Winter arrived this month. I chase you around the house in the mornings, still dark; trying in vain to get you to keep your socks on; to sit under a blanket on the couch while you watch cartoons. You wear striped thermals under all your clothes; your super hero second skin. I tie towels about your shoulders at bath time, and fly you into bed.
I assembled your bunks this month; Theo on the top, Mabel on the bottom. Our nightly ritual now including me banging my head; catching a shoulder; injuring myself somehow, just trying to get to you for kissing; on your castle, in your little cave. They are a pain in the arse to make, to make nice of the nightly knots you make of your bedding, but I do, because doing so is a part of our rhythm. Like dance parties before dinner. Like 1000 kisses a day.
There are some parts of parenting that took no consideration for me. They arrived with a knowing, just like you both did. I knew I would have you both at home. I knew I would stay home with you once I had you. These decisions decided themselves. They were just what was going to happen. I never measured them alongside anyone else. I think we get so lost navigating by the belief that we are having a comparative experience with others. That my not doing what you have done is a judgement upon your choices, or vice versa. Where we are lucky enough to be empowered with options, what works for one may just not work another. It’s a process, not a competition. Try to remember that.
Mae; you are a party girl. When you were a baby, you thought that was your name. You responded to it; looked up at us, from where you bum-shuffled; hands full to treasure or contraband, usually one in the same. “What you doing, Party Girl? Where you going?”. You would invariably hit us with the full force of your grin, your whole face the Sun. Before scooting off somewhere new, ready to party; somewhere the chaperones weren’t such a drag. You can fall asleep standing up, and did so this month, further testament to your party girl powers, and some serious Darwinning. Most of your top teeth are chipped; from dancing, from falling, from your hereditary perilous sense of adventure. Your language is developing in leaps and bounds. You decided at 1 that you spoke English; ready to communicate, to express, to get together and feel alright. Now 4 months shy of 3 years old, you are all the time refining, elaborating, exploring language and all it can lead you to. Sitting on the couch last week, you danced in to the room and took me by the face. You took a deep breath before yelling, point-blank, ‘THESE ARE MY EXTRA SKILLS” apropos of nothing.
Theo; you know your left from right; which is often confusing and frustrating for both of us, because I don’t. Not without having to think about what hand I write with, anyway. You told me the other day that you wanted to be a doctor. And a digger. And to work at the dairy. You love Louis Armstrong and can tell the difference between a trumpet and an oboe, which is a pretty great party trick, for a 3-year-old. You have mastered the art of the leading statement, often opening with, ‘so, I’ve been thinking…’. You’d live at the library, if only they’d feed you. You asked me just now, ‘what’s the good news and what’s the bad news?’, which is pretty demonstrative of your thought process. What are my options here? Is there room to negotiate? What are the benefits? What are the drawbacks? You hate to be rushed, but are easy to reason with. Except for the times there is no reasoning with you. You get that from me.
You are all the colours at once, the pair of you. Flags held high, tales trailing behind you. Filling yourselves up. Forging new ground.
May which ever road you choose, always rise up to meet you.
I love you without measure,