Not so little anymore

standard September 7, 2010 1 response

On Thursday I took Little L for her 3 year check-up. This is the first of the “big girl” check-ups. The one without the baby scale and tape measure. She stepped on the scale and stood up straight and tall to let the nurse measure her. The results astounded me. She however was completely unfazed and went on to ace her eye exam. She skipped off to the exam room where she charmed the socks off the doctor. One no-shot-today happy dance later and we were out of there, medical record sheet for the school in hand.

As I buckled Little L into her car seat I marveled at how big she’s gotten. She was talking a mile a minute and for a moment I couldn’t see even a glimmer of the baby she used to be.

Her big girl status isn’t just being tested by the doctor’s office; she starts preschool tomorrow. In the morning I’ll pack a change of clothes and some diapers into her brand new Dora backpack and I’ll walk her into her classroom. Tomorrow I get to spend the morning with her, but Thursday I’ll have to leave her at the door. I’ll be leaving her with teachers I don’t yet know, but who come highly recommended by people I do know and trust. She already has a friend in the class, and knowing her she’ll have ten more by the end of the week.

You’d think I’d weep as I walk away. But I really don’t think I will. 

This is going to be an amazing thing for my baby, the one who is already rhyming and learning her letters. She’s going to be on her own there, not in her sister’s shadow, and she is going to shine. I see glimpses of the preschooler in her when I watch her do crafts – cutting things out with intense concentration. Or when I hear her starting to stand up to her rather bossy older sister, insisting that the game go the way she wants it to for once. And I know that preschool is going to be great for her because it’s going to allow her to hone all those skills and develop new ones.

On Thursday she measured a whopping 38 3/4 inches tall -that’s a full 2 inches and a quarter taller than her sister was at that age – physical proof that I’m not kidding when I tell my friends that my baby is a monster. Or rather, as the doctor put it, that she looks like a 4-year-old and it’s a good thing she speaks and acts like one too.

So, yes, my baby hasn’t really been a baby for a while. She’s not even a toddler anymore. Tomorrow morning she’ll officially become a preschooler and while I’m sad to say goodbye to our infant years, I’m not worried about her in the least. On Thursday when the doors close, I’m going to walk away knowing that she’s good and ready for this transition.

Whether I’ll ever be ready to stop calling her Little L is a whole other question.

Birthday with a side of whine

standard August 2, 2010 2 responses

The big 3-year-old birthday weekend started with

and ended with

which all looks sweet and loving and fun, but in the middle there were a lot of tears and even more whining.

It seems that our delightful oldest, always the first to comfort, cuddle, and love on her little sister, always first to make sure everything is fair and shared, only does well when she’s top dog.

And well, on her little sister’s birthday, she wasn’t, and she didn’t like it one bit.

The whining started as soon as they woke up, once she realized that the pile of wrapped presents didn’t contain one for her. I had warned her the night before that I didn’t have something for her, but that we’d be going to ToysRUs sometime during the day so that Little L could pick out her bike and while we were there she’d be allowed to pick out one. small. toy.

She spent the entire day whining and begging to go to the toy store. And when I say the entire day, I’m not exagerating one bit. She whined in the house, she whined through lunch, she whined at the birthday party for her best friend, she whined before nap, she whined after nap, she whined at the zoo (after whining that she didn’t want to go to the zoo), and she whined at dinner.

The only time she didn’t whine? Was when we were actually at the store. Oh, and when she was busy being mean to her sister, the birthday girl.
 
I’m tough with C. I don’t let her get away with much, and she’s usually pretty easy and good which is why this weekend was extra painful. We hated seeing this side of her, this calculating and comparing side, which weighed every single thing to make sure she was getting equal compensation. It was a brutal awakening to the fact that when it comes to her and Little L we usually let her be the boss. Since she’s usually so good at making sure that her sister gets her share, we didn’t realize what was going on.

This weekend Little L was delighted to be the center of attention, delighted to get to call the shots, delighted to be the one getting the better toys. When C whined she’d just stamp her foot, declare “It’s MY birthday!,”and completely refuse to back down.

This weekend marked more than just the beginning of Little L’s 4th year, I think it also marked the beginning of a more fair space, where C isn’t the only one who gets to decide what happens where. It’s time for Little L to get her time in the sun. She’s definitely not “just the baby” any more.

Babes on the 4th of July

standard July 6, 2010 Leave a response

The picture I took of Little L last 4th of July sits on my desk at work. I can’t get enough of her blue eyes and the hint of baby that still framed her little face. This year I tried to snap a similar shot and failed miserably. I got the eyes, but the baby was all wiped from her frame. (Unlike the chocolate which was everywhere.)

That was the only sad note all evening. The girls and I had a blast dancing to the big band featured by the country club where my in laws invited us to celebrate the holiday. The music was awesome and we danced and sang until it was time to head home.That is, when we weren’t posing with our balloons.

 

My plan was to let M and his old college roommate go watch the fireworks while I tucked the girls into bed. Instead I let M talk me into taking the girls to their very first fireworks display.

I was concerned about the whole late hour aspect of the event, but C, in all her 5-year-old wisdom, came up with the perfect solution – pajamas and brushed teeth before going to find the fireworks. We dashed home and changed everyone then dashed back out pajama clad and loveys in hand arms.

An hour later, after much hunting for a parking space and finally abandoning the car in a no-parking zone, we made our way through the throngs of people waiting to watch the fireworks. Every time a firecracker popped Little L squealed “I saw one! I saw one!”

We finally found a spot that was deemed acceptable by everyone (Read: I said, enough is enough, we’re sitting here.) and we spread our blanket out and waited. And waited. And waited. Luckily we spotted a few isolated fireworks in the far distance and I got to watch Little L’s eyes light up in utter amazement.

By the time the real show started I realized I had been overly hasty in my spot choosing. Everyone around me had a great view, for me all the fireworks were exploding behind a leafy tree branch. It didn’t really matter though, the real show was taking place in my lap and next to me.

C, to my left, kept murmuring “This is so awesome I can’t even close my ears!” and Little L, on my lap, was gazing upwards, jaw dropped, my hands clasped tightly to her ears.

Halfway through the show Little L decided she had had enough and turned away from the lights and the noise. She buried herself in my neck, cuddling her lovey hard. I don’t know if she found the fireworks overwhelming or if she was just tired after a very long weekend. All I know is that, in that moment, holding her tightly to my chest, I recognized the baby I couldn’t find in my viewfinder at the start of the evening.

The only casualty was a box of whoopie pies

standard May 21, 2010 11 responses

Until recently I never put a child in a shopping cart without working straps. I was always anal about making sure they were buckled in safely and securely. I’d read stories about children standing up to grab something and falling out, sustaining horrendous head trauma, and I just couldn’t deal with the thought of that happening to one of my girls.

But they’ve grown since. They’re smart and they know I’m not kidding when I tell them they have to stay sitting if they want to stay in the cart. And they’re good! They do what they’re told.

Last week the girls and I stopped at Trader Joes on our way home for a few staples (chocolate covered pretzels, Jojos…) and some pizza dough for dinner. We shopped quickly and hurried back out to the parking lot. I parked the cart on the sidewalk and told Little L to stay put while I went to unlock the car.

That’s when, out of the corner of my eye, I saw the cart start to roll. I had assumed that the slight angle of the sidewalk wouldn’t be an issue, that Little L wouldn’t move. I hadn’t realized that if she shifted in her seat or moved her legs, that the cart would move from it’s spot and start to roll towards the curb. But it did.

I dropped everything I was holding and flew towards her, but I wasn’t fast enough. It felt like that horrible dream when you have to get somewhere, but you can’t snap out of slow motion. All I could see were the lose straps of the unsnapped restraints and look of pure terror on my baby’s face. I was less than two feet away, but the cart’s wheel had fallen off the curb and the cart itself had tipped over all the way long before I ever made it to her side.

I watched her little face as the cart went down, watched her head rush towards the cement sidewalk and not hit it. I don’t know how she didn’t split her skull open. I don’t even understand how she didn’t even touch the ground. All I know is that by some insane miracle she was fine.

One of us must have screamed because people came running from every which way. As they hurried over, time slipped back into regular mode and I was able to rush the last foot to her and scoop her out of the cart. She clutched at me like she was never going to let go, which was fine by me. Without loosening my grip I checked her little legs, her little arms, but everything was fine. The only casualty of the event was a box of whoopie pies that a store employee raced to replace.

We clung to each other until she started snuffling and asking for her lollipop. I found it stuck to her dress and peeled it off carefully. She popped it right back into her mouth, oblivious to the fuzz that coated one side, and buried her head back into the crook of my neck. I looked at the crowd of worried faces surrounding us and told everyone that she was fine, that we were fine, and reluctantly they all peeled away one by one.

With everyone gone and our groceries rescued from the cart there was nothing left to do other than put the girls in their car seats and head home. C busied herself making her sister laugh and I turned on the radio to listen to the traffic report. It all seemed so normal and routine. The only hint that anything had been wrong a moment ago were the tear tracks down Little L’s face, the knot in my stomach, and the bruises that appeared on her legs a day later.