Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Big & Small

Edie turned three this week.

I could write you a sappy post about what that means to me, about how for the last six weeks we have prepared for the this day by slowly weaning her off the breast, sadly and sometimes catastrophically, and that one night, it was so hard for her to give up the boob that I broke down in tears with her in my arms and apologized to her over and over until she held my face in her hands and said, "Don't cry, Mommy. I'm okay." Gah!

I could also make this post about how she goes to ballet with Lucy every Friday and how she looks in that damn adorable tutu and how, unlike Lucy who does the "kissing hand" ritual with me for like 5 minutes when she says good-bye, little Edie, little secure, confident, nothing-gets-in-my-way Edie just runs into the room without even looking back at me. Not even a wave. Or a thanks for the memories. Or hey, that was cool you did all that laboring and pushing back in July 06. Thumbs up, Ma. Nothing.

Like I'm not even there. She is definitely the kid that is going to break my heart and move half way around the world to Hong Kong when she grows up. I just know it.

And I could tell you about how she graduated from Early Intervention and speech therapy just yesterday. When she started in January, she barely said 20 words. The intake person described her as "nearly mute". Now, we can barely get a word in edge wise. She is a non-stop stream of descriptions, assessments, opinions, ideas and thoughts. She is bursting forth with singing, with nonsensical characters and stories. She is pure imagination unleashed. She has learned from Lucy to narrate everything she does..."I'm washing my hands now. Oh, where's my towel? I think I need soap. Soap is fun. I like soap..." The other day I heard Lucy tell her, "Edie, please stop talking to me so much. You're driving me crazy." Beautiful.

I could also share with you that Edie has her Mommy's temper. The difference between us is that I wage an on-going 24/7 battle to maintain and contain my hairy dragon. Edie feels no need. It doesn't happen everyday, but when just the right measure of tiredness, or frustration mixes with a lost Barbie or a spilled cup or a lost turn, the hairy dragon can come bursting out from nowhere. And it's always a doozy. She goes totally limp, screaming the most high-pitched, ear-shattering scream possible, and lays on the floor kicking in the air and throwing her hands around and begging me to pick her up, only to fight me off when I do and go completely rigid, so I can't gather her up and try to help her calm down.

One time, a few weeks ago, we were on 5th avenue in the 50's. The sidewalk was teeming with people. Edie was tired and we were weaning off the boob and she lost it over something and she screamed so loud and for so long in the middle of the sidewalk, a crowd actually gathered to watch and make sure I wasn't hurting her or kidnapping her or something. The screaming and flailing and bartering and soothing and attempted cuddling went on for almost an hour. Security people came out of their buildings to see if someone needed to be called in to help. I finally had to pick her up, amid stares and pointing and curious concierges coming off their posts to see what all the fuss was about, to sit on the floor of a nearby office building and give her boob.

Then, like that, she was fine and the tears were dried and she was asking to go to the Disney store. Go figure.

All that stuff is real and important, but what I really want this post to be about is how Edie herself characterized perfectly what I think "three" is all about.

The other day, we were at Lucy's friend's house playing. A couple of Lucy's friends still treat Edie like a baby because only recently has she caught up to them developmentally and so they often lag behind a little bit getting the hint that she isn't a baby anymore. In some ways, this works for Edie. They give her a pass on having to share and if she really wants a toy, they give it to her. She also gets to be the patient when they play doctor, the baby when they play house and these are all prime, attention-getting roles.

On the other hand, she is being directed by the other kids, told what to do, where to stand, what game they are playing next and most irritating of all, these kids often feel the need to pick her up without her permission and carry her around the room, as if she were a doll. Did you know four year olds are hard-wired in their DNA to want to pick up kids smaller than themselves and carry them around and look up at you with a proud smile and say, "See? I'm carrying her." And four year olds are also designed to be little narcissists and crap at picking up cues and so all of Edie's protests, like screaming, saying "NO", crying or running away seem to go unheard.

A day of fun and many frustrating attempts to carry Edie around the room, led to an amazing conversation she and I had in the bathroom. I was wiping her bottom. As you know, many important things happen while wiping poop from bottoms and Edie said: " Everybody thinks I'm a baby...And this makes me happy. And this makes me sad."

OH. MY. GOD. Such an abstract and complicated thing for a little kid to articulate. I was thrilled for her. Thrilled she is both big and small. Big enough to tell the four year olds to back the hell up and leave her alone and young enough to still like playing the patient who needs both a stomach bandage and a cast for her broken leg and must be rushed into surgery.

Big enough to have the words to have relationships with older kids and play imaginary games with them about dragons and princes and magical wands and gardens full of Black Eyed Susans. Big enough to be eager to go to school alone, without me. Big enough to eat sushi and love asparagus...and chocolate ice cream and M&Ms. Big enough to tell knock knock jokes and pummel her sister in a wrestling match turned all out pillow fight and say something so weirdly funny that she has Lucy hyper-ventilating and rolling on the floor.

But still small. Small enough to love to go to sleep every night in the pouch with her head on her Daddy's chest. Small enough to miss having boobie and wanting to visit them dancing in the M&M aisle in Duane Reade (that's where she thinks they went. Small enough know exactly how to drive her older sister and their friends bananas and doing it with the most menacing little grin and using that grin to totally get away with it.

Small enough to make me remember that just a minute ago, just a short blink of time ago, she was a tiny, tiny baby that I barely knew and that David and I had made and now she is all kinds of things I had no input in. She is just herself. Just Edie Just perfect. Both big and small.

Happy Birthday to my baby, Edie. God, I love her.



Cali ʚϊɞ said...

that has to be the sweetest post i've ever read! makes me appreciate those little things and love my 3yr old that much more...

Eglentyne said...

I'm sure when she's fourteen (or forty) she's going to love the pictures with the underpants on her head and her dirty feet. ;) But you've captured a moment in her life that is so lovely. Thanks for sharing.

Melissa said...

Happy Birthday to Edie. What a face. What a girl.

Kisses and hugs to you Kim. Miss you.

Cheryl Arkison said...

Definitely one of the better birthday posts. You captured your own big and small stuff in there.

The Mulligan Family said...

Perfectly said, by both you AND Edie. Happy Birthday to her - and all her perfectness!

Amy said...

For me, a great post is one that can make me laugh or cry...you've accomplished both.

Now excuse me while I go find my 3YO daughter for a kiss and hug.

Anne Stesney said...

Foster, I'm gonna kill you. Here I am all happy with my one little boy and you go up and write this amazing post and make me want to try for a daughter. (shaking fist) Grrrrrr.

Happy birthday, Beautiful Little Edie. You look just like your mommy, you lucky girl.

Tanya said...

What a beautiful post --- tantrums & all. I would be VERY interested to hear about what types of thing you did through early intervention. We are in the same type of program (dd is 2 1/2) and I'm really feeling discouraged. :( I got goosebumps reading that your dd is speaking A LOT now!

Unknown said...

This is my first time over here and of course, it's a post about weaning. I just weaned my 1 year old this week, so I'm all teary-eyed over here, reading your post. It's a beautiful tribute to your daughter! (My niece has that same exact dress, by the way!)

ntsc said...

Happy belated birthday.

The first day I took my son to day care, he screamed, cried and carried on for over 20 minutes. We really was still doing it when I left.

The second day I did manage to get out in a bit less than 5 minutes.

The third he slamned the door in my face.

APB said...

Hi Kim,

I found you through a recipe search on google and have been reading your posts since Summer '08--your blog is quite addictive.

I had a Baby Girl last winter, and she is now 8 months old. There are days when I love being a mother and then there are days when I haven't slept longer than 30 minutes, haven't eaten anything but a cracker or a baby carrot, my body aches in places that I didn't know existed and I wonder if I'm doing the right thing and if I can raise my daughter to be a 'good person.'

This post has made me so excited for what is to come in my sweet daughter's life.

I can't wait for the day when she may also wear her underpants on her head and smile at me like the world is just beautiful.

The Yummy Mummy said...

Hi everyone! Thanks everyone for your lovely, warm comments, as always. Just a couple quick responses:

Tanya - I'm happy to talk about our experience with early intervention(I really have only knowledge of the NYC system) but am happy to share what Ive learned. It is very important to take the bull by the horns if the therapy isn't working. E-mail me and I'll send you my number and we can chat more if you like.

NTSC - Is your name Warner? Is that you on my Facebook? What the hell does "NTSC" stand for? God, you're always surprising me.

APB - Thanks for calling me addictive. Other people have said that, you know, but I think they actually meant addicted! Ha! Yours is much nicer.

FYI, it's going to get a little crazier when the baby starts walking and you have to follow them around constantly to keep them from eating paint thinner and shoes and stuff but later, it gets more relaxed. Of course, by the time you are relaxed, you'll want a second and that's when the real insanity begins. I wish I had better news for ya... :)

Melissa - You're back! God, I've missed you. Been thinking about you.

SaintTigerlily said...

Sniffle. I am so behind on reading, but this was just lovely. I miss you and the girls.

Let's play soon.

Happy Birthday Edie!!

Jennifer said...

What a beautiful post for a beautiful little girl! Happy Birthday, Edie!

The New Girl said...

I am a bit late, but Happy Birthday Edie! Kim, she looks just like you. What a cutie.

Melissa said...

Did you ever get my email Kim?