This post goes out to all you parents out there with a special little girl (or boy) in your life, a precious treasure who possesses that magical ability to keep you on the edge of your seat…
I’ve talked about Maggie a lot since she was born, and, to be honest, I’d devote a weekly feature to her if not for my husband’s protests. He’s not home right now.
You see, Maggie’s internal calibration is a little too unforgiving for the situation into which she was born. Each and every day with her is exhilarating, marked by elevated blood pressure and increased visual acuity. I liken living with her to being at Jurassic Park, right outside the broken raptor fence. The differential on this kid is about one-eighth of one percent. She’s what I like to call tweaked. One slight turn of the string and we all snap.
“She’s a handful,” says my husband, with little emotion. “We can’t trade her in.”
“Ppfffttt,” I respond.
I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t considered daycare, a nanny, the Chinese circus, and just sending her outside a few hours a day to see how she does.
But my husband continues to mechanically remark, “She’s a handful.” She is a handful. She’s just a Pamela Anderson-size handful. In my defense, though, he has suggested we send her out at night to scare away the coyotes.
My darling Clementine has recently enlisted our assistance at naptime, a task which requires both parents to be in the bed and not to move, which is not only impractical, but also almost ensures rest for no one. One day, I nearly peed myself trying to slide out of the bed unnoticed. I failed. (Not the peeing myself, going unnoticed.) You can’t roll over, you can’t shift, and, by God, you can’t cough, sneeze, sniffle, hiccup, or swallow. If you do? Game Over. You lose.
She’s the lightest sleeper I’ve ever seen. Walk by her room, she wakes up. Drop a crumb in the kitchen sink, she wakes up. A squirrel takes a leak in the woods, she wakes up. You’d think, with the great pains she takes to climb out of the hundreds of dollars worth of gates we bought to keep her in, she’d be tired at night. But she’s not.
Last night, she woke us up so she could burp. If she can make it over three gates and up a flight of stairs to smear hand soap all over her face while singing Twinkle, Twinkle, surely she can sit up in the middle of the night and burp, no? No?
Yesterday, we had someone here fixing our alarm system. When he tested the alarm, she yelled, “Uh oh,” flew over the gate into the kitchen, and ran over to the keypad. Was she going to disarm it? Has she learned the code already? I don’t know. But I did have to remind her that her main responsibility right now is to play.
Some of it’s cute, I’ll give you that, but some days it’s really, reallyhard.
I guess I’m supposed to say I’m lucky that my two boys are so easygoing. I guess I’m supposed to be awed by how prematurely agile and intelligent she is. I guess I’m supposed to marvel at her feats of dexterity and her delicate nature. I suppose, but where in this twenty-four hour hustle am I able to recoup? I can’t sleep when she (sort of) sleeps, because I haven’t yet figured out how to do thatwithout moving. And we do have those two other toddlers.
She’s a handful. But you know that.
I’m awaiting the day that pitching her food on the floor no longer provides her such satisfaction. I’m awaiting the day that she looks up at me, sweetly, and asks if we can color a picture. I’m awaiting the day she asks me to paint nails and do hair. I’m awaiting the day I no longer have to run interference at the entrance to the kitchen with raw chicken all over my hands.
I’m waiting for her to grow up a little. And I realize that is some sort of sacrilege, because in a few years I’ll be crying in my (locally sourced, non-GMO, gluten-, corn-, and rice-free) porridge, lamenting about how quickly the time’s gone by. But, oh, my, we’re tired.
I’m sure she’ll be a delightful, Nobel Prize-winning astrophysicist someday and we’ll be very, very proud. But right now, we’re just tired.
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