Friday, May 17, 2013

Sweet Secrets

Just recently, Evie has learned about secrets. She loves coming up to people, telling them she has a secret for them, and whispering in their ears. She comes up to me and says "Mommy, I want to tell you a secret in your ear." Then, when I bend down and brush my hair away from my ear, she leans in close and whispers "Pss, pss, pss! I love you! Pss, pss!" Then she leans back with a grin and waits for my reaction. Usually what I respond with is "Oh, that was such a fun secret! I loved it! Can I tell you a secret?" She eagerly nods and brushes her own hair away from her cute little ear and stretches up so her ear is as close to me as she can get it. Then I bend down and whisper to her "Pss, pss, pss! You're my sweetheart, Evie, and I love you so much! Pss, pss, pss!" Her answering smile could power the sun. She'll then say something like "Yes, Mommy! That was a good secret!" and bounce away.

She's also learned a fun new way to melt my heart. I guess she's learning to pay more attention to the movies that she watches now because she was on the potty one day after watching "Tangled" (which she calls "The Big Hair"), and told me to come talk to her. When I knelt down in front of her, she said "Mommy, I love you very much!" and I said "I love you too, Evie." She responded with "No, Mommy, say 'I love you more!'" So I chuckled and said "I love you more, baby" and she cheered out "I love you MOST!!" I followed up with "Oh yeah? Well, I love you most!" and she looked at me very earnestly and said "No, Mommy! You say 'I love you more,' and I say 'I love you most!'" There was no arguing with her, so I conceded. A part of me knows that it's a little silly that she's quoting a Disney movie, but the rest of me is so touched by her obvious sincerity. We go through this little discussion all the time now, and it never gets old!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Glamour Girl

I have told Evie countless times not to play with my makeup. She's always liked having "lip cream" to keep her lips from getting dry or inflamed, and she's already stained a couple outfits by using my expensive lip gloss when she knows she's not supposed to. But apparently, that hasn't stopped her from watching me when I apply my makeup. This afternoon, it got too quiet. When I turned around to find Evie, I found her with my purse on her lap, unzipped, and my makeup scattered around her. Then I took a closer look at her, and this is what I saw:
At first I thought it was just the lip gloss, and then I realized that she'd put on mascara too. I had very mixed feelings. One part of me was angry that she'd ignored the rules and played with my lip gloss again, but the larger part of me was trying hard not to laugh out loud.

I am a little concerned, though. After all, I wear makeup. Not a lot, and not even every day, but I do usually have on mascara and lip gloss if I'm leaving the house. Evie watches me closely and asks me what I'm doing, and I don't know what to say to her. She looks up to me and wants to be just like Mommy, so I don't want to say "I'm putting on makeup to make myself pretty" because I don't want her to think that she needs to wear makeup to be pretty too. She's a beautiful little girl exactly the way she is, and I want her to know that. So what do I say to her? How do I teach her the true definition of beauty without feeling like a hypocrite because I'm still insecure enough to need my makeup to feel beautiful? How do I answer her questions honestly, but without potentially prematurely planting self-image issues into her innocent psyche?

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Precious Moments

Just in the last month or so, I've shared some very special little moments with my girls. Each one was too small to share on its own, but I finally decided to collect them together into a single post so I don't forget the tiny precious moments that make motherhood so wonderful. 
On March 20th, the night before Evie's birthday, Elizabeth was unwilling to go to bed. Every time one of us put her down, she would immediately start crying. Finally, I got out of bed, picked her up, and just held her in my rocking chair. I didn't get upset or anything; I just took it as an opportunity to snuggle my little baby. I held her against my shoulder, and she snuggled into my neck and curled her little arm around to hold me tight. We stayed like that for several minutes, just rocking and snuggling in the dark. When I finally went to put her down, she squeezed my neck one more time before burrowing into her blankets and drifting to sleep. It was a very private moment for just the two of us: one I think we both needed. I'm grateful that I took the opportunity to be patient and let my daughter cling to her Mommy until she was really ready to let go.
Two days later, on March 22nd, Evie took a nap. That in itself is impressive since she's fought against bedtime for pretty much her whole life, and hasn't taken a regular nap in months. But this specific occasion was extra special because Evie fell asleep in my arms. This is my independent child, who has always preferred playing to letting me snuggle her. This time, though, she brought me her fuzzy blankie and let me hold her against my chest. A couple of minutes later, I noticed that she'd fallen asleep. I stayed very still and just savored the moment. They are becoming increasingly rare and I wanted to treasure what might very well be the last time my Evie girl falls asleep while I'm holding her. I'm grateful I got to just snuggle my little girl and feel the precious peace of the occasion surrounding us.
A couple of days after that, on that awful day when THE CRISIS happened, there was a tiny moment of sunshine amidst all of the darkness. When the social worker was sitting across from me, questioning my value as a mother, Ella climbed up on the couch next to me and, out of nowhere, gave me a kiss on my cheek. I treasure that memory because Elizabeth is much less demonstrative than her sister. Evie will readily give hugs and kisses, but Ella seems to need a bit more coaxing to demonstrate physical affection. So for her to kiss me, completely unprompted, at the very moment when I was feeling most dejected, it seemed like a clear sign that, regardless of anyone else's opinion, I was doing alright. I needed that right then, and I'm grateful that I was given such a priceless gift from my little one.
Last month, on April 19th, Todd and I went out to dinner at a little Mexican restaurant. I got up from the table to take Evie potty, and heard Elizabeth say (actually wail) her very first word as I left: "Mama!" I thought it must just be a fluke, but when I came back and sat down again, Ella said it again, this time as a statement. It was obvious to both Todd and me that this wasn't a random set of sounds; she was actually associating those sounds with me and was calling my name. I was so thrilled and honored that, out of all of the words out there that she could have chosen, my name was the first one she said!
More recently, just last week on May 1st, Ella was playing with Todd. They were playing peek-a-boo or hide-and-seek together. Ella was sitting on my lap on the couch while Todd hid behind it. When he popped up, she went into gales of laughter and they started all over again. If he took longer to pop up, she started to get concerned; she craned over the edge to look at him, instantly grinned, and pulled away so he couldn't catch her. This game of theirs went on for probably a half-hour, and neither of them seemed to get bored with it. It warmed my heart to see my little girl and her Daddy bonding and playing so happily together.
Finally, yesterday, we went to the zoo. The entire ride home, all I heard was laughter coming from both girls. I looked back just to see what was going on. They were holding hands and looking at each other and just giggling together. One of them would start giggling, seemingly for no reason, but then the other one would join in, and they would just feed off of each other the entire way home. My eyes actually welled up because it was such a beautiful happy sound. I loved hearing my sweet girls have so much fun together as sisters and as friends!