Before your older sister was born, I went to Target to pick a baby shampoo. I read ingredient lists and tried to care about the potentially dangerous chemicals in each bottle but mostly, I surreptitiously took the caps off and sniffed the heck out of them.
It was no contest, I knew instantly which one I wanted to sniff on my baby's hair and skin for the next few years. It smelled of honey: sticky, sweet and clean.
Your sister got baths every night before we realized that this routine was responsible for drying her skin so badly it flaked off in her sleep no matter how much cream we slathered on.
It was hard to let that part of her bedtime routine go, mostly because smelling her soft clean hair made nursing her in the wee hours bearable.
I've bought the same baby shampoo countless times since, and though you started off your life getting far fewer baths than your sister (the blessing and the curse of being the second child, my dear), you also always emerge from your baths with the faint scent of honey.
But lately, you and your sister have been wanting to take showers, standing up, washing your hair in the spray. Your sister's hair is full and thick and getting longer and more tangled by the day and it's obvious at five that she needs some heavy duty conditioning, so last week I pawed through my stash of leftover toiletries and gave her some grown up shampoo and conditioner scented with jasmine and anise.
No more honey for her.
You, not to be outdone, wanted whatever your sister has and begged for your sister's big green shampoo bottle as soon as I reached for the thin one with bees and honeycomb on the label.
I insisted, it's the honey shampoo or nothing, kid.
But then I realized the bottle is almost empty. And I don't think I'll buy another bottle.
I'm trying not to want to stunt your growth, but it's hard, you see. Letting your babyness go feels like letting go of a special kind of love, one that I won't ever feel again, not like this.
You start preschool this week and we're both nervous. When we visited last week - met your teacher, played with the toys - I kept finding fault in everything. Your teacher didn't say much to you! Your classroom is a little small! One of the moms was loudly pushing her daughter to perform for the teacher and say all her colors and sing the alphabet! Clearly, this place SUCKS.
I sat there, smiling at you, jabbering about how this is fun! and you'll love it! and all I wanted to do was scoop you up and run out the door and bury my head in your honey scented hair.
But it's time. You're ready. I'm ready.
And there's only one last drop of honey shampoo left in the bottle.
Your Clueless But Hopeful Mama