Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Miraculously, a styrofoam cup plant that Ann brought home last year from preschool has been thriving on our kitchen windowsill. Ordinarily, the school plant and the carnival goldfish are more vulnerable than the California condor. Nestled between the "egg-checking glass" and another plant, at home among the flour, sugar, and our kitschy Belgian kitchen chicken, Ann's plant has been growing up and over the frame, straining leftward toward the sun.
When I was pregnant with Andy, I remember someone telling me that the first time you change your bigger baby after bringing home a newborn, the older sibling suddenly seems huge. "Look at those giant legs! And you can talk! Why am I still changing your diapers!?" But in actuality, the bigger baby is still quite little, thought it's easy to forget with those tiny, chicken-y newborn legs in your house again. I do remember how big my scrawny Ann suddenly seemed that day during Sukkos when Andy came home.
This week we celebrated Andy's second birthday. He's coming into his own, and holding fast to his reputation as the Raggedy who probably adds the most fun and excitement to our brood. Although Andy's our resident displaced baby since the arrival of Little Rag, he really does feel like he's still also the baby. It was just about a year ago that I started this blog with a picture of him in the laundry basket. (Happy Blogiversary to me!)
Ann, on the other hand, has suddenly struck me as such an independent girl. I'm realizing daily that there are so many ways in which she doesn't need me anymore. Getting dressed, washing up, and keeping busy (usually) are, for the most part, within her domain. Watching the way she plays, and the way she teaches Andy to play, makes me realize that she's gotten very mature in just the last couple of months.
Yesterday at the little playground they built behind our apartment, two big boys came along after we'd been there a while. One of them was passing by Andy on the way up to the slide, and said something like, "This slide isn't for a baby!" I just watched from the sidelines for a minute. Although Ann is usually reserved with strangers, she stood up tall and said, "He just had his birthday on Sunday, and now he's two years old [showing two fingers]. He's actually a very big boy now. Come with me, Andy."
It has made me kind of wistful that she doesn't need me the way Andy still does. For the most part, she knows what she's doing and isn't going to take the same crazy risks. She certainly doesn't need me the way Little Rag does, desperately clinging to my neck for dear life, still totally bewildered by this world.
They're growing up every day, but the truth is, I'm the one who still needs them.