August 31, 2012
By Ekta R. Garg
Enjoy these Spurts from the last two weeks, readers!
Last Sunday we decided to go out to lunch as a family. Four had woken up on the wrong side of the bed that day and had decided she would be cranky on all things big and small. When it came time to put on our shoes and get out the door, she complained about the shoes her big sister pointed out to her.
“I don’t want to wear my Princess shoes! They’re too glittery!”
Never mind that she had exclaimed in delight only two days earlier about the shoes covered from toe to heel in pink glitter. On Sunday, she didn’t like all the bling.
“That’s fine,” I said to her, not missing a beat. “I’ll wear them.”
I picked up the shoes and attempted to “wear” them, and Four saw the problem right away.
“Don’t put on my Princess shoes,” she ordered, “they’ll stretch!”
She took the shoes from me and proceeded to put them on her own feet. By the time we got to the car and had climbed into her seat, she had gone back to admiring how the sunlight reflected off the shoes and made pink sparkles on the roof of the car.
Later on at the restaurant (we’d gone to Sweet Tomatoes, our favorite salad buffet place,) I had just settled at the table with my own plate after helping Four through the line when Six announced she had to go to the bathroom.
“I’ll take her,” my husband volunteered immediately.
The two of them left, and the rest of us continued to eat. After a few minutes I’d finished my food and got up to scope out the soups offered that day. The soup line runs into a wall that is perpendicular to the bathrooms, so when I got closer I saw my husband just standing there.
“What happened?” I asked.
He explained that the men’s bathroom didn’t seem as clean that day, so he’d let Six go into the ladies’ room all by herself.
“I’ll go in and check on her,” I said, letting him get back to his own half-finished plate.
I went into the bathroom and called Six’s name.
“Yes?” she replied calmly.
“Are you okay?”
“Yeah, I’m okay.”
“Okay, well, if you need any help with anything, let me know.”
I stood there outside her stall, not quite sure what to do next. This was the first time she’d ever gone to a public restroom all by herself, and suddenly I felt out of place. But she navigated the entire thing well, and all of a sudden she seemed so grown up.
That is, until she came out of the stall and gave the stall door and an extra hard push in that cheerful, jubilant way children do sometimes. The door banged against the wall and tampon container, which apparently wasn’t locked because the door on the container popped open. Fortunately nothing came out.
I scolded her for shoving the door so hard, and although she tried for a minute to convince me it had been an accident she gave up that charade pretty quickly. I lectured her for a minute about being respectful toward public property, and she followed me out of the bathroom properly chastised.
But there was that moment there, when she’d gone into the bathroom all by herself, when she did seem all grown up. When did that start?
In the last few months Four has come to depend on Six more and more, and I don’t mind admitting that I take full advantage of this when I can.
About a week ago I was preparing dinner when Four ran to the bathroom. After washing her hands, she came to me with the hand towel.
“Mamma, can you hang this up?” she asked.
My hands were dirty from chopping and mixing and cooking, so I called for Six and asked her to help her sister.
Since then Four has asked Six to help her hang the hand towel whenever she washes her hands. Earlier this week, one morning before school, Four went to the bathroom to wash her face after breakfast. She called for Six.
“Can you help me with the towel?”
Mother Hen went into the bathroom.
A beat of silence, then: “No, I’m not going to hang it up for you. Remember what I told you? Make your pizza.”
Pizza? I wondered what the heck they’d discussed in all the towel-hanging sessions they’d shared.
“Good. Do you have all your toppings on there? Now flip your pizza over the bar.”
And suddenly I got it. Six had invented a game where the towel functioned as piece of pizza dough, and Four was supposed to flip it like they showed in commercials—oh…
“No, you didn’t flip it right. You have to flip your pizza.”
I have to admit, I stifled a giggle. I think, the next time I wash my hands, I’m going to have to flip the pizza too.
On Tuesday afternoon after she came home from her half-day at school, Four finished her lunch and began searching in the family room for Simba, the lion she bought in the San Diego Zoo when we went there during the Memorial Day holiday.
“Where is Simba?” she asked, slightly annoyed, looking around.
“Dadu put him there in the corner,” I replied, indicating the corner where her grandfather had tucked the lion. “He vacuumed today and didn’t want to vacuum him up.”
Suddenly Four grinned. “What if Dadu vacuumed him up? Then Simba would go inside the vacuum cleaner, and he would be stuck there.”
“Oh no,” I said with a fake groan as we proceeded up the stairs.
“And if Simba got stuck in the vacuum cleaner, then I would have to go back to the San Diego Zoo and get another animal.”
I actually stopped halfway on one stop and turned to look at her. I didn’t know if I should be amused at the fact that she thought going to San Diego was that easy or whether I should be amazed that she could process that idea in such a sophisticated way.
Either way I had to tickle her and tease her that we weren’t going anywhere, and I actually found the thought of Simba stuck inside of our Dyson DC 24 kind of funny.
But if, at the age of four, she can put together the idea that all it takes is another trip to fulfill what she needs, what is she going to be asking for at 16?