Happy birthday to Rosie! On Saturday, she’ll be 3.
Rosie is a character. Today, we shared fruit and a croissant at the Art Café. She sat across from me with her hands folded on her knees, a little smile on her face. “Well,” she said. “This is a lovely snack.”
She chats from morning to night, a steady stream of related and unrelated thoughts: “Last time, it was Halloween at scoowal and I weared my skeleton costume, and Luca said to me, “hey, badoinky face! And I said, that’s silly Luca because he’s my friend and he’s a silly guy!” The story pauses so she can belly laugh, showing those little teeth with the spaces between. “Is that funny?”
Sometimes, Nora laughs with me after Rosie’s long-winded monologues. “Rosie, you’re just so cute, I can’t take it. Oh, Rosie, I just love you. I love you more than infinity!” Other times, she’s not into it. “Rosie! Yesterday wasn’t Halloween! And you weren’t even a skeleton for Halloween!”
Rosie’s favorite game at the moment is: “Can you make this guy talk?” She’s moved on a little bit from pretending that she herself is the character to bringing all of the inanimate object in our house to life. She will hand you anything—a stuffed elephant, a play doh flower, a stick. “Can you make this guy talk, and then I’ll make the other guy talk?” This happens nonstop throughout the day, so when I’m trying to clean the dishes, I’ll try to make the sponge talk. Sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn’t. “No, sit over here, no right heeeare! And you be the Mommy and this guy will be the baby and it will be night night time, okaaay?”
She gets so engrossed in her make pretend, that she never wants to move on from an activity. When we must move on, Rosie freaks out. She can be a dramatic little person, screaming, “No!!!!!” and flopping around. “No, no, no, no, this is not-a-great-day-today.” I have to crawl over and under jungle gyms to retrieve Rosie and carry her, flailing, to the car. This is a challenge. I am trying to figure out how to set the limits for her, to be clear with my expectations, to decide which battles to choose, to know when to distract and when to teach, and to give her opportunities to feel in control. Sometimes, I do these things well, and sometimes, I don’t.
Rosie and Nora fight like sisters do, and it is usually because they would like to play the game in two different ways. Nora is often more logical, possibly because of her age—while she also thrives on make pretend, she likes for the game to be somewhat consistent with reality. “Rosie, if it’s a Zumba class, we don’t wear tutus. Zumba is not ballet.”
“Yes, we do.”
“No we don’t, Rosie!”
“Yes, we do.”
“No. We. Don’t!!!!”
“Yes. We. Do!!!!”
Etc., etc, etc.
I am shocked when they occasionally work it out on their own.
Nora: “Well, I guess you can borrow my pink tutu.”
Rosie in a high voice. “Oooh! That would be so very nice.”
Nora’s big sister voice is funny to me. She sort of drops her chin, lowers her voice and says, “Rosie. That isn’t true. Frogs don’t have wings. They’re amphibians and they live in the water.”
Rosie, usually flitting around the room, humming a little song: “Yes, it is. Because today was my bertday and I said, I’m not eating anything today and you said, oh yes you are! And I’m going to decorate your arm or you will have a time out.”
Nora scoffs, not even looking up from whatever she’s doing: “Rosie. That doesn’t make any sense.”
Oh, they are just so interesting. I’m not always able to appreciate it, because sometimes, I just want them to stop fighting and play nice. Sometimes, I don’t feel like “making this guy talk” because I need to move through the day: give them bath, get them dinner, get Nora in her leotard and tights and get back out the door to dance. We spend a lot of time cleaning, getting them out the door, getting them back in the door and getting them to bed. It so nice when I’m able to pause, play, and observe them.
That’s why I want to write it all down, so I can have a little distance to sit back and enjoy the moments. And they’re good at pulling me out of my to-dos to make sure I’m paying attention to their cuteness. Rosie sat next to me at the playground yesterday and said, “Well, it is a beautiful day, today.”
I’m really proud of them, and in awe of how they’re growing.
Happy, happy 3rd birthday to sweet Rosie!
Thanks for reading!