A few months ago a woman approached me in the grocery store and told me she also has a red headed daughter. Which did not come as a surprise because this happens several times a day – people seeing you and then telling me all about each and every person they’ve ever met with red hair or asking me what side of the family it comes from or how you’re going to have a temper like a demon and I’m all, “Yeah yeah yeah why don’t you tell me something I don’t know, and hey can you so me a solid and make sure these kids don’t dive out of the shopping cart while I run to the bathroom?”
Anyhoo, what was different about this conversation was that the woman told me I should put a nickel in a jar every time someone comments on your hair and I’ll be able to pay for your college. And she’s right. However, I have decided I am instead going to spend said red headed comment fortune on a nice long vacation for myself when you turn eighteen because I have a feeling that will be more important than your education.
Last week you turned two. And, OH GIRL, are you ever two. On the one hand, you are the most affectionate child I’ve ever known. I no sooner pick you up than you snuggle your little head on my shoulder, wrap your arms around my neck and lovingly pat my back. At any point in the day you will drop whatever it is you’re doing if I ask you to give me a hug. When your sisters were babies they would push me away if I even thought about rocking them, leaving me secretly smelling my armpits on the way out the door. But you will still gladly indulge me in a rock until someone (usually my arm, but I can’t bring myself to move it and let the moment end) falls asleep.
Now. On the other hand. Last week you hit me in the head with your bike helmet as I was carrying you to time out. Yesterday afternoon I was laying on the couch and you quietly walked up beside me then out of nowhere wildly flailed your arms at my face, landing three good ones on my cheek and eye before I caught your hands because apparently you wanted me to change the channel.
Which leads me to a couple conclusions:
1. You may or may not be possessed by a demon, and
2. I am terrified of you becoming a teenager. Because if you go this coo-coo over a little cartoon, wait until your bangs don’t look right even though you have sprayed and teased them to high heaven and you have to go to middle school looking like a rat fresh out of a wind tunnel and you are positive you’ll never have a boyfriend and therefore die old and alone. Now, that… THAT is something to hit someone in the face over, sister.
The good thing about being the third child with two older sisters so close in age is that you have a fresh mold to grow into. Like, I’m pretty sure you’ll be human again when you turn four. And if not I have seen the beauty of five-day pre-school and it is sweet, my little stinker, it is sweet. I feel like I’m so much more relaxed with you because I know this tender life stage does not last forever. I wasn’t so sure of that two years ago.
Another benefit of being the youngest is that you may be the most well-spoken two-year-old who has ever lived. We have had complete conversations for the past eight months, which I have come to take for granted until I notice jaws drop when people hear you speak. You can count to twenty, say your ABC’s and order your martini just the way you like it. It’s like someone forgot to tell you that you’re only two. I’ll walk in to get you out of your crib in the morning and see something like this:
I have no idea where you got a sleep mask, much less how it made its way into your crib or how you knew what to do with it. It scares me how you figure stuff out. Also if you could figure out how your hair gets like this every day it would really be beneficial for us both.
You are my last baby, so you’ll have to forgive me as I try to stuff your feet into your little black shoes one last time because I just can’t bear the thought of packing them away for good. Or if you’re still sleeping in a crib at age seven, or I try to feed you a bottle before your Prom date picks you up. But you can go ahead and start using the toilet any time you’re ready. Aaaaany time now.
You are sweet, brilliant, empathetic and hilarious. You make me laugh so many times every day and are always up for a good game of monster. Though you always want to be a “baby monster” with a little tiny “rawr”. God, please always stay as adorable as you are now because it makes me so less angry at you when you give me an uppercut.
We are shining stars
We are invincible
We are who we are
On our darkest day
When we’re miles away
Sun will come
We will find our way home
If you’re lost and alone
Or you’re sinking like a stone.
May your past be the sound
Of your feet upon the ground.