Well, it’s here: the day my Three-Why-Oh becomes my Four-Why-Oh.
She did tell me late last night, as I snuggled down on her purple-blanket-pallet with her (this pallet phase isn’t passing nearly as quickly as I had hoped), and as she wrapped her hand around my neck and moved her face close to mine to position herself for squeezing every possible ounce of gooey motherly love out of my heart: “We could cancel my birthday and I could stay three for one more day. But just one more, mama. Then the day after that I’ll be four.”
I considered the offer. Thought back on everything we had packed into her last day of Threeness. Thought specifically about how that last day had started:
It was before 9am. I was watering a plant on the patio. I half-turned and discovered her about 10 feet off of the patio in the yard, pajama shorts and Dora undies around her ankles, hands on her Croc-clad feet for balance, bootie arched out away from her, hair inverted and wild like a troll doll’s just grazing the grass . . . and she was watering the yard. You know: watering the yard.
My mouth hung open and I just stood there, watching her. We aren’t the most graceful girls and I didn’t want to say something and startle her into falling into her own puddle.
She finished, was pulling her clothes up, saw me gaping, and giggled: “I wanted to try tee-teeing in the yard like [The Other Valley Girl's little boy]! It was FUN!”
It’s been a little over a month since we were in The Other Valley. A little over a month since she saw how her younger friend got to go outside to sprinkle on the grass to help him with his potty training. (Point of clarification: she didn’t see him sprinkling, just knew that’s what he was going outside to do.) She’s been thinking about this for a little over a month, I guess. I never saw it coming.
The Three-Why-Ohness, it has entertained us.
In the last week I have:
- had to set ground rules about how her imaginary friends are not allowed to shower with me (creepy little peepers);
- maneuvered through complex negotiations centering on four bites of green beans and four bites of mashed potatoes . . . that she gagged on, four times (but really, come on: who gags on mashed potatoes?!?);
- spent all day baking in the kitchen for her “kite party” only to be grilled before kitchen cleanup could begin about what we could make for her “number five birthday”;
- read Jack and the Beanstalk more times than I wanted to because the giant’s “I smell a delicious greasy boy!” line makes her belly laugh in that way that freezes out every single other thing in the world except for the sound of her happiness;
- crept into her room, prayed over her head, kissed her hair, rubbed her cheek . . . just like I’ve done on so many of the last 1,461 nights; and
- had a conversation about using the indoor potties when they’re available, complete with discussion of every exception she could imagine (if we’re in a field and there aren’t potties; if the tee-tees are in a big hurry and can’t wait to get inside; if she’s playing in the sprinkler; and if the grass is really, really thirsty).
Three-Why-Oh set the bar super-de-duper high. “Higher than the highest tall tree on the top of the North Pole at the tippity top of the Earth.”
Now commences the part where we wonder whether Four-Why-Oh can measure up.
Followed by the part where we wonder how we ever could have wondered if it would.