There is SO. MUCH. AWESOME. in our lives. Maddy is amazing and hilarious and so so smart and wonderful. And daily Neil and I laugh or cringe or are shocked by something she says or does. And I want to remember this all. I post pithy little Facebook updates, and maybe that could be enough. But I think I want more context. One of my 2014 resolutions is to... (you guessed it) BLOG MORE. And over a week into this, I am only just starting.
There are some really really old examples of her awesomeness that I saved in Google Keep (love that program - electronic sticky notes). One night, in July or so, as I was putting her to bed, I snuggled her tightly as we laid on her floor. Then I pretended to be fast asleep, with over the top snoring and everything. Maddy kept squirming and trying to get out, calling out "MOMMY! WAKE UP MOMMY!". I ignored her demands to wake up and stole the snuggles. She stopped moving... she was thinking...
She couldn't wake me, so the rooster would! I started laughing, ruining the snoring and let her go. And then stared and my 3 and a half year old, in awe of her problem solving. Her voice wouldn't wake me, so what does wake people? ROOSTERS! Oh Maddy, you'll have us on our toes for years and years to come.
(Just a picture from a playdate that I adore. This post needed more pictures!)
This was the first year Maddy went trick or treating, and understood it. And it was SO MUCH FUN. She dressed up, we walked and walked (and collected reams of candy). She was so polite walking up to houses, holding my hand. The first time I stood back to take a picture (below) is the first (but not last!) house with a motion activated scream machine. If you look closely in the picture you can see Maddy looking sharply to the right, as the machine starting cackling. Oy! I ran up the her immediately and was much more careful staying by her side. And holding her for a few other houses with motion detection machines.
After it was all done, we were snuggling in bed and talking about trick or treating. She loved the candy, the visiting. I praised her for being brave with some of the moving decorations. She said she wasn't brave, she was scared.
"Maddy, being brave means still doing what you want to, even if you are sacred. And mommy is so proud of you". I always, always am.
Right now, Maddy is helping with everything. Setting the table, cooking, cleaning... she can do it ALL because she is a "BIG girl now". And we're still trying to accommodate her as much as we can. Cutting the tomatoes? No. But putting the cut tomatoes into the bowl for me? Sure! We can make this helping thing work.
Over Christmas Maddy insisted on helping Neil shovel when it was when it was pretty cold out. We found her snowpants, scarf, tuque, gloves, jacket and warm boots. And her little pink shovel. And she was out! Helping Daddy. Well... "helping". She felt it was important to take the snow OFF the banks and put it on the sidewalk. Then when corrected, no snow on the sidewalk, she took the snow off the bank, crossed the sidewalk and put it on the OTHER bank. Where is slowly rolled down and landed... on the sidewalk. But she's trying! And we encourage that.
Another way Maddy wanted to prove she was a big girl. On New Years day we decided to go out to our favourite sushi restaurant. Maddy hears my mom and I constantly battle to see who will pay. That day? She ran into the living room, grabbed her little toy piggy bank (in the shape of a "Madelineraptor") and proudly declared SHE would be paying! She carried her piggy bank in to the restaurant and told the waitress (who we know well) that she would pay. Rhea looked at us, and we quietly indicated we'd cover the rest. And after dinner, Maddy proudly carried her 45 cents to pay for dinner. And we proudly finished off the bill.
Over Christmas Maddy was home with us when daycare was closed. We tried to get her out of the house, activities and visiting. And even tried to arrange a playdate at our place (although it never happened). But there was a lot of "booooooooored" and "I want you to PLAY with me!" over the days. Espousing the virtue of independent play was not going over very well... Finally on December 30 we could take Maddy in for the day! Despite us both being home, we knew she would love the time with her friends. She walked in to little girls screaming her name. Maddy hugged each little girl so tightly and exclaimed "I MISSED YOU GUYS!" and was off. She has reached that socialization place - her friends are so important to her. And they will continue to grow in importance (as we, the parents, diminish). And that is perfectly ok :)
(A picture from a friend's birthday party)
"A bass, mommy"
Well. A child's toy bass has not yet been invented! So she got a toy pink guitar, which she affectionately calls her bass. And it's obnoxiously loud. And she loves it!
(Maddy, practicing with Daddy, back in the summer)
Being a mom is often collecting wisdom from friends. One dear friend was explaining how in her house she's taught her daughter there are no secrets, only surprises. The reason for this is dark, if there is anything inappropriate happening, and someone tells Maddy that what is happenign is a "secret" that she can't tell mommy or daddy... well. There are no secrets in our house. But it's hard to give up that vocal tic.
A few days a ago we were sitting around. Maddy and Daddy were on the couch together, watching something on the computer I think. Maddy was being her usual awesome self and I was struck with how much I love her. I said aloud "Maddy, can I tell you a secret?". She stopped, thought and said "But we have no secrets mommy". Oh Maddy! You are right, I was wrong. There are no secrets. As I try to teach you, you reflect it back at me and make me look at life anew.
Parenting is not about saying the right thing, always. It's about modelling the right thing, as often as you can. And when you see something positive and confident reflected back at you, in your child's eyes and actions, you know that despite the mistakes you are doing ok. There will be secrets, one day. There will be lies and hurt feelings. We will be so irrelevant... and as long as we give her a solid foundation to act from, she'll be ok. So far, so good. We have an amazing little girl in our house.