I slip on her pale green stockings and pull on a hot pink pullover over her chocolate brown skirt. As I reach for her hair she screws up her eyes tight and says – ‘No! I don’t want to tie it up so tight. I want an Alice band.’
So an Alice band it is. As I pick up the sturdy little sneakers her little voice pipes up again – “No! I want to wear my pink boots.”
I curse the day I bought those boots.
MM: “But you will run around in school and the sneakers will be more comfortable. Didn’t you say your toes hurt in the boots?”
Bean: “But they’re not hurting right now..” she says with a logic that appeals only to her own 3 year old mind.
Whatever, I shrug. Wear them and cry all day. See if I care. It’s early morning and I’m picking my battles. One more day of toe-aching and she’ll jolly well wear her sneakers to school (or does vanity above discomfort start so early?!). As of now she only admires her legs in the pink boots and says “I’m a rockster, mama..” “Rockstar, I automatically correct her, wondering where she picked that up from.
She walks out the door waving to me. I sigh in pleasure. Dressing a daughter is the ultimate pleasure. She wears everything you didn’t get to wear in your misbegotten youth. And come winter, my daughter is my pride and joy, in her fur lined jackets, short skirts, stockings and boots. Her fine hair hanging around her vibrant little face in a cloud of silk. She’s growing up so fast, I think to myself. She has an opinion on her clothes, she tells me off if I push her too far and she knows her mind so well. She is slowly learning to take care of herself, be it feeding herself or dressing herself. She puts away her toys when told to and can be reasoned with on major issues. What is it about second children and daughters that makes them grow up so fast?
The day goes by and come afternoon, a little prone figure is carried in fast asleep. The perky cheekiness and audacity of the morning has given way to drool running down the corner of a little pink mouth, the eyelids fluttering as they see some ‘rockster’ dream, no doubt. The pretty pink boots are scuffed and mud splattered and the lovely stockings that I have so painstakingly begged family to get from abroad are filthy and ripped at the knee. I sigh as I regretfully peel them off her feet – stubby pink toes that don’t look like they were squashed too badly. I slip her under the blanket and tuck her in. Her soft cheeks smell of spit and strawberry jam and her long eyelashes lie across them like lace. Maybe she’s not grown up all that fast after all. Maybe she’ll be my little baby just a little while longer. Maybe I’ll play dress up with my doll for one more year.