Thursday, August 30, 2012

Really, really, bigger

 Recently, Ella has joined the ranks of all the other toddlers, preschoolers, and older kids who cannot wait to "get bigger." Whenever I haven't seen her for a while- when she is at school or has been sleeping- she will look at me and stand as tall as she possibly can and say, "You want to see how really, really bigger I got?"

What's funny to me is what getting bigger means to her. The first part is that she will literally be bigger and this will allow her to reach things that are higher (that I, of course, don't want her to reach), and do things that are difficult, like reach the pedals on her bike, or throw a ball as high as Daddy. The more interesting part of this is that she understands that getting bigger also means becoming more grown-up, a status that affords you more privileges. So what kinds of privileges is she interested in? She desperately wants to use grown-up scissors instead of her frustratingly dull ones. She also wants to go to a "big kid" school like Izzy and Arlo and Robby and Joey. She wants to swing by herself and swim without floaties. While I was driving the other day she told me, "When I get too big for my car seat, then I can drive."

To her, being bigger means freedom and broader horizons and new possibilities and I can't deny that being bigger does offer all these things. Ever since she was born, she has always been ready for the next thing: crawling, walking, talking. What's next? What's over there? What are those kids doing? Her fearless desire to know, and see, and do is what I admire most about my big/little girl and I never want to take that away from her, but there are times we all wish children could appreciate the beauty of being little, the freedom that comes from having no responsibilities in the world beyond playing, eating, snuggling, and sleeping. If only I could switch places with Ella B for one day so she could be really, really bigger and I could be really, really smaller and we could both appreciate the benefits of each existence. For now, I guess we'll just have to live our own lives, enjoying our own freedoms, while longing for those of the other.

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