Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Aappy, Aappy

Three. Three years ago today you were born, my beautiful daughter. But of course, you were not my beautiful daughter on that day. It was someone else who had the fortune of taking that part of your journey with you. Someone who must be thinking of you today. Someone who must miss you in the same, deep place where you miss her - the place where you will always miss each other. Two years ago today, you woke in your small bed next to your "jie jie," and your nanny fed you breakfast of 1/2 steamed bun and a bottle of formula, or so we were told in medical and progress reports we received not long before we met you. You didn't know it then, but I was already on my way to meet you. With your photograph in a folder that I carried with me everywhere I went, I had already become your mother. We were getting visas and making travel arrangements and ticking off packing lists. We were excited, terrified and utterly in love with the idea of you. And now, here you are, just two years later, serving me a tea party on your tea set with the little blue flowers. You tell me what to eat and just how much. I hate to tell you this, but you are a little bit bossy. This may not always go over so well with others. it doesn't always go over so well with me. Because you had your party a few days early this year, the actual birthday is likely to be an anticlimax. I had to get some work done this morning, so I allowed you to watch television and spread your own jelly on waffles. The uninterrupted writing time was worth every minute I spent de-jellifying the house afterward, while you soaked in a bath. A bath that had bits of strawberry jelly floating on the water's surface. Then we put on clothes and hopped in the car for a trip to the plant store so we could buy you a birthday plant. You love the plant store. You especially love plant stores where you have an opportunity to interact with livestock or the owners' pets. There are cats who live at the local Agway. Earlier this week, you cornered one of those cats while he was face-down in a pot of catmint getting high, and you forced him to receive your stern affection. Today it was an ancient - cryptozoologically ancient - chocolate lab who lumbered into your path with a tennis ball. You played with her, tossing the ball down the rows of creeping phlox and Japanese maple trees, before she would return to you with the soggy, soil-laden ball in her massive, warty head. Then she got tired and moved on to a shady spot where toddlers could not find her. We toured the hoop houses until I couldn't stand the sicksweet hospital smell of too many flowers in too small a space. "What about a birthday lilac?" I asked. "No," you said. "I want a hot dog." "Yes, we're going to get you a hot dog at the restaurant after we leave here. But right now we're finding you a birthday plant for our garden." "Oh. Yes - a bersday lilac! What's a lilac?" We looked at the lilacs and chose a Miss Kim, guaranteed to "impress." You said that would do. With the lilac packed in the car, we headed for the Creamery for lunch. "I want a bersday hot dog and a bersday Sprite and bersday ketchup..." The woman who made your lunch asked how old you were. "I'm two and a ha-- NO, I'm THREE-year's old." We sat at the picnic table outdoors, where it was warm and the sky was dark, dark blue, and you asked me to take your picture with my phone so you could "do (your) brand new smile." You are napping now. Maybe. Tonight we will take you out to a bersday dinner for the whole family. I think you are changing as much now as during those first few months after you became my daughter - those months when you were learning a new language, a new family and new miracles like walking and eating Cheerios. One minute I'm convinced you are 7-years-old, and not possibly one day younger. You are articulate and funny and I want to spend every moment of the day listening to you. You make up jokes like singing the Alphabet, "A, B, C, Cheese, E, F, Cheese, H, I, J, K, Soap..." Fifteen minutes later, you refuse to use more than one word at a time and you are whiny and petulant and cross. You say things that are not true. "Put on your shoes, and you can go outside with me." "They ARE on," you say as you step into the yard. I look at your bare feet and say, "No. they're not." "Yes they are." This is what it is to have a 3-year-old daughter. I haven't done this before. It's hard and it's scary. For both of us. But we get to do it together. And I promise we'll have lots of lunches on picnic tables and lots of trips to the plant store and lots of warty dogs to help us along the way.


Anonymous peripateticpolarbear said...


4:19 PM  
Blogger Moreena said...

happy bersday, buttercup!
BB - you are truly one of the internetters that I would love to have in my neighborhood.

8:38 PM  

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