Thursday, January 6, 2011

If I Could Keep You Little

She is getting too big for her crib. Last night my husband pointed out that her baby blankets no longer cover her whole body, a fact that I’ve been ignoring for the past month or so. When she is stretched out sleeping facedown on her belly (just the way her mother sleeps), her two feet dangle outside the bars. Okay, if I’m being completely honest, she looks like Gulliver passed out on the shores of Lilliput.

I’ve been broaching the subject of “big girl” beds with her, leafing through Land of Nod catalogues to gauge her interest. She is more curious about the pig-tailed girls lolling about on ruffled bedspreads in pairs, a glimpse into her future of sleepovers to come.

“Mommy, that’s criss-cross applesauce,” she says, pointing to way the girls sit on a lavender hand-hooked rug. We used to call it sitting Indian style, but I think that expression has gone the way of the dodo.

“Mm, yes. What do you think of this bed? Would you like to sleep in a bed like this one?” I ask, tapping on the Jenny Lind twin. I love its sweet, feminine spindles.

“Mommy! Is this my friend?” She points again to one of the girls and looks at me expectantly. Ahh, the magic of advertising; it works especially well on tiny brains.

“I don’t know who that is, sweetie. Do you like this purple blanket?” I try another tactic: textiles.

Then she tears the page in half and runs out of the room to find another, more interesting activity.

I know that we will have to go and get something bigger soon. I don’t want to risk her wrenching an ankle or wrist in the bars of the crib she feels so safe in. But just thinking about breaking it down and packing it away makes me squeeze her tighter than I usually do.

What Elizabeth Stone said about having a child is true: “It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” I pass by a photo of her first birthday every day, but if I stop to take a good look, to really remember, I’m done for. The other day I was shopping for a child’s birthday present and came across a book called, If I Could Keep You Little. Instant waterworks. Crying in the middle of Target is not what I expected 32 to be like, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

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