Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Happy Birthday, Pink Ice Cream

Well, my little girl is three years old today. Yesterday she was two, all hugs and kisses and snuggles, and now she's morphed into this screaming little adorable bundle of "I want a banana!" and then when you hand her a banana, she puddles onto the floor wailing, "I don't want a banana!"

Three, I told you.

My little girl is a rush of independence. If she tells you that she wants lemonade, and you respond by advising her that the neighbors don't have lemonade but we have it at home and we'll get some later, she will whirl around and head for home before you finish your sentence. Never mind if you are 15 miles away, she's hoofing it. Now. This is what led her to stroll out of McDonald's a few weeks ago. I told her that it was time to leave, expecting that shoes would be put back on and purses picked up and the usual we're-heading-home-now sort of gathering to take place. But of course, she just left. Unfortunately, I thought she had headed back up into the play nets and I sent Riley in after her. That was when I saw the nice woman (thank you nice woman) holding her hand and guiding her back into the restaurant from the parking lot.

Bella is not quite potty trained, though we did purchase the requisite truckload of princess and Dora panties, with some Care Bears thrown in for good measure. I left my mother home with her for 15 minutes yesterday, and when I returned, she announced that she felt like "that crazy woman on Desperate Housewives." Bella had told her that she needed to poop, so my mother sent her upstairs by herself and said she'd meet her in the bathroom when she was done. She was greeted with a bathroom smeared with feces - it was even between my daughter's toes - and incomprehensibly, on the cap of my Secret deoderant.

Bella continues to be the favorite child of her teachers - they whisper it to me in confidence as if I haven't heard it before. She has a way of looking at you and making the rest of the world disappear, and the effect is certainly not lost on me, either. Nose to nose, breathless, she'll whisper, "I love you Mommy" while gently stroking your hair. Time stands still.

Bella is and always has been just like her father in being able to focus completely on the object of her attention. In contrast, Riley was a "nosey" baby, as my grandmother liked to put it. He would not allow you to snuggle him in to your chest as an infant. Rather, he would scream unless he was psitioned out so that he could take in the world. He gets this from me. But Bella, from the time she was an infant, would pat you on the back as she hugged you, kiss your boo boos, and gaze lovingly, unflinchingly into your eyes. When she regards you, she is looking into you, and you relish the attention. You are honored.

She's also my silliest little one. "Eat me!" she will exclaim. "I'm pink ice cream!" And then she'll giggle as you gobble her up. Her imagination is endless, and sometimes I see her fluttering imaginary wings or hopping like a frog through the house all alone. She strolls through our house singing, gloriously oblivious to being completely tone deaf (also like her father) and yet her voice is like an angel.

Every morning as Adelyn naps, I soak in the tub after I shower - it helps me to think and clears my head. On the mornings that she is home and Riley is at school, Bella will wander into the bathroom and become my bathmaid. She hides behind the shower curtain and "cooks" me french fries and chicken - her favorite - and what I love most is that she is so absolutely Bella as she prepares our imaginary feast. She stares intently down at her hands as they act out placing each piece of chicken on a plate from the oven, and presents her bounty to me with all the grandiur of a five star chef. She will share her greatest treasure with you without a moment's hesitation. Her trust in others is remarkable, and yet, she is no victim. She will bellow with rage if you do her wrong. Her strength amazes me every day.

Bella, I don't spend enough time with you, painting your toenails and putting on lipstick and "driving" under the covers to your cousin Mason's house. I spend too much time trying to get you to behave, to hold my hand when you cross the street, to stop smothering your sister with kisses and voracious hugs. But of course, these are the things that I love most about you. Please don't change. Please don't stop kissing your sister and chasing after your dreams, even if right now that only includes some lemonade and a quick trip home from McDonald's.

My princess, my wandering angel, my pink ice cream - happy birthday sweetheart.

I love you.


Blogger M&Co. said...

That was lovely! And the pictures are wonderful too.

Ha! Crazy woman in desperate housewives, she doesn't even know the half of it!

My almost three year old isn't potty trained yet either. I sometimes want to dopeslap those people (women usually sometimes a man) who say, "Oh he just potty trained himself at 13 months!"

12:19 PM  
Blogger M&Co. said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12:19 PM  
Blogger Carolyn said...

What a beautiful tribute! I think Bella and my daughter would get along beautifully!

Your post also reminded me that I don't spend enough time with my daughter either. I think I'll go home tonight and paint her toenails!

6:37 PM  
Blogger Stolidoli said...

13 months my ASS! Although Riley potty trained himself pretty much at 2 1/2, but that was because he was at daycare full-time and there was a bathroom in in his classroom. They all used to watch each other go and clap like idiots. Maybe I should institute a similar thing at home, LOL.

Carolyn - we'll have to have a pedicure playdate!

10:59 AM  

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