Friday, December 12, 2008

Ready or Not

(With a nod to Maryann Cusimano)

I am your parent and you are my child
I am your quiet place; you are my wild…

The first sounds I hear every day are the pit-pat of pajama’d little feet running into our room and then a gravelly voice, saying, “Hi Mama!” I squint, and there she is, my little tootlebug with the big blue eyes and the two deep dimples, peering over the edge of my bed. “I wanna eat breffuss,” usually comes next.

As of today, a three-year-old is in the house. Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

The other day, I put her in her new timeout area, which is on the bed in the guestroom. I forget what heinous crime she had committed. She was up there for about ten minutes, and everything was quiet. “Poor little thing,” I thought. “She’s all worn out and has fallen asleep.” I went up and carefully opened the door. She was sitting there, nonchalantly putting pennies in between her toes with one hand. In the other hand, she held a three-year-old bottle of gripe water I’d forgotten in a drawer. She looked up and said “What IS this stuff, Mom?”

We've all been practicing the songs for Lucy's Christmas program, which is next week. The grand finale is a big birthday cake for Jesus and a song. The lyrics are, "Happy birthday, happy happy birthday, come and celebrate the birthday of the King!" Elaine throws her head back and sings at the top of her voice, "Happy birthday, happy happy birthday, come and celebrate the birthday of Meeeeeeeeeee!"

Relations between her and Lucy have been…I believe the word is volatile…of late. One minute they are playing and giggling together, the best of friends. The next minute there is screaming and wrath aplenty. The other day they were going at it in the car, Elaine pushing Lucy’s buttons and Lucy letting her buttons be pushed until she was almost in tears. Finally Elaine looked at her and roared, “YOU’RE DUST SUPPOSED TO IGNORE ME!”

As December 12 dawns again, I think back three years ago to that little baby who had been ever-so-deceptively quiet in the womb, yet burst out impatiently in a 4-minute delivery, so fast the blood vessels in her eyes burst. That should have been a pretty good indicator for us what we were in for. Her personality has burst into our rather sedate little family, and we have never been the same since. We are definitely not able to ignore her.

And so today as we approach her adventurous third year, what do I want to say to Elaine Frances? I guess just that I am her parent; she is my child. I am her quiet stroll through the neighborhood; she is my roller coaster ride.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I love you so much, sweet littlest girl.

Happy 3rd Birthday!



Melanie said...

Happy Birthday, Happy Happy Birthday! Happy Birthday to Elaine! Hooray! May all her birthday wishes come true.

This post had me laughing so hard, Alice. I've been in Alice withrawl this week. I hope you and the girls are having a wonderful time preparing for the holidays and Elaine's birthday.

Juliet said...

Happy Birthday to Elaine! We love her dearly.