“Five little monkey, swinging in a tree!
Teasing Mr. Alligator, can’t catch me!
Along come Mr. Alligator, quiet as can be
Leila taught me that song yesterday and it’s been in my head ever since.
She’s so big lately. Her legs are long and her feet and too big for all her socks and her jeans are baggy at the waist but short in the legs and I’m not sure her snow pants will last the winter and daily, I watch this girl in wonder.
While at times, I wonder why it all has to go so fast, mostly, I’m so happy to have this little friend of mine.
“We’re best friends, aren’t we Mom?” she asks.
“We sure are,” I always answer.
“Cause I’m your special girl.”
It’s easy to marvel in the developments of a baby, even a toddler, because they are so tangible. Walking and talking and temper tantrums! But a preschooler is a different creature entirely.
She is gentle natured. She is kind. She is patient. She is so very loving.
She brings home paintings from daycare. Scribbles with markers or hearts coloured in. “This one’s for you, this one’s for Daddy, this one is for the fridge, this is for Nan…” The list goes on. She’s always giving, always making things for other people.
I’ve long been convinced that Leila is an old soul. She loves to run and play and hop on one foot, but she’s tender beyond her years. Last week, after my mom got home from the hospital, Leila immediately got on the phone and said, “Now tell me what the doctor said.”
She gets dressed in her doctor’s jacket, thermometre in the pocket, stethoscope around her neck and checks everyone in the house, administering pretend medicine as need be (although sometimes she claims the cure is a good rest, some apple juice and hugs).
Leila loves her sister, and is delighted now that Alena is old enough to “play” (which is really Alena following Leila around the house, blind with love, doing most of what Leila demands). Alena is always the baby, Leila the mommy. She’ll make a bed, get Alena to lay down and then tuck her in, singing lullabies and rubbing her back.
I watch her and I think, who will you be? How will you grow?
“I’m going to be a doctor when I’m big! No! A doctor and a mommy! No! A dentist! No! A Tim Horton’s worker! No! I’m going to work at a grocery store like Daddy!”
The list goes on.
“Baby,” I tell her, “You can be whatever you want.”
And she can, and she will. And I’m so very lucky to have front row seats for all of it.