Saturday, June 27, 2009
My Little Girl Is Growing Up
Our little girl is growing up. Shortly after her adoption was finalized, we removed the crib in our room, and the crib in the room she shares with Michela. She never slept in those anyway. We just needed to have them to show to the social workers when they came for home visits. Instead, she slept with us. Right between Tim and me. We found on Freecycle some happy young couples that were happy to take the cribs away for us.
For Maya, we bought a tiny pink sleigh bed at the Salvation Army, using our own mattress of course, and gluing brightly colored wooded letters spelling MAYA on the headboard. She has been very excited about her Big Girl Bed since the day we moved it in. To anyone who came into the house, she would ask, “Do you want to see my big girl bed?” Or she would ask Tim or myself, “That’s my Big Girl Bed? Not anyone else’s?” We assured her it was. And we made it very comfortable by putting in the Elmo doll that she has had since she was born, and the Madam Alexander baby doll that her Aunt Marissa bought her, and the American Girl baby doll that I bought her, along with the teddy bear that her Ima bought her from Ten Thousand Villages, and the monkey given to her by her brother Dylan, and the blanket that was sent to her from her Nanny, Mima, and Mommy Nikki. She still is not sure she likes sleeping there. If we move her there after falling asleep in our bed, she will usually stay there all night now. But it takes more effort to have her start the night in her bed. We usually have to sit in the rocker and sing or lay down next to her for a time.
We have also thrown out all pacifiers in the house recently. I thought maybe her front teeth were sticking out a bit due to the “Nook” -- which is what we call them after the brand named “Nuk.” I told her she was too big for a Nuk, now that she was a big girl and slept in her Big Girl Bed. “Then I’ll sleep in your bed,” she reasoned. No need to be so hasty. “But Mommy’s afraid your teeth are crooked,” I told her. She looked in the mirror and agreed they might be. When I asked her whether she thought she could throw her pacifier in the garbage in the bathroom, she said she could. And ran off to do it. I heard the lid to the can close as she came out. It wasn’t until going to bed later that night when she couldn’t sleep and was truly suffering that I began to think I might have to give in. I told her I thought she could do it. I held her and tickled her feet and her back, like she likes. She cried for her Nuk and, like an addict, jumped out of bed and began rummaging through the bathroom garbage pail. I got there just in time to grab it from her hand and wash it with soap and water before she put it in her mouth. And then, after having it for awhile, she said, “I can’t have this. My teeth are crooked.” And she went and put it in the bedroom garbage pail.
There have been two other funny instances of Maya struggling with giving up her Nuk addiction. My friend Shanikqua tells me that, at her house, after Maya had given up Nuks, she found one in Shanikqua’s bedroom. Quietly, she placed it in her mouth and placed her hand over her mouth so as to cover up the Nuk. She walked around the apartment with her hand over her mouth, believing that she was getting away with sucking on the illegal contraband. That is, she thought so until Shanikqua asked her what was behind her hand in her mouth. She tried to respond, “Nothing” through her hand. Shanikqua says she fell out laughing.
The other instance of Maya facing her addition head on occurred today. From across the room, she turned towards the couch and her eye caught upon something. I heard her squeal “OOOOHH!” And then saw her dive under the couch. Like a fisherman who had reached into a hollowed log and pulled out a catfish, she raised her prize in the air and smiled with a grin that was somewhere between delusional and playful. “A Nuk!” she laughed in a jittery voice. “What ya gonna do with it?” I asked. “Maybe you should go downstairs and ask Daddy what you should do with it.” She fled from the room.
Tim reports that she came downstairs and showed him the Nuk and said, “Maybe I should put it in my Big Girl Bed.” Tim suggested, “Or you could throw it out.” Maya offered, “Or put it in your pocket for when I need it.” They looked at one another for a time that seemed interminable until Maya, in a voice more mature for her age, suggested, “I have crooked teeth. Maybe I should throw it out.” And she hopped up the steps to the kitchen. Tim didn’t know what happened to the Nuk after that, but Livie, our foster child for the week, told me Maya was very brave and threw out her Nuk.
It was so sad to see her come across an object that brought her such simple pure joy and to see that joy in her face again, only to be crestfallen to realize that she doesn’t do Nuks anymore. It was sad to see her then be brave and throw away the one thing that never failed her in her short life. This is growing up way too fast. I just wonder if there is a way to slow things down and ease the pain. My poor baby girl.
And poor me. Growing up so fast. Pretty soon she'll want to drive the car. . . .