As children grow up, they always seem to be one-step-ahead of their chronological age. They want to act thirteen when they are only eleven. Girls want to wear makeup at twelve, boys want to wear cologne. We wish them young again, when they needed us; wanted us to be around. So, I ask myself, why am I upset when the littlest of my brood plays a game (everyday) where she acts like a baby?
"Waaaah" she cries.
"Are you my little baby?" I coo, trying to participate in her charade so it ends quickly.
"Ma Ma" she stutters.
Oh boy, here we go. Do I give in to this hoax, again, toting her around, even though she's almost fifty pounds? She can sense my frustration after I haphazardly carry her through a doorway, bumping her head on the frame. Oops.
"Mommy, you always say I'm your little baby. Why are you looking mad? I thought you didn't want me to grow up anymore," she smiles up at me, kisses each cheek, and bats her long eyelashes.
She got me! I realize that I do tell her not to grow, often kidding with her that she can't eat anymore because then she'll grow up too fast and won't be my baby anymore. But, it's different when they really aren't babies, yet are acting like them.
It's not the same as a tiny, sweet-smelling, freshly-diapered, able-to-carry-in-one-hand, little peanut. My 'baby' smells sweaty, from playing outside, and has jelly on the side of her mouth from biting, center-first, into a half of a sandwich. Her matted hair is tickling my nose and my legs will have bruises from her feet smacking against them. I am grateful for the arm workout, though, and try to lift her like a dumbbell, only prolonging our game even longer, because she thinks it is hysterical.
I try to sway her in another direction. Maybe we can put together a puzzle or make cupcakes. Minutes later, I lay her down in her bed and say "Night, night, my little baby," assuming she knows the game is now over. I make it through the hallway before I feel her at my feet. I look down and she is on all fours.
"Woof woof" she barks.