Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Way We Were

Do you ever wonder which of your children's personality quirks are already permanently packed into the suitcase they'll carry with them into adulthood?

For example, Eliza loves to make pancakes. She'll stand at the griddle, flipping 'til the cows come home. She's a feeder, that one. If given the chance to watch cable, she chooses the Food Network. She soaks up whatever wisdom Rachael Ray, Sandra Lee or Lidia Bastianich has to share. I'm totally in favor of this interest flowering for years to come. Or would that be "flour-ing?"

Then there is her four-year-old sister.

I know, with a pang of regret, that the days of things being "ri-dick-lee-ous" are numbered. One day, I'll realize with a jolt that it's now "ridiculous" and have no idea when that started, and I will be tempted to weep, as I was when her baby feet thickened into toddler feet or her breath stopped smelling like milk.

But it's hard to fathom that she'll ever stop being the person who asked for, and received, a set of real tools and a workbench for her fourth birthday. Or the girl who jealously guards her low-temperature glue gun. Or the child who, yesterday at the chiropractor's office, seized upon the February issue of Martha Stewart Living and ended up asking the receptionist to photocopy two pages' worth of projects for her to take home.

I've learned, conventional bedtime wisdom aside, that when it's eight fifty five and the girl asks for a piece of paper and her scissors, it's the better part of valor to JUST BRING HER THE DARNED SCISSORS and her snip herself into somnolent oblivion, rather than waste ten minutes on tears and high drama.

I've also learned that we cannot read If You Give a Pig a Pancake at that magic hour. For one thing, meltdowns ensue over her longings to own a Polaroid camera YESTERDAY. For another thing ...

Well, here's the story with which the shell-shocked Professor greeted me when I arrived home from tonight's tutoring session:

In a flurry of prebedtime activity at the craft table, Martha Junior could not open the bottle of tacky glue on her own. Rather than employ a minion for the task (remember, the Chief Minion was out), she thought "What would The Pig do?" (cue lightbulb to left of head), remembered the line, "feeling sticky will remind her of her favorite maple syrup," and headed for the fridge. One entire squeeze bottle of real maple syrup later, she had her adhesive surface ready for glitter. Why not just liquefy a wad of cash and use that?

So if you find us slathering a batch of Eliza's pancakes with tacky glue by the end of the month, you'll know why. Blame it on her little sister, that little sister whose soft, warm cheeks I need to go kiss right now, as if kisses could keep them just so for a little longer, beyond this too-brief breath of time.


Anonymous said...

Oh I love this post! My almost 3yo is in love with If You Give a Pig a Pancake. And I can get tears in my eyes thinking that she's about to be 3 and that some day she will no longer go to bed in Majamas.

cjoy said...

Oh to be a fly on the wall of your house. Well, a guest might be a better position. ;D The delight your home exudes inspires me and thrills me.

nicole said...

i love this post! so beautiful - and inspiring, too! makes me want to hold onto my inner 4 y/o :)

Vanessa said...

That Caroline! I wonder what Tim's reaction was to such a great idea? Guess you need to redo your budget to include another bottle of maple syrup.

Nancy Meredith said...

Beautiful!! Excuse me while I dry my eyes. You really do have a gift for finding and celebrating the extra in the ordinary. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and insights.

Eclectic Mama said...

ROFL! Well, I can see her thinking. No problem with sticky fingers after that project; she can just lick them! Smart cookie--or should I say, pancake--that girl!

Tim said...

Tim's reaction was less than perfect. At first I completely failed to see the humor and only saw the tight grocery budget and sent Caroline straight to bed with firm words which got even firmer as she tried to sidestep my questions about did she do this? Why didn't she come ask for help?, and so on. I definitely made her cry.
But then I realized it was kind of funny and softened a little by pointing out that honey is much stickier (and less expensive) than maple syrup but please don't use honey either. That's why we have glue. And even though I'm upset I still love you and why don't you pick out a book to read so you can get to sleep.
She picked out Cinderella (the cheesy baroque-style over-flowery one) and curled up disarmingly next to me and said in a voice that no Daddy could refuse: "OK, Daddy, read!"
I'm happy to report she went straight to sleep after that.

Raji P. said...

aww, so sweet! :) lovely post! Glad to see she has good taste, nothing like pure maple syrup (I hope it was Canadian) for all your worldly needs, including gluing needs.

Michelle said...

What a beautiful post! They grow up way too fast, but this will be a story to remember forever.

You have two creative children of which you can be so very proud!

Toddler Knows Best said...

please tell Eliza that we happen to be a big fan of pancakes, and she is more than welcome to come flip some flapjacks anytime. and tell Martha Jr. that our house could really use some craftiness with a low temp glue gun.