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.