I’m choking back tears as we speak. Not sweet, track-making tears, meant to be shot in stunning close-up cinematography, but hearty, blubbering sobs that scare off carnivorous mammals. Because, you are two years old today.
That’s ancient. Practically ready to retire! About to tap into your 401K. How’s it doing, by the way? Can Mommy get a little sumthin’ sumthin’?
Seriously. (Am I ever serious?)
No, seriously. You’re not a baby anymore. Well, you are a baby. You’ll always be my baby. And you still need to be held and cuddled and have your diaper changed like a baby. But, you’re not like a BABY baby. You’re a BIG GIRL baby.
I sometimes compare you to a teenager, because you are so damn moody. One second it’s sunshine and kittens and the next you’re, to quote something that Unkinan once wrote about me, “spitting daggers.” Jeez, Louise. Or is it Luis? We are in California after all, which was Mexico until the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848. I really didn’t have to google that. I was an American Studies major in college and I taught high school history. I know things. Sometimes.
So, is it Louise? Or Luis?
Louisa, because you’re a girl. Jeez, Louisa! It’s a rollercoaster of emotions with you. I don’t tolerate tantrums. But, I also understand that tears are sometimes speaking for other emotions and I also want you to know that I care for you, I hear you and I am here to comfort you. Luckily, you speak English, so that makes it easier for you to communicate your needs, allowing me the opportunity to meet them and boosting everyone’s self-esteem! I’ve been reading too many parenting articles.
When you are crying (for no particular reason that I can identify), I send you to your room to “calm down” until you’re ready to tell me what you need. I don’t intend this to be a punishment, but you must think that it is (since sometimes you are sent to your room for being nasty to me – hitting, yelling, etc.) In both cases, you go into your room and sit on the edge of your bed and mumble and ramble through tears about how mean I am or about how you’re going to make a voodoo doll of me and then Mommy will see or about how you’re REALLY going to hurt me, by running away and becoming a Republican. It’s so cute.
You’re becoming such a person these days and I can’t stop it. You walk. You talk. You jump. You run. You talk. You yell. You pretend. You sing. You talk (I wonder where you get that from?)
The other night, after you had peacefully drifted to Sleepytown, your daddy said, “Don’t you ever just want to go in there and wake her up and play with her?” To which, I replied, “ARE YOU FREAKING CRAZY?! YOU RIDICULOUS FOOL!” which woke you up.
Just kidding. You didn’t wake up. You’re a sound sleeper. And once you’re asleep, I’m happy knowing that you’re body is at rest in order to grow and gain energy for the next day ahead. NOT! I don’t care about that crap. I’m just happy to sit down and seek reprieve from the Best Selling Number One Track that’s stuck on repeat in our house: “Mommy. Mommy? Mommy! Mommy? MOOOOOMMMMMY!”
But, I do get your Dad’s sentiment. You are super fun. And I do wish that I could play with you more. It’s hard with your sissy clinging to my side like a spider monkey or zombie squirrel. But, now that she’s a little less Miss Fussy Buttons, I’ve been able to pay more attention to your Lego sculptures and block towers. Animal noises and pretend meals. This morning, as I sat nursing DJ, you went to the “coffee store Starbucks” in your play kitchen and you brought back seven cups of coffee made to order! I must say, I’m a little wired from all that pretend caffeine, but mostly concerned about where you got the money for such a nice espresso machine.
In our society, Mommies go and go and go. Or we feel like we have to, especially when we stay at home, because it feels like we need to keep up with the competition. I don’t know who the competition is. Daddy who’s busy at work all day? Or other moms? Who stay at home and bake and are working on breeding and reintrudocing California condors back into the wild? Or, worse, moms who work outside of the home and still come home at the end of the day and cook and clean and fix leaky faucets and, get this, exercise too! What the heck?! See, I’m getting wrapped up in it all. And, these days, the plethora of mommy blogs on the World Wide Web accounting all types of accomplishments doesn’t help my self-inflicted guilt levels as I sit in front of the computer screen, reading and playing with my belly button lint.
So, I’m trying to slow it down. I’m a stay-at-home mom for a reason. And that reason is you two girls.
I’m trying to spend more time playing. I’m trying to do a better job of listening. Especially when you ask, but particularly when you think no one is paying attention. Your songs and dances are beautiful. My favorite song goes a little something like this:
Neeno, neeno, neeno
Like Ava on the stage
Maribel Reyes Beadle ©2011
That’s copyrighted, folks. Jay-Z, Lady Gaga and both Justins: be warned!
Of course most parents think that their children are the BEST EVER and I hate to diverge from the norm, so I just wanted to tell you, on your second birthday, that you are the BEST EVER. Despite your undiagnosed bipolar disorder and your nasty days and the fact that you are a parasite who lived inside me for nine months and then tore your way into the world.
Lots of pain.
Right, where was I?
Despite all of that, you are the BEST EVER. As some scribes narrated it, “And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.’” (Mark 1:11, NRSV; I like this touchy feely version too.) I’m not speaking from the heavens and you’re my daughter, not my son, unless you one day undergo sex-reassignment, which is fine by me, by the way. Because, there is no way my love for you can ever be undone. And there is nothing you have to do to earn my love. Trust, disappointment—those are other things which will vary in measure, but I will love you unconditionally through the rough patches.
I love you no matter what.
And make good choices. NOT so I love you more, but so I don’t beat you.
Happy Second Birthday!