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Stay Little, I Say

The author knows the happy pain we parents face...

Every once in a while I will pull Big Girl on my lap and realize, as she spills out of it, how much she’s grown. I will invariably ask her to please stop growing — just for a little while. She laughs and tells me that she will try. After a beat she tells me, “Mommy, I can’t stop growing!” And we both laugh. That’s usually when I tell her that I know she can’t stop growing. That I want her to keep growing because I can’t wait to see the woman who she will become. (That’s usually when she starts asking if I will be a good grandmother…)

It’s such a cliche, really. Time flies when you’re having fun, right? Little kids become big kids in a blink of an eye.

I struggle with this sometimes. Big Girl especially grew up so fast. From the moment she was born I always looked at her as this old soul. She was so advanced and bright that I was speaking to her — having conversations with her — well before she was two. I look back at some of the video we have and can’t believe how little she was even as I thought of her as this big kid. And now she’s really a big kid, and yet sometimes, like last night when I was tucking her in to bed, I see how small she really is.

Little Girl is moving just as fast as her sister. Part of the problem is that she thinks she’s as old as her sister. Two going on seven. She won’t leave the house without a little pocketbook hung on her arm. She uses Big Girl slang (actually, Mommy). She picks out her clothing. She’s so social! She’s got friends. She’s asking to use the phone. She’s asking for a big girl bed. And when I see all this progress, I am happy and sad. I am so proud that she’s becoming an independent, happy soul. I just want to keep her my little girl a little while longer. Is that so wrong?

The other night I was reading to both girls. It’s a new book I got from a PR person: Marianne Richmond’s If I Could Keep You Little…. By the time I got to the third page (“If I could keep you little, I’d hold your hand everywhere. But then I’d miss knowing, ‘I can go…you stay there.”) my eyes welled up. I didn’t lose it completely like I still do with Alison Meghee’s Someday — never, ever read that when you’re PMSing, BTW — but it reminded me that this time I have with them is precious, and I should enjoy every moment of it. I forget this sometimes. How about you?

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