And that if I should get my wish, I would need twelve to fifteen cups of coffee a day to keep up with them.
Some dear friends of mine entrusted me (and my husband, of course) with their two daughters this past weekend. They’re 6 and 2-and-half, respectively. They arrived laden with sleeping bags and stuffed kitties and a potty seat. The youngest set immediately to exploring everything, testing all the child locks and the cat’s (considerable) patience. Her big sister, missing her mom and dad already, asked for crayons and proceeded to draw them a picture.
It was a busy, busy, busy 24 hours. There was much pretend cooking with pom poms and plastic buttons in Miss E’s play kitchen, building with blocks, elbowing for reading room on my lap and making homemade play dough on the stove while the smaller set took a nap. We went on two nature walks, swinging plastic buckets and collecting sticks, flowers and pine cones. The eldest found a sturdy walking stick and a knobbly collection of tree roots perfect for a Yoda impersonation. She is a child after my own heart.
What was wildest to me about the weekend, though, wasn’t how bone tired three children made me, but how the dynamic between the three made me think about my own daughter. My tough, independent little girl was the baby of the group. And she acted the part, too, demanding extra hugs and whining her heart out, not at all happy that her routines were disrupted by visitors visiting uncommonly long. We spent our walks cajoling and coddling her, she in one moment outraged that “strangers” were playing extensively with her things, and in another pointing to each with glee and trying to name them before going in for a hug and a kiss. I frequently found myself scooping her up, covering her in kisses: my daughter, the littlest, the baby.
But not forever.
Miss E is going to be a big sister in September, and already I think of her as my big girl, so grown up, with so many opinions. Even as she was the baby this weekend, I could simultaneously see her as the oldest, directing play as my friend’s daughter did. I could see my future son or daughter reveling in mimicry of her older sibling as my friend’s youngest did. I realized there will be a day when I am cuddling and comforting another, littler child as fiercely as I did Miss E this weekend, that while she’ll always be my baby girl, we’ll welcome others into our hearts, too.
And after a weekend of seeing these sweet, silly gals in action, I want so much to give her a sister. Or two.