Friday, November 22, 2013

Riddle me this

Just so you are all aware, I have an entry percolating right now that includes the phrase "I have been sweeping up the same Cinderella head for about a year now" but surprisingly, as true as that statement is, constructing a post around that is going to take some thought. And after this morning, I want to write about Mary anyway.

My kids are all approximately two years apart. Mary is only 21 months older than Anna. I love that - they compete for my attention like any other siblings do but there has never been a time when Mary remembers being an only child. As far back as she can remember, Anna has been part of her life and, as much as they fight sometimes, Mary still calls Anna her best friend. (Anna will say the same, unless she's trying to get Mary's goat, in which case she will smirk and announce LILY is her best friend and SHE ONLY HAS ONE, but I digress.)

On the other hand, being the oldest and having two younger sisters right behind her, Mary is in some respects young for her age. She's bright and ridiculously articulate, but, for instance, last Christmas she still wanted a Little People set. She had no idea who "Justin Beaver" (yes, really) was until sometime late in the school year. (For the record, I am totally fine with this, especially now that the young man has decided to become Canada's Most Humiliating Export.) The concepts of One Direction, Bratz and even Barbie were totally foreign to her until she started kindergarten at almost six. Again, this doesn't bother me in the slightest - her infancy and toddlerhood seemed to go by at the speed of light and I know it's not going to slow down any time soon. But it does provide me ample opportunity to be surprised by her. 

I took this shot before a ballet class a couple of weeks ago. It was chilly in the studio and she'd asked to wear my coat. I took a number of silly pictures of her - posing, mugging for the camera, goofing off with her sisters - but I also got this shot and my heart skipped a beat. There is no "baby" in this picture, no chubby preschooler, barely even a kindergartener. Suddenly I could see the young lady my oldest is becoming and it was breathtaking. 

She is six. Sometimes she acts so grown up and other times she acts, well, like she's six, with all the glorious moods and FEELINGS the age implies. It's unpredictable and sometimes frustrating but often, often, leads to little moments you never would have seen coming. This morning, in the car, she piped up. 

"Mommy I made up a joke!"

I have to admit, I cringed a little inside. The "jokes" Mary and Anna usually come up with are of the totally age appropriate but awful "knock knock! who's there? MACARONI!" variety, which wouldn't be so bad except they will repeat them constantly, expecting uproarious laughter every time.

"Oh yeah?" I asked, carefully backing out into the preschool parking lot. Small lot, lots and lots of giant SUVs, a million parents who's schedules are all the most important things in the world - stress! 

She paused. I could see the anticipation bright in her eyes.

"What kind of flowers can blow bubbles?" she asked, barely containing her excitement.

"I don't know, honey, what kind?"

"TULIPS!" she crowed, dissolving into giggles. I joined her. 

"Mary, that's really funny!" I said. "Did you just make that up?"

"Yeah!" she said, and I could hear the pride in her voice. She knew she had gotten it right, that what she had come up with was truly funny. She told the joke again, and I laughed, again. We drove off to Dunkin Donuts to get a caffeine (me) and donut (them) fix before I had to take her to school and she laughed the entire way. 

"Welcome to Dunkin Donuts what can I get for you today?"

"TULIPS!" Mary screamed happily from her booster. 

"Hi I'll have a medium iced caramel swirl -"


"-skim milk no sugar and -"

"TWOOYIPS!" Lily screeched, getting in on the action. 

"- one-"

"Tulips," Mary said happily to herself, grinning. 

"-no, two, old fashioned donuts."

What can I say? It was a celebration.
Just don't grow up too fast, kid. Mommy won't be able to take it.

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