This weekend we celebrated your third birthday. Three years old!?! When and how did that happen? Unfortunately you weren’t able to enjoy much of your birthday this year because a few days ago you decided to try to bite your tongue off. I’m not even kidding. Had those sharp little teeth of yours bit down any further, you would have lost about half your tongue! Several hours of crying, a trip to the emergency room and one very nervous momma made for the kind of evening I don’t ever want to repeat. But the fact that you still weren’t eating (or even really opening your mouth, for that matter) by the time your birthday party rolled around meant that I got to eat your ice cream and help you blow out your candles.
Not gonna lie, that part was pretty rad.
Your dad and I have recently reached a point where we are consciously having to stop ourselves from saying certain words around you because of your fondness for repeating them. It’s not that we curse a lot… well, okay it is that. It’s exactly that. It’s not a fact I’m necessarily proud of, and I promise that we’ve both been trying to do better since you came along, but when I overhear you telling a spider “get outta my house you little bastard” I realize there is definitely room for improvement. So we’ve found ourselves replacing swear words with ridiculous things like “goo head” or “holy lampshade”. Basically anything that we can think of that we won’t be embarrassed by when you decide to repeat it in front of my grandma.
One word that we’ve been saying a lot, thanks to you actually, is “soaking”. One afternoon, after spending hours in and out of the kiddie pool in the backyard, I told you that it was time to come inside because you were soaking wet and it was getting cold. “Yep, I’m soaking wet!” you said, but later it became, “That was soaking fun!” And since that day, you seem to use that word any time you need to describe something.
You’re soaking crazy, Mom.
That’s soaking awesome!
I’m soaking tired.
This mac-n-cheesaroni is soaking good!
Almost every day, after I pick you up from the babysitter’s and we’re on our way home you’ll ask me if Shylee is going to be there. You love your sister, always have. Only now, that love has transformed from an innocent, sweet, totally-in-awe love into the kind of love most siblings share — a teasing, competitive, I-can-totally-punch-harder-than-you type of love.
If it’s been a while since the two of you have seen each other, the first couple hours of your reunion are wonderful. You greet her with a giant hug and your enormous smile and the two of you rush into your bedroom or out into the yard to play. But it’s isn’t long before your care-free, balls out approach to life starts cramping her style and I hear Shylee shout something like, “Jenny, Morgan isn’t playing the game correctly” immediately followed by you making a mad dash through the living room butt naked, holding a headless Barbie in one hand and a handful of half-eaten crayons in the other. She likes her toys put neatly away or placed in small, organized piles in the corner of the closet. You like them dunked in the toilet, thrown down the stairs and then buried in various places throughout the backyard.
Recently (after hearing about the bug you carried around in your pocket for an entire day, occasionally pulling him out to ask “hey bug, you dead?”) a friend of mine told me that you have a very interesting personality. That you do, kiddo. In fact, I would dare say that you are the most interesting person I have ever met. You are not a typical little girl in that you absolutely love bugs, dinosaurs, tractors and monster trucks. You know the names of the Disney Princesses not because you enjoy watching princess movies, but because your sister makes you play her princess matching card game with her. You prefer movies like Megamind and Open Season over those silly ol’ princess movies any day. You love to shoot guns with your daddy, and the volume and strength with which you belch after a good drink of chocolate milk could put a drunken old man to shame. Yet you’re still very much my sweet little girl.
You love to cuddle and probably four out of five mornings you find your way to our bedroom before it’s light outside, lift up the covers and snuggle right next to me until the sun comes up. You know you have a spot next to Mama and you are always welcome to come cuddle up there.
The other night after you hurt your tongue, you slept next to me all night. As you tossed and turned, crying out at times, I thought about the events of the night and right then something happened: I got it! I suddenly understood fully and completely how a person could do anything for their child. I always knew I loved you deeply, even before you were born, there’s never been any question about that. But this was a different feeling, one I don’t really know how to articulate. This was the feeling that I never wanted to see you hurting, that I would gladly do whatever was necessary to take your pain away, that I needed to take that pain from you, even though I knew there was really nothing I could do.
Morgan, my whole life I’ve been the one in hospitals, undergoing surgery and endlessly being poked by needles, but it’s been okay. I’ve tried to be tough and most of the time I handle things with at least a little dignity. But when your dad drove us to the hospital that night, I was a total wreck. Simply anticipating the fear and discomfort you would feel was enough to break me and I cried the whole way to the hospital. Heaven forbid anything more serious ever happens to you because I almost didn’t make it through a little tongue biting!
You’ve not been yourself since your little accident. You’ve said maybe a total of 25 words in the past four days, you’ve been whiny, you’ve been sad, you’ve refused to eat (I’ve been keeping you alive with juice, Ensure and Scandi Shakes) and you haven’t been sleeping well. Just tonight, a couple hours ago in fact, you finally ate something! I gave you just a little bit of oatmeal, not expecting much but hoping you would at least try it. It took a little while for you to build up the courage, but eventually you took a bite and as soon as that oatmeal hit your belly, you immediately transformed back into the little girl I know and love so much. You shoveled the rest of the oatmeal in your mouth, then promptly asked for more.
After finishing the second bowl you began telling me all the things you’ve been dying to tell me over the past four days. It’s like all the words had built up inside of you and now that you were feeling a bit better they were just spilling out uncontrollably.
You talked while you changed into your jammies. You talked while I took your ponytails out and brushed your hair. You attempted to talk while you (gently) brushed your teeth. You talked while I tucked you in, and you continued to talk after I had kissed you goodnight and closed your bedroom door. As I quietly sat outside your door listening to you jabbering away on the other side I thought to myself, “I’m glad you’re back, kiddo. I soaking missed you!”