Who’s More Mature – Me or the 3-Year-Old? by Melissa Swedoski
My first born, the love and light of my life, the reason for so many tears and so much laughter, is turning 3 next week. We’re going to have a little family party this weekend, and she’s going to get to enjoy the bounce house she’s been asking for since the one she frolicked in at New Year’s. Of course, the concept of renting might prove to be problematic when the party is over, but we’ll cross that ugly bridge when we get there, right?
Our little Annie is one big ball of energy. She doesn’t even sleep as much as “normal” kids (at least what the books tell me is normal), but when she does crash, she crashes hard. Sometimes I can convince her to sleep a little longer if I let her in our bed, but she usually gets a case of the giggles and all bets are off. Last weekend she appeared at my bedside at 6:45 a.m. and announced, “I want to play with you, Mommy.”
Annie was a slow starter with the verbal communication. Truth be told, we made it easy on her, since we catered to her grunts and points. But when her little sister started talking before she turned 1, the pressure was on. Especially with the addition of daycare/preschool in her life, Annie is a talking machine. Last night, she put together one of the longest sentences I’ve heard from her: “No, don’t take my blanket away from me!” She was under the impression that someone was trying to steal it. Whatever.
She’ll tell me that her sister is her best friend and she loves her. Then about two minutes later, they are fighting over the baby strollers. Of whiche we have two. And they look exactly alike. Toddler rules are very complicated.
Annie was our infertility baby. She was the one that we were blessed with after several IVF tries. She didn’t really want to be bothered to come out of the womb. I had two days worth of P-gel to try and kickstart labor, and got 1 cm dilated. I remember – in my delirium – pushing and pushing and she wouldn’t come out. Through my tears, I asked my sister, “Why won’t she come out??” It’s funny now. Not so much then.
She has taught me to remember to look at the world with wondering eyes. You don’t always have to be suspicious of people and their motives. Strangers aren’t always as scary as my newspaper reporting years ingrained in me. It’s okay to wear mismatched clothing. Not that many people are really looking, anyway. Listening to the same song four times in a row is actually quite fun.
The thing about kids is that they greet every day with the look of wonder and amazement. They haven’t been jaded yet. They haven’t had their hearts crushed (no matter what they say when you won’t get them something out of the vending machine), and they haven’t had their dreams altered by unexpected life circumstances. Annie reminded me that it was okay to dream. And thanks to Annie, we got our second born, the one all the doctors said wasn’t possible.
I think my daughter is fairly mature for her age. She is well behaved at restaurants, is polite to strangers, doesn’t hit or bite other kids (the non-sibling ones, anyway), and gives lots of hugs and kisses and “I love you’s.”
Me, on the other hand, well, I’m still snarky about new people (especially when wearing my judgy mom robes), I will make a scene in a restaurant if I’m displeased, I’ve been known to both hit and bite other people (though usually not strangers), and I’m a little more stingy with my hugs and kisses. But I say “I love you” more now than I ever have, and it’s the most blissful feeling in the world.
Happy Birthday, beautiful Annie. I wish I could bottle up this moment and keep it forever.