Tuesday, January 23, 2007

the long and the short of it

The writer would like to acknowledge that a) this post is entirely about her and not really about the kids below, kids she fully realizes are only two years old no matter how she adultifies them, and b) is seriously considering psychiatric assistance.

M has had a long standing fascination with one particular kid at school. It's been going on for months, and it's been a strange evolution for her mother. At first, her preoccupation was absurd, she would scream I love N over and over. She'd repeat his name all the time. And then we'd arrive and she'd run up to him and he'd turn and walk off. Just like that. And she'd glance sheepishly over her shoulder at me with a sort of what now glance.

So I kind of wanted to whack him. I don't begrudge many two year olds, but don't diss my kid, kid. I'm watching you.

But you know, we play it free and easy at Casa Talia. So I hung in there for the next few months, as M chattered on and on about N, while daycaregivers would muse about the strangeness of the fascination, the duration, the amusement. And on it went.

And every so often, N would toss her a bone. I'd come in and see them playing together, and when she saw me her face lit up, saying momma, look, N! And I'd say yes baby, I see you and N are playing, looks like a lot of fun.

It's this that I keep discovering - finding the joy in the things that joy your child. And I want to be in that space with her, watching her discover it.

And then lately, N has started to come around. When we walk into the room (he is always there before we arrive and still there when I pick her up, a long day for our buddy N) he comes up and says hello. To me. (mama's still got it, baby). By the way, dude has vocab. He can practically recite poetry while M is all crazy like lookeemoommeeeegooohommeeee.

And then the other day we were trying to get out the door and in the car when M wandered into our bushes, intent on finding a leaf for N. And nothing was going to move her till she found it. So leaf hunting we go, finding the one or two she wants and carefully take them off the branch and tiny fingers grasp them all the way to school, saying leaf for N, leaf for N, over and over.

We arrive at daycare and M spots N. N, she exclaims. Leaf! And he wanders over and she thrusts the leaf at him in that mixed aggressive/sweet/duck and cover sort of way, and N picks up the leaf, and looks at it, and they wander off, heads bowed together.

I'd be lying if I didn't get a bit weepy. Whatever. Refer to disclaimer b.

And when I picked up her up that night, N walked up to me, as is becoming more common, and said very quietly can I have a hug? And with M watching, I leaned down and gave him one, while catching M in the corner of my eye, wearing a grin that could split a tree in half. As he let go of me she ran squealing saying hug, hug, hug, and pummeled N around the waist, and the two of them hugged goodbye. And M proceeded to talk about that moment all night long, to me, to her daddy, to me, to her daddy. All night long.

And that's where it gets yummy. That while a) and b) are still obviously valid, that it is about supporting and loving your kid while they test the waters in all sorts of situations, ones that will work out and ones that will not, and how much I want to make sure I celebrate her victories and process her defeats - and how I want to wildly scream and cheer and get down with her joyousness.

Which in fact, I did. As we drove home and she kept squealing and screeching N hug mommee, me hug N over and over and over, I, too, was laughing and giggling and wild with joy.

See, it's this: We are mother and daughter.

We are mother, and we are daughter. And we are figuring the whole thing out.


KC said...

Weeeeeeee! A mother-daughter moment to melt all others!

This is what it's all about. Becoming one with the joy in their hearts. My heart is bursting for you.

Wonderful post.

And dude, the itty-bitty words.

QT said...

M sounds so sweet, I can almost hear her voice. Especially looking for a leaf. I am so happy that you got to share that, those little moments seem to stand out so much more than the artifical ones we try to creat sometimes.

What a cool post. Do you wonder what N tells his parent(s) and if you will ever run into them?

Susanne said...

Sniff. So moving.

Thailand Gal said...

Sounds like she recognizes him from another time. :)



crazymumma said...

Shit I love it when another child gives me their love. And who would not want to love you Jen! And who would not want to love M? What a triumph for the both of you. And what a world this would be if hugs could solve it all.

Beautiful and poetic post girl. I hope they are friends forever!

Mad Hatter said...

How Wordsworthian of you.

It seems to me as if M has got you soul in more ways than one.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the smile.

NotSoSage said...

You've totally still got it, as if you had any doubt after Mad's proposal.

I hate to be a buzzkill, but moments like these always make me wonder if I will also be going through the crap with her, with my heart wringing it's way through my gut the way it did when I was hurt, only worse.

Oh, geez, what are we in for?

mamatulip said...


jen said...

KC, itty bitty words was totally stolen from you.

Neen, I've seen N's mom. She's afreakishly hot mama, btw. I'm just saying.

Chani,I know. I think about that too.

Mum, I have an idea that involves you actually, will work on it soon.

Mad, your reference...hadn't thought of it, but i like it.

Oh So Sage, that thought wakes me up at night and fills me with terror. I don't know how I'll be able to witness that and not go apeshit.

nomotherearth said...

How lovely! This post made my day. I'm a sucker for young romance. Sigh.

jo! said...

Hi! This is the very first post of yours I've read (I followed the link from a comment you left at Oh the Joys), and I loved it! I love the way you communicated the wonderous bright-eyed innocence of M, her can't-be-matched-two-year-old excitement. What a joy! I can't wait to read more of your blog!

Laurie said...

You are an amazing mother. And you made me cry, again.

kristen said...

it's those moments when you realize how much the wee ones teach us, how connected and bonded we really are. love to you.

ewe are here said...

This is such a sweet post.

Julie Pippert said...

Oh...oh yes. I know that feeling...that situation very well.

Wait until 4, and 5...I can't wait for that post.

I'm sure it will be even more moving. :)

meno said...

That was sweet.

It makes me think of how brave kids can be, to risk rejection repeatedly. She knows what she wants and she went for it.

And how great that you and N are making some room in your hearts for each other.

Momish said...

Funny how you don't remember life ever being quite that exciting, especially over such "little" things. Funnier, how now, you get to live it all again as if you were two or three or four and it really is that exciting. Even if by proxy! Your insight always makes me giddy!

flutter said...

oof, my heart, seriously.
What a treasure.

Denguy said...

Aw, giggle giggle, that's so cu-u-u-ute. I guess it's a good thing you didn't whack him.

Deezee said...

wow, maybe I should take dating tips from M! ;)

Tabba said...

You're such a good Momma.
How we react (or don't react) is so crucial in modeling social behavior.

And let it be all about you. It's good for you.

How sweet is this - the goings on of a completely innocent love and frienship blossoming.

Good stuff. As usual.

Em said...

Sometimes the mother-daughter "thing" freaks me out (I don't have a particularly close relationship with my mother). It seems complicated and hard... except when I read about your beautiful moment and I think of my own moments with my daughters I wonder if it has to be hard afterall??

Hel said...

Your mail made me smile yesterday when I badly needed to.

I love the tenderness of your feelings for her, her feelings for N, her search for the perfect leave, his feelings for her, his reponse to you.

And that tendernes expanded leaving no room for fear.

And lastly that she choose a leave.

Lucia said...

Sweetie, not to get all psychological on you...but it makes sense that this post is about you. You're processing things as mommy, but also probably working through some of your own childhood stuff, since kids are the world's sweet way of helping us work through inner stuff as well as experiencing real life outer stuff.

radioactive girl said...

I love it! Nothing else to say.

Oh, The Joys said...

I've been reading and rereading this post and waiting to know the words to use to comment, but I don't have them. I love it...

carrie said...

And it only gets better from there...says she who's lap has just beaten out the Laurie Berkner Band for attention!!

Mother, Daughter, so sweet.


Deb said...

I can't tell you how beautiful it is to hear you trusting her and honoring her processes.

You are an amazing Mama, my friend.

ecm said...

beautiful post