Monday, August 25, 2014

What It Means to be Momma

It was sometime in the middle of the night when I got up to use the bathroom. As I always do, I looked over towards Senia Mae's room and noticed her door wide open. I decided to investigate and peeked in the room, straining my eyes as I struggled with the darkness to see any movement in the shadows. When it was obvious to me that she was still there and sleeping soundly in her bed, I turned around and pulled the door almost shut, leaving about an inch gap open.

Apparently she noticed the rousting in her room because as soon as I got to the bathroom I heard "Momma" coming from her room in that fearful, panic-stricken child's shriek. Everyone knows the only remedy for scariness like that is...Momma. I was not sure if she was crying out in her sleep so I walked back to her room and stooped over her bed for a minute, studying the lump of covers and pillows breathing in a gentle, steady rhythm.

Just when I thought I was going to make my way back to my own bed a small hand, like one of those long, sticky rubber hands that you throw against a wall, came out of the darkness and up to my face. It felt around my cheekbones and eye sockets. It patted softly at my hairline, feeling the springing curls, wild from the nights sleep and then moved over to my lips, pressing over the divot in my upper lip, making sure those lips were the familiar ones.

When she was completely sure it was me in her room and not some stranger lurking over her bed she pursed her lips out big, wanting a kiss. She was so adorable that my cheeks ached from my large grin. I leaned over and gave her a kiss on the lips. She sighed a sigh of utter relief, grabbed her beat up, white bunny and rolled over on her side, completely asleep within seconds. I stood there a moment longer, gazing at her with love, as my heart filled with a joy almost unimaginable. All of a sudden I wondered if this is where the Southern phrase "Well Bless Her Heart" came from. I thought maybe so.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Words Got In The Way

It is long before my eyes naturally open when I hear the thudding sound of little footsteps coming towards me. I try to clear the dense fog convincing my brain that this actually is not happening and I should definitely stay asleep. Within seconds a little person is at my side and bunny has been tossed by the ears onto my bed, landing right next to my cheek as Senia Mae stands up close to the edge next to me.

"Where is Mommy Kim?" she asks directly. Not Hi, good morning, or how are you.

"Mommy Kim had to work this morning. She left very early" I said.

"Aaaaaah" she sighs, totally disgruntled as she flops her head down on the bed hiding her disappointment. "I hate it when she's not here when I get up it's so..." she frantically searches for the word that describes her feeling of frustration "it's so boring."

"Boring?" I said laughing. "Do you even know what boring means? I don't think boring is the word you are looking for. Maybe you should try a different word" She had been picking up some cool words from our thirteen year old niece, Savannah.

"It's so...natural" Senia Mae says as she flips through her mental Rolodex of big and important sounding words, randomly picking one and inserting it into the sentence.

"I don't think natural is the word you are looking for either. How about when I wake up in the morning and Mommy Kim is not here I feel sad because I miss her" I looked into Senia Mae's eyes to see if there was a connection. "Does that explain the way you are feeling?"

"Yes Momma" she said happily "those are the right words." Before I could even sit up and laugh to myself about what had just happened she was already onto something else. "How does a chicken lay an egg...?" she said as she skipped out of the room...

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

You're Breaking My Feelings!

We are getting to the point with Senia Mae where we are realizing that we have to set limitations, with food, with television, with gifts, because with one child it is very easy to spoil them without even being aware it is happening. There is an unlimited amount of everything and we feel it is important for her to understand that you can not get what you want all of the time.

The other day we were heading home from a packed day that had already been filled with shopping, then bowling, as well as a couple of hours at the arcade. It was a day filled with fun and excitement, and even though we had a great time, by the time we left I had had my fill of lights, whistles,and dinging bells.

As we were driving home Senia Mae said "I want to stop at the big M". I try to divert her from fast food and hoped her idea would pass as quickly as it appeared. I decided to just ignore the comment.

"Momma, I want to stop at the big M and get some meat and cheese...on bread!" She apparently hadn't forgotten. At least she didn't ask for french fries, I thought, but we had already had a very indulgent day and I thought we should settle for a relaxing lunch at home.

"I don't think we are going to stop at the big M today" I said. "Maybe another time." Usually this approach works and she happily agrees. Not this time.

With more zest she said, "I want to eat meat and cheese at the big M" thinking I obviously hadn't heard her. She was not used to me saying no.

"No, we are going to have lunch at home today" I said. "We are all very tired and need to rest."

After a couple of minutes of silence I thought that the issue had been dropped, but as I pulled into our driveway and looked into the rear view mirror, I saw that she was fuming mad. Fortunately when she is mad she doesn't cry or scream, she merely pouts with her eyebrows frowned down and her lower lip stuck way out in front of her upper lip. Trying no to laugh because she looks so cute when she's mad, I had to ask, "Senia Mae what's wrong with you?"

She looked appalled that I didn't know why she was upset. Walking out of the car with her hands on her hips she spouted off, "I wanted to go to the big M and now you're breaking my feelings." I held in my laughter as I had to explain that we can't get everything that we want all of the time, sometimes we have to compromise. Compromising to a four year old can be a big task, but after we talked she took it with stride.

I love having these conversations with her where she uses the wrong words in sentences. Something about the innocence of it makes my heart bubble over with joy. She is trying to copy our phrases and sound more grown up, even though she doesn't understand all the words and the way they should be arranged.

When I think of how soon this phase will all be over, the one where she says adorable things like "are you still working on your beputer?" and how one day she'll be all grown up and talking to me like an adult...I feel like she'll be breaking my feelings sooner than she even realizes.