Monday, September 27, 2010

This Stay-At-Home Mom, In A Coffee Shop While Her Kids Are At School

How did you get so big?
When did you learn so much?
Did I teach it to you? Or did you absorb it from society? What do you think about it all?

When did you get so tall? Did it happen at school, when I wasn't watching? Is that why you woke up crying last night? Because your bones were growing, again?

Who taught you to talk like that? You sound more like your 6-year-old cousin than yourself these days. You have inflection and attitude and a very teenaged opinion of your ideas. Pardon me while I gently remind you that you are still four-and-a-half.

How is it for you, leaving for school for so long, so often? You seem to love it. It must be difficult, sometimes. These are new teachers, new kids, a whole new school. There is nothing familiar here. How are you so brave? Why don't you worry like I do?

Why are you in school? You should not be ready yet. Are you, really? Are you sure?

You are just a baby. You are a baby. You're a baby, a baby, my baby. Why are you so eager, so jumping-bean excited, to go to school twice a week? How can you leave me? Can you possibly miss me as much as I miss you? Do you miss me at all?

Was I not doing enough with you? Were you bored? Was I not meeting creative and outdoor-play needs? Were our days not stimulating enough for your clever brain? Should I let you go that third day a week, like you want to? Am I starting to let you direct your life, 15 years too soon? Can you believe, can I believe, that in a few months you'll be 3? And yet, only 3!

Do you get frustrated at school? Can you even squirt the glue on your projects? Are you proud that you're there? Do you stand up for yourself?

And still, you are so small. You are only 4 (and that all-important half). I tend to think of you, to speak to you, to expect you to be, like a friend, a sister to my sister and me. Why is that? Is it because my mother did that with me? Is it because you can often act like you're older? You have a way of hanging out in which you go with everyone's flow, being one with the situation, whether it's at Dad's work, shopping with Grandma or mingling in a room full of grown-ups. I constantly have to remind myself that you're small, still.

I am not goofy with you. I don't lean toward the cuddly stuff. You crave these things from me. I watch you do them with others and I make a mental note to do them myself. I don't know why, but I am not inclined to constantly squeeze and hold and snuggle you, as I am to bake and read and play with you. And then you remind me, by becoming overly bouncy or giggly when I hold you, or by asking me to carry you this time. And I feel terrible.

Because I've always got you in my arms. I can't stop cuddling you. I am horrified by the idea that the new baby, the much-wanted and already-so-loved new baby in our family, will steal your baby status, just like I was with your sister when you were on your way. And you did. And the new baby will. Will I have enough room, mentally, for all of that love? Will you suddenly become a mature little kid, like your sister seemed to? Please, please don't. It's not that it's a bad thing to do - your sister handles it beautifully - but you are so good at being a baby. Don't you think? As you are school this very minute, don't you think you are a baby? Or have you left that behind for good?

1 comment:

Liza said...

Lis- This may be my all time favorite post of yours. I love it. Would you, could you write one for badly I want to do this but I don't muster the time. You rock! I am praying ferverishly for that new baby of yours. You inspire me! Thanks.