Ever since the Little One was born, my attention has been divided. But there came a time two weeks ago that made me stop in my tracks and look at my little girl in all her budding four year old glory…
When it comes to swimming at my parents’ house, Little Libra has a drama queen routine. First, there’s the mock fear of getting in the water. Cringe. Then she feigns too fragile for the cold water. Ugh! And the worst part: clinging on to me for dear life. It makes me want to pull my hair out because she knows how to swim. I was there. I can prove it. Is it a real fear or a flair for the dramatic? I don’t know. She just eventually regains confidence and I can focus on other things — like my son. After all, it’s the poor little guy’s first dip.
With my thumbs and index fingers snuggled around his armpits, Little One and I glide back and forth across the pool. He splatters water all over his face, pumps his legs, and smacks his lips. We’re making eye contact. We’re having our moment, both of us squealing in delight. For a good five minutes, he has my complete attention.
“Mommy, look at me!” SPLASH. I snap out of my reverie and see Little Libra jumping into the water, landing belly first, her legs shaped like a V. She kicks forward two times then promptly returns to the wall like a magnet. This goes on replay for ten more times.
“I see you! Good job!” I say for about ten times. I suggest that she swim toward me for a change.
“Hi Little One! Look at Ate!” SPLASH. She pretends not to hear me.
And then nature calls Little Libra. Dutifully, she swims toward the steps where her towel lies nearby. If there is any indication of how badly she needs to go, she swims away from the wall as opposed to the usual scaling. Realizing she was in “unchartered waters” she pulls her head up and a wave of panic registers across her face as she sees how far away I am and how far the wall is. Instinctively, she flails her arms forward and holds her breath before she goes under.
But she doesn’t.
Instead, her head bobs on top of the water with an exuberant smile. “I’M STANDING MOMMY!” as she spits water out of her mouth. “I CAN STAND!!!” Her ears are submerged but her chin is up, way up. She starts jumping.
Like a tarsier to a tree branch, her eight month-old brother’s legs are wrapped tightly around my waist. I look down at his little toes against my belly button and across the pool to his Ate whose feet are planted on the blue tiled floor. Tears sprouted from the corners of my eyes. Where the hell did the time go? What’s next?? Her period?!
Little Libra hops her way toward me and secures her arms around my neck in glee. Her full body extends far beyond my knees. How could I not have noticed? She then wraps her legs around my hips and under her brother’s legs, and covers her mouth to my ear, “Mommy, I don’t need to go to the banyo anymore… I’m finished.”
Phew! She’s still my little girl.
My daughter turns four years old tomorrow and I approach it with complete and utter disbelief. I can only compare it to the time my Dad realized I was turning thirty. (Mind you, I was married and had Little Libra already.) My Mom was asking him if he was free Thursday night for my birthday dinner and with his eyes glued to the computer he replies, “Why?… It’s her birthday again?… How old is she turning?” Thirty. “What?! She’s already 30?!” as if I got married out of wedlock.
That’s how I feel. Except my version is “Ack?! She can stand in the pool?!” But she can’t even brush her own teeth or write her name or drive! But if she can stand in the pool, what else can she do? She’s becoming her own person. That’s what. Here’s what I’ve noticed in the week coming up to her fourth birthday, such charming (at times, irritating) “advancements” in her personality:
- Vanity – She freaks out when she doesn’t “feel pretty,” scoffs at things that seem baduy, and changes her clothes when she doesn’t like what I pick. Wait a sec, does this mean she thinks I’m kind of baduy? (Already??)
- Freakish sense of cleanliness and diplomacy – She asks me if my shorts are clean before I lie down on her bed — when she knows they are indeed not clean.
- Protectiveness bordering on possessiveness with a dose of superiority a.k.a being an Ate - She refuses to let her brother sleep apart from her and ensures that he is always part of the family activity provided that she has dibs on the bigger, better stuff (toys, food, attention). A favorite line while loudly munching on Cheetos aware that her brother is staring at her, “This is not for you Little One. You don’t have teeth!” Crunch, crunch.
- Loving – She wakes up early so she can hang out with her Dad since she’s too sleepy or fast asleep when he gets home. Every morning. Even if it means waking up at 5am to catch him before a golf game. (Aaaaaaaw!)
So there you have it. I have a four year old who can can stand in the pool. Last August, I thought turning four meant just another birthday party I had to plan. Not at all. Look how far she’s come. From this:
And then this:
(This is the first & only panty shot. We’ve been working on keeping the knees together for six months now!)
And finally to this:
HAPPY 4TH BIRTHDAY Little Libra! Mommy is so proud you can stand on your own two feet:)