating Well meaning assholes strangers often come up to me in the store and tell me how sorry they feel for you, to be surrounded by all those boys. And how you will never have a date. They say it like that would be a bad thing. I want to tell them that no, you will never settle for a boyfriend who is abusive, or one who belittles you, or one who makes you feel diminished. You won’t because you will have the knowledge that men are not all like that. You will have six examples, six brothers, setting high the bar of expectations. And that is a good thing. Any boy who wouldn’t want to date you because they are afraid of your brothers is not someone worthy of dating.
Also, your brothers have been instructed to beat the crap out of any boy who dares to treat you badly. Don’t let the suits and the clean cut appearance fool anyone.
And so when strangers approach me and say those things, I just laugh. Sometimes I’ll say that there have been a few dates in my life that I wish I didn’t go on and turn back to my groceries, or diapers, or mega pack of toilet paper.
Sometimes you seem to embody all the stereotypes of being a girl. You love clothes. Your brothers all view clothing as a necessary evil. Something to be put on and left on as long as possible until a) I make them take it off and put on fresh clothing under threats, or b) the clothing, having achieved a life of it’s own, walks off of their bodies. You, on the other hand, love clothes. You change your outfit several times a day as well as accessorize. No outfit is complete without “pretties” for your hair, jewelry, and a twirly skirt.
You love to shop. And often will cry when we are driving home after a day of shopping, begging me to go to “just one more store, mommy.” It beings tears to my eyes, because after having endured shopping with five sons who cry and carry on like they are being stabbed with hot pokers at the very mention of shopping, it is refreshing to have a kindred spirit who understands the joy of finding the perfect shirt, pocketbook, shoes, or all three.
This frightens your father, who keeps asking you things like, “Wouldn’t you rather go fishing?” or “how about a hike?” or “Don’t you have enough shoes?” And you just laugh and wiggle your little finger around in the air, causing him to melt and throw money your way.
You love you brothers, “your boys” you call them. And they love you.
What made your birthday video so funny to us is that usually you love being the center of attention. You love to sing. And you love to make us all laugh.
This video is one I took of you right before we lit the candles on the cake. And is way more indicative of your personality. I love how you are looking around at all of “your boys” while you are singing.
And finally, I will end this with a joke from you, one that didn’t involve the words poop, potty, or other nonsense words.
“Why did the chicken cross the road?”
“Because HE WANTED TO!”
It must be a three year old chicken.
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