Wonder Full

BirthdayCake4She’s four years old. I still remember the absolute wonder of the day she was born. I remember almost nothing else about that day. Just her. Just not being willing to set her down. Holding her and staring at her and shooing away the nurses who tried to insist that I sleep. There is so much time for sleeping. That wonder, those moments are mine. And hers.

She’s four. She asks about things like what happened when she was born. She asks about everything really. She wants to understand the whole world. She is aggressively curious. What is? Why does? What will happen if? My little scientist.

She is creative. She tells me long stories about rainbows and dogs, about ponies and dragons, about what she thinks it would be like if we were fish, or tigers, or could fly. She invents new ways of making everything work and play.

She is so friendly that it worries me. She talks to everyone. She has no sense of strangers. She has no idea that some people may be busy, or even not interested in her. She is so friendly that despite a few wild-eyed looks from strangers thrown in my direction, most people talk to her. They learn that she can hold her breath, and swim. Or that Daddy is allergic to cats. Or that she wants “a pet rabbit because it’s not a carnivore.”

She is  full of wonder and wonderful. If there’s anything I can give her, if there’s anything that I wish for her, it’s this:

Hold on to your wonder, Baby. People will tell you to set it aside. People will tell you to sleep. People will tell you a million reasons that you shouldn’t look at the world with wonder. People will tell you that roly-poly bugs are ordinary. They will tell you that dragons aren’t real. They will try to make you ordinary so that you can fit in the little boxes that life carves out. Don’t let them. Hold onto your wonder.  I’m right beside you. I’ll help, but mostly it’s up to you.

Hold tight to your wonder and dance along the tops of the little boxes. You are amazing. You are wonderful. Stay full of wonder.

Bedtime! Brilliant!

Getting Fiona to sleep is always an adventure. If we’ve followed our entire routine (supper, play or walk, bath, pj’s, teeth brushing, stories, bed), and it is a good day, then when I lay down with her she winds down in 5-15 minutes and falls asleep.

On the other hand, on a night like last night it was a challenge. She needed more water. She needed more food. She needed to go potty.

All the normal kid excuses came out to play.

Finally she sat up in bed and announced to me, “I can’t sleep! My brain is still full of thoughts!”

“Like what, Baby?” I murmured, nearly comatose myself.

“Balloons!” She says, “And special birthday clothes!”

“Do you need special birthday clothes?” I asked, mentally joking to myself about letting her go to her party in her special, on of a kind, birthday suit. In my defense, I should note here that Fiona goes to bed late. This conversation was occurring at 10pm. I really was partially asleep.

“Yes!” She snuggled back into me, then pushed away. Our lack of air-conditioning combined with a heat wave is making cuddling hard.

“Ok.” I agreed. It’s not a bad idea. “Go to sleep.”

She closed her eyes and tried to fall asleep. After a few minutes her eyes popped open wide and she sits up in bed. “Mommy!” she declares, “I am about to be brilliant!”lightbulb

I chuckle in spite of my self-closing eyes, “No doubt.”

She frowns at me, then continues, “A walk! An alone walk! An in the dark outside walk! I could go by myself!”

I squint at her, “You want to go outside by yourself in the dark?”

“With you,” She says, in that teenager “obviously” voice she uses in moments like these.

“Ah.” I say. “Go to sleep.”

“It would be fun.” She grumbles as she lies back down.

I ignore her and focus on pretending to sleep without actually sleeping.

A few more minutes pass, her body relaxes. She starts to drift.

And her eyes pop open again. This time her voice is excited but sleepy, “Mommy, I’m going to be brilliant! Again!”

“Yeah, Baby?” I murmur, so close to sleep I can taste it.

“Yeah,” she murmurs back, her eyes starting to close, “We could…”

And she drifts off to sleep.  Personally, I think it’s a great idea.