Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Truth and fiction

kill bill, originally uploaded by toyfoto.

Dear Annabel,

There are days when I just don't know who you are. Always lovely and amazing, you are also forever changing. Evolving. Becoming someone with distinct ideas all your own.

More self possessed, you are able to entertain yourself for long periods of time. Creating your beloved projects or making up imaginary worlds peopled with a growing community of bedroom toys, you seem to have cultivated a secret life complete with anthems; silly songs that combine familiar tunes with made up stories.

Often when I try to sing along, you sigh a long sigh and shush me: "This is MY song, Mommy. I was singing it." Your eyes tell me you're not entirely serious, but your hand will venture over my lips if I persist. "SHHHHHHHHHHHHH!"

Last night you pressed tickly kisses onto my belly, telling the baby inside (through my navel) that you loved him. Your eyes glittered as you patted a little more enthusiastically than necessary, telling me you were hitting ... er, patting his little head because he was sooooo cute.

Much of what we talk about sounds like this:

"When my baby comes, I am going to be a big sister and he is going to have teeth," you tell me assuredly. "He can share my snacks. He's going to like ice cream. I'll show him how to eat it. Mom? Do you think he'll like blueberries? I dreamed about dragons last night, flying in my room. They were nice though. They were looking for butterflies. We should call my brother D.W. I think that would be a good idea. He's going to be a girl, though."

It seems all I ever do lately is try to parse the real from the imagined. And it saddens me, really. I am reminded of all the "magic moments" of my childhood that never took place; all the things that my mother later told me never really happened. At least not the way I remembered, anyway.

But I am not constantly at your side as you maneuver through your days. For nine hours or more, five days a week, you are with other people. Until recently, and still on occasion, you'll ignore my attempts to get you to talk about your adventures at preschool or at Lori's house.

I hated myself for indulging your penchant for Eddie Haskellism by asking you to tell me who misbehaved in school just to get a reply that seems newsy. I know you have a thing for being on your best behavior, especially when someone else is acting up.

"Cole was eating the shovel rice, and Marcia said 'we don't eat shovel rice, only cooked rice. Please don't eat my shovel rice'. And then Madeline didn't sit on her bottom. I sat on my bottom though."

Lately, and with equal amounts of enthusiasm, you tell me that you had peas for snack or that the frog prince ate the fish you had caught in the bead bin or that Kaydn broke her leg and can't walk unless she scoots around like a crab. Lori fills me in on the "real" stories, with considerable eye-rolling or laughter to punctuate the explainations.

Of course, while I'm taking everything you say and examining it with the force of a 10X magnifying glass, trying to find the key that will translate fantasy into reality, something remarkable will happen.

It was your special day at school (which means it's my day to learn about all the places I, as an assistant to the seasoned teachers, should not stand, hang paintings or allow children to play: "Oh, we hang paintings to dry on this rack over here, not that rack." OR "We don't use our fingers to paint, only the brushes."

As I'm juggling car seat snaps and preschool snacks, preparing for the carnage I will create with my uninitiated presence, you crane your neck past the heap of winter clothes I'm trying to bring with us in one trip ... "Is that Kaydn? I think that's Kaydn."

And sure enough, Kaydn's mom lifts her from the car parked behind ours. The first thing I notice is the writing on her cast.

Now I suppose I'll have to go looking for a fish eating frog prince, too, as I wonder why I ever doubted you.




jenB said...

that is so sweet. i am excited and nervous for Char to start daycare.

Mom101 said...

I love hearing how she reacts to your belly. I wish Thalia was old enough to participate in my pregnancy at all (you know, besides throwing out the name Apple - which would be more clever if Apple wasn't the answer to any question these days. It's apparently also the number after 5 and who she wants to call on the phone after Big Bird.)

toyfoto said...

Annabel does that, too. Only with her it IS a game.

Let's call him MAILBOX!




How about Sidewalk?


Redneck Mommy said...

When I was pregnant with Bug, Fric and Frac were 3 and 2 respectively. Frac was a little young, mostly disinterested in the new addition to our family. But Fric was all over me.

She named her brother Rosie while he gestated and refused to listen to reason that he was not going to be a girl.

She would come over to my bump and pat my belly and tell Rosie how she would be a great sister, and how they would play dollies together.

When ever she got in trouble, she would look me in the eyes with her baby blues and tell me she didn't do it, Rosie did. And then she would come over to my stomach, pat it and say "Bad Rosie."

It was all I could ever do to keep from laughing out loud.

toyfoto said...

I think Ittybit must be a lot like Fric.