Nagoo! She shouts at me, naaaa-goooooo (she means milk)
I give her milk, she throws it on the floor and collapses, sobbing. naagoooo, naagooo!!! she wails.
I pick her up, she thrashes. Noooooo!!!!! Dada! Dada! Dada!! she pleads. Daddy’s at work, I tell her.
She walks over to Leila, smiles, then leans over and bites her arm. Screaming, tears, I march her to her bed and plop her down. No Biting! That is not nice!
She eagerly runs to the table when I tell her lunch is ready, only to reject most of the food on her plate. It’s apple sauce, you *love* applesauce. I plead. No!! No!! No!!
One thousand times a day, no.
She wants a cup with no lid, so I let her try and in her excitement she spills it all over herself, the table, the floor. She cries, pulling at her wet clothes.
She wants to sit on the potty, so I encourage her. She sits for a moment, then stands beside it, peeing all over the floor.
She wants to wear her sister’s boots, or sneakers, or slippers. I help her get them on, minutes later they’re off again. More, mama? More? she asks. Again and again and again.
She wants to be 3, I can tell by the way she looks at Leila. She wants to be able to run faster, climb better, put on her own shoes, her own pants. She wants to colour, to paint, to whip dangerously down the ice covered slide in the back yard.
For this moment, she’s in between. No longer my baby but not yet a little girl.
Nagoo? I hear, and look down. She’s there, sippy cup in hand, arms reached up. Up? Nagoo? she asks. So I lift her, and she leans back and sighs, cuddles into my arms and drinks her milk. And when she’s finished, she stays for a moment, smiles her twinkling brown eyes up at me and pats my face.
Oh baby, I think, I could hold you forever.
But then she’s gone again, climbing, chasing, squealing. Hides behind the chair and then peeks out, Hi! giggles and ducks back down.
At times, my body aches for another baby. Just one more, these two grew too fast. Let’s do it just one more time. But I’m not quite sure if that’s actually what I want, or if watching my girls grow will always be tinged with a taste of bittersweet.
Because it is, it always has been bittersweet.
The part that no one tells you about parenting is that it is an exercise in letting go.