Greetings from the depths of parenting 3 children under the age of 4! Oh wait, scratch that. As of today, I have 2 children under the age of 4. Because on this day in 2009, little Eva was born. If you’ve been around that long, you might remember this post. You might also laugh at how rudimentary my blogging skills were. Then again, you might tear up with nostalgia, reflecting on those days when I could blog weekly, sometimes even 2 or 3 times a week. Ah, the good old days.
Anyway, I’m surfacing long enough to wish my most wonderful baby a very happy 4th birthday. Eva is a joy and a delight in every way. Even when she is refusing to walk and insists on being carried. Or like this morning at breakfast when she decided to eat a bowl of Nutella with her fingers while simultaneously decorating the table with chocolate swirls. Of course, this was right after she got a pen and decorated her entire leg. I only discovered that trick after I found Zoe, who, not to be outdone, was locked in another room, drawing our entire family on her leg. Curiously, Otto is always represented by a circular blob. Which, to be fair, is pretty accurate. The kid’s so fat he can barely move. Oh, I digress.
So back to the point. And yes, I have one. They do grow up. And as with most things you learn as a parent, you and your child often have very different desires. Does she want to empty an entire tube of toothpaste into the sink or pour a container of bubbles onto the floor? Well, yes she does. And does she want to grow up? Oh most definitely. But me? No, I prefer the toothpaste in the tube and the bubbles, well, outside. And as for little Eva growing up? It’s inevitable. And in some ways it’s desired. But it’s sometimes hard to watch. Because it’s permanent. Those early years are so fleeting and all you have left is memories and (with any luck) photos to remind you of how tiny, how helpless, how perfect a baby you once had.
It’s got me so traumatized that I actually had a nervous breakdown the other night. Yes. I was on my way to book group (not that I have time to read, but no one seems to mind) and I realized that Eva’s wubbie was missing. As in WUBBIE. The pink little blanket with a cat head that she has slept with every single night since she was old enough to have a wubbie in her crib. Every single night since she was a baby. And wubbie was no where to be found.
I literally fell apart. I started by calmly asking Eva where wubbie had gone. Then I searched all 5 floors of my house while my taxi was waiting outside. Now sweating and huffing, I resorted to screaming. And finally I turned to my babysitter and started sobbing.
“She can’t sleep without wubbie! She hasn’t gone a single night without wubbie in over 3 years! I can’t leave. I just can’t!” I cried, my whole face bright red and very hot. (I was acutely aware that I looked and sounded like an idiot.)
Fortunately, we have a babysitter who is more emotionally balanced than this old coot. She just patted me on the shoulder and said, “It’s okay. Wubbie is just as much a part of you as it is Eva. You’ve grown up with wubbie too.” And then she literally shoved me out the door and told me that Eva would be fine.
Which she was. She easily substituted another soft blankie from her baby days and went to sleep without a peep. Wubbie, naturally, resurfaced the next morning, inside a pillowcase. And as for me, once I got over the embarrassment, I had to admit that our sitter was right. In my mind, Eva going to bed without wubbie was somehow like the death of her childhood. I realize that is ridiculous. But let’s not kid ourselves that I fell apart because we couldn’t find a pink blanket at bedtime. I fell apart because my baby is growing up.
But, hey. That’s life. And what a gorgeous little girl she is growing into. Happy Birthday, Evi.