Saturday, April 24, 2010

my big little girl

I keep forgetting how little Frances is. She's three and a half and she seems so big to me, but really she's still a baby person. Isn't this misperception the burden of all first born and only children? It's the reason all the oldest kids are so type A--because our parents mistook us for being more mature than we were capable. In my defense, she is bigger than she was a year ago, even six months ago. She's bigger than Clark, which is unconsciously and unavoidably my general comparison, and so seems so grown. She can do so much more--can get her cup from the cabinet and the milk from the fridge, and can pour it for herself and for her brother. She can install and pull her brother in the wagon, maneuver her way through our complicated tv remote, both buckle and unbuckle her own car seat, and mostly she can argue with me. That's when I forget--when she's arguing, and I think I'm arguing with someone mentally grown. I forget.

I've been practicing lately seeing her as the small person she is. Part of the reason it's hard, I think, is that she acts so independent; she doesn't like to cuddle, she doesn't want my comfort when she hurts herself--she's been known to actually push me away when I try to hug her after she's banged her head. And my comparison is Clark, who lets me hold and rock him, who takes my face between his little hands and presses our noses together, who says "Mommy. Come. Wiss. Me." about nearly everything. At this very minute Frances is in the living room with her brother and the boy across the street and I just heard her say, "Okay. Here's what we're going to do,"with more than a little conviction. She's a bit bossy and quite certain about most things.

Also: sometimes I wonder, though she's not even four, about the hormonal balance in her little body. Many many of my friends agree that girls are harder, and it's seriously like she's thirteen. It's hard. Hard to be sympathetic, hard to remember that she doesn't know much about the world, that it must often be frightening to her. I'm trying to remember. She needs my help, not my frustration.

1 comment:

Paige said...

Cali, I SO completely loved this post and agree wholeheartedly. It IS hard to remember they are still really just babies. It's the verbal abilities for me - Ozzy can talk my ear off - ok, DOES talk my ear off - it's hard to remember his lack of abstract thought or inability to really empathize with others or lack of impulse control. So, thanks for this post - I've been thinking a lot about it.