Saturday, June 28, 2008

Cheques and Balances

This afternoon, I tried to lure my two year old upstairs with whispered promises of soft, cool sheets, and a magical story about gardening, and her very special "Lellow Blankie" (that is, in reality, pink--or used to be before it was seasoned with love and took on that "drug through the mud"-tan color it boasts now.)

A grin spread across her delicate lips and then grew into an almost yawn. As I scooped her up, she laid her head on me and I nibbled her ear.

Half way up the stairs, her arms and shoulder blades began to protest and she threw a rather impressive left jab. "I weely want Daddy," she mewed. And repeated.

What? I am the one with the stories and sleepy voice and the lavender perfume and the proximity to your beloved Lellow Blankie... He is on the couch watching reruns of Sports Center.

Unwilling to relinquish my misty dream of Nap Time with Mommy, I dug deeper into my arsenal and mentioned that we might sing a lullaby or two together. I also reminded her that, with me, she would enjoy that most precious of real estate, Daddy's Pillow on Mommy's Bed.

To no avail. "I weely want Daddy." And then she fired one of the most lethal weapons in the toddler armory. She caused all of the bones in her upper body to liquify while simultaneously kicking her legs from the hip. This manouver is nearly impossible for adults to predict and/or defend. It nearly always ends in the toddler getting what they wanted in the first place, Down.

She trotted off to join The Producer on the couch, where no doubt they will snooze together in smooshy, sweaty, bliss for an hour or so. And I moped up the stairs to read a little Anne Lamott. By myself. Hmmmph.

Our girls have always moved in cycles of favorites. Sometimes it's Daddy. Sometimes it's Mommy. Sometimes, when it's Mommy, I wish it were Daddy. And vice versa. Right now, with the two-year old, it's Daddy. Hands down. All the time. He is the first thing she thinks about in the morning, sometimes even before she opens both eyes, "Where's Daddy?" She will ask, when she opens one eyeball to see that it is me that stands over her crib.

Our ten year old will snuggle with either of us that is available, but when something is upsetting her, it's usually me she comes looking for.

Our eleven year old....she doesn't particularly like either of us, at the moment. She views us through those harsh preteen opera glasses that cast all parents in that unflattering, coolness-zapping, wrinkle-infusing light. But there are days when even she needs her Mom or Dad, and on those days it is nice to see the relief of having our protection so close and accessible, spread across her face. If only for a moment before she wipes it away with a smirk and generous eye roll.

I think it all washes out in the end. I am loved just as much as The Producer is. I am picked, occasionally. And I am glad that no one is keeping score.

Monday, June 23, 2008

There is nothing better than birthday cake. It's like a slice of concentrated love with buttercream frosting.

-Takayuki Ikkaku, Arisa Hosaka and Toshihiro Kawabata

In looking through my archives, I've noticed how very little I have written about my ten year old daughter in this space.

Not for a lack of interesting personality tics on her part, I think it's because,of my three daughters (ages: 11, 10, and 2,) she is the peace maker, easy going, understanding and longsuffering. Posting about how my daughter, "almost had an argument with me today, but thought better of it and did what I asked, anyway..." would make for a less than thrilling read for those of you who have 12-second-blog-reading-intervals.

I also think she is sparingly documented here because subconsciously I consider her to be the most like me. Writing about her would be redundant, because I so often write about me.

But that's not really true. She is sublimely separate from me, creative in ways I can only hope to imitate.

This fall, she wrote a story about a witch who messed up a candy recipe on Halloween and inadvertently turned her whole neighborhood into dragonflies. The witch is so clumsy and cute, she makes your teeth ache.

In early April, she began hinting, mentioning, discussing at length, her tenth mid June.

She wanted a Vintage Japanese theme. She'd like to have Japanese food, paper lanterns, parasols, and Cherry Blossoms. And a Candy Bar.

She told me to "run with it."

And I did...after some rather intensive Google searches and desperate phone calls to my sister. I bought orchids for this party, rather than balloons. ((I think that will be a new tradition: Flowers in lieu of latex. However, I have most decidedly cornered the market on the Neighborhood Crazy Plant Lady.))

Happy Birthday, my darling L.
Birthday Pancakes are a tradition around this house. We subscribe to the idea that one should eat cake for every meal on your birthday.