Baby bird's new wings

We've been trying to keep Zoe's life a little still these days, no major changes, no new activities, lest her world tilt off its axis before Lima Bean's arrival. We certainly didn't want to try to force any new "big girl" skills right before her new baby sister comes to change her life FOREVER.

Turns out, Zoe had other plans.

Nothing too major, and she is certainly clingy to me more than normal, as if I might disappear at moment's notice and come back with a baby to displace her (hey wait.....), but when you add up all her new abilities I feel like I'm watching a ball rolling down hill.

Away from me.

She has suddenly started requiring "privacy" in the bathroom and insists on wiping her own bottom and washing her own hands (the two things she previously really, REALLY needed help with.) At first, I would hover by the barely open door and watch nervously as she teetered on tiptoes on top of her stool, reaching for the faucet. Now I sit and wait to rush in at her first distress call but more often than not am greeted with a triumphant Zoe running past me, pants askew, shirt soaked at sink level.

The other day, she asked if she could wear underwear during her nap. I thought about the weeks and weeks of dry pull ups at nap time and said okay. She emerged from her nap with a self-satisfied smirk that I have a feeling I will see again in her teenage years: "I'm dry Mommy! See, no leaks!".

For some HORMONAL reason, this made me cry just a little bit.

She can drag her own (heavy, clunky, adult- sized) folding stool over to the sink and fill her own water cup from the filter. She has mastered getting herself (creatively) dressed. She can buckle part of her carseat and open and close the car door. She can turn on the garden hose, open her gummy vitamin jar (!?!@(@!(@$&(@#*$&!), open and close the gate at school.

She has started to bargain with us, in earnest. A few days ago, when told "you can either stay here and play with Papa or come to Target with me", she protested, whining and crying before suddenly stopping, a very clear light bulb going on above her little noggin. "Hey! I have an idea!" (Don't you love how they start using your EXACT words, tone, and inflection? It's simultaneously lovely AND creepy.) "How about Papa goes to Target and YOU stay and play with me! Doesn't that sound like a great idea, Mommy?!"

Nice try, little bug.


At our parent education class these past few weeks, she has left the safety of her beloved baby swings and turned to the big girl tricycles. She jumps up on the highest one, the one with the bent wheels and "Princess" written in pink, curly script on the side, and asks for a starter push. She tells me to "stay WAY BACK there, Mommy. I'm going on a FAST bike ride. BYE BYE!".
She searches for the slight downhill patch and tries to go "FASTER, FASTER!". Her little body wobbles side to side as she pushes the pedals and her attention falters, her little bike headed for the grass. "Watch where you're going!", I blurt out and then stop myself. The next time she forgets to coordinate her steering and pedaling and is headed for a minor crash, I bite my tongue and clench my fists by my face and wait. She crashes. And gets up. And cries a bit as I hold her.

And then she jumps back on the bike and turns it around to "DO THAT AGAIN!".

Lord, help me.


At tumbling class, each week is a new adventure for her. She has gone from my gross-motor delayed baby to an excited but timid tumbling class newbie to a daredevil. She's now leaping off of high wedges, walking unaided on low balance beams and turning upside down (with help) on the rings. This week, she taught herself ("Don't help me Mommy! NooooOOOOO! DON'T TOUCH ME!") to do a somersault which just about gave me a heart attack as I envisioned myself explaining to the ER docs how it seemed perfectly okay to let her break her own neck.

After her last tumbling class, she asked to walk to the car without holding my hand. For safety's sake (someone might get hurt from the exploding Mommy-heart shrapnel), I told her no.

Some things are sacred. Like the feel of her soft, smooth hand in mine as we chat about her new adventures and how she has to "tell, AND SHOW, Daddy" all about it.


Hillary said...

"exploding mommy-heart shrapnel" -- yes, that pretty much sums things up.

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh if the story doesn't make your heart break that little picture will!! Those cheeks...those cheeks!

Amie said...


artemisia said...

Oh, motherhood is so - complex. This is beautiful.

desperate housewife said...

Ah, big girl stuff is so exciting and so heartbreaking too.
Also, hmm. It's been a few days... Is big girl getting her baby sister?!

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