When I was two, I ….
Last month, you started this new phrase, “When I was two, I….” and then you’d proceed to tell me all the things you had done and some things you thought you had done when you were two years old. “I fought a dragon, I bonked my head on the corner and got my head glued…I can’t tell you any more.”
Sitting in the backseat, you tell me stories about your made up friends. Most of the names sound as if they belong in an IKEA ad. Your friend Poonta likes to play Barbies, Keeya has a brother named Pedro, and Oohla likes to dress up like princesses. And you go on, telling these intricate stories to me while I drive.
It seems our best conversations happen in the car. You keep me up to date with all your school friends, (even though you don’t actually go to school.) You tell me about science. Like, why the sky should be pink instead of blue. You tell me that Grandma is going to take you to the old Cookie Park (read: Eat ‘n Park) by the Super Gym (read: The Club in Monroeville.) You often remind me that I’m driving and that I’m not allowed to crash. You also remind me that I’m going to die.
Yesterday, you took it upon yourself to take some acrylic paint and, very quietly, began to paint the side of my mom’s dollhouse. The dollhouse was built by my grandpa when my mom was a kid. I was cleaning the kitchen, listening to the Lumineers and I noticed it got very quiet. But you had previously been building with Legos, so I thought nothing of it. It wasn’t until you came into the kitchen, with your hands behind your back, looking for a towel, that I noticed you had paint all over your face.
I’m pretty sure the neighbors could hear me yelling “Why!?” at you. I didn’t even know my voice could get that loud. You stood there, staring at me, eyes so wide they were nearly double in size, and you shrank down and said, “I’m sorry.”
After time out, I plopped you on the counter and smiled. I said, “Mae. What you did in there is exactly something I would have done when I was a kid. In fact, when I saw your work, I immediately thought about how much fun you must have been having. So, while it’s a very pretty paint job, and I do admire it, you can’t do that, okay?”
That wasn’t what you were expecting at all, because you were waiting for me to lay into you about how you need to listen, and that was wrong and how could you? Instead, I realized that, well, you are exactly like I was as a kid, and to be honest, I quite liked myself then.
Anyhow, what I’m trying to say is, when my mom told me, “I hope you have ten kids just like you,” I never really thought it would happen. But every day you do or say something that makes me think, “Wow. I totally have done/said/thought that.”
You still love dance class, and now you’re learning how to do things properly, so you constantly critique my dance skills while we’re bopping around to Fireball on Pandora. You’re also very opinionated. So when a song comes on that you don’t like, you take it upon yourself to thumbs it down, even if everyone else likes it, including yourself the day before.
Mae, you’re a delight. You are the kid that is most remembered because you make yourself known.
You dress yourself every day, and there’s no telling you what you should wear.
You’re also probably the most self sufficient kid I’ve ever met. If you want something, you get it done, no matter what it takes. If you want water, you drag something that looks slightly sturdy over to the sink and stand on it. You decide when to wash your hair, even if that means wetting down your hair at the gym. If you want to paint, well by golly, you’re going to paint. If you want your hair to be short, why wait for mom? You’ll just cut your hair at 6 am. (And do a surprisingly good job.)
If you want a manicure, you just look at your dad with those big ‘ol eyes and, bam. Manicure.
That’s not to say you get away with everything. If anything, I’m probably harder on you because I can more or less anticipate what you’re going to do, or why. Sorry about that.
You’re a typical little sister, but when the big kids don’t want to be around you, you find something they’ll want to do, so you can weasel your way in.
Mae, when you were born, you looked at me and I knew. I knew that you would be the kid who would make yourself known. Even when you couldn’t talk, you would tell me all kinds of things. (We call that phase the Mae-Rage phase.) When you finally did learn how to talk, you could make me laugh more than anyone else.
From the moment you entered our lives, you have brought with it so much joy. You’re just that fancy. Happy Birthday! I love you.
(Look mom! I’m two! No, Mae. You’re three in this photo. No I wasn’t. I was two. Mae, seriously, this was last year. You were three. Ugh. Mom.)