Waiting for the other tiny ballet slipper to drop
Here's an example: generally she's still asleep when I leave in the morning, but this morning I was in the bathroom and heard a little voice outside the door asking "Who's in there?"
I thought she was gonna start fussing that she needed to use the bathroom RIGHT AWAY and I should get out NOW. She has been known to do such things. But when I answered, in trembling voice, "It's Mommy, I'll be out soon!" she said, "Mommy! I like you! I'm glad you're here!" When I emerged, she flung her arms around me. But she wasn't all clingy; she just seemed genuinely happy. She even told me she liked my shoes!
Tonight, for no reason whatsoever, she gave me her Madeline necklace. I should keep it, she insisted. I thanked her profusely and told her she could have it back if she changed her mind. (I didn't tell her the little Madeline medallion isn't quite my style.) And she's been feeding me bits of her meals, the way she used to do back when she was a toddler. And she does stuff I ask her to do, like clean up her toys, without fussing. She even chose to ride home with me, not RW, when we drove back from a friend's house in two cars the other night. It's spooky.
I can't help worrying that she's somehow worried about me; she can be very solicitous when I'm unhappy, and I don't want her to feel like she has to take care of me or any adult. But I haven't been particularly unhappy lately; things in general (car crashes notwithstanding) have been all right. So I don't think that's it.
My mom thinks that her intrusion into the household has bumped me up in the pecking order. RW's theory is that my stock has been rising in comparison with hers, since she's working full-time now and is less available to Sarah than she used to be, while I'm just as available as I ever was, if not more so, since I'm making an effort to pick her up a little early from day care now that she's there five days a week.
So then I worried that Sarah was being extra-sweet to me as a subtle jab at RW, or at my mom. (Not that she isn't kind and sensitive, but she does have a Machievellian side. We don't have to worry that she'll be a picked-on little nerd girl like we both were.) But RW, who has spent more time with Sarah over the past 4+ years than anyone on the planet, said she didn't think that was it, either, and I decided to take her word for it.
So I am trying to simply be grateful for this turn of events and not to get weirded out by it. When Sarah kisses and hugs me and tells me I'm the greatest, the best, the most wonderful mommy, and she loves me even more than Barbie, I try to take her words and her love into my heart and just feel them and let them stay there. I figure, when she becomes an adolescent and decides that everything we do is stupid, I can think of these times, and remember that somewhere inside her is that 4-year-old who felt that way, and not take it so hard.
Or, who knows-- I may be looking back nostalgically on this post by next week, as a screaming tantrum against all things Mommy rages in the background.