Friday, August 12, 2011

Sense of Self

Yesterday I was cuddling with Miriam, which is something that happens a lot. She'll come up to me with her thumb in her mouth, sometimes dragging her blanket behind her, and will pause her thumb-sucking to ask to be picked up.

"Mommy holding you?" she'll say in her sweet little voice.

It probably happens upwards of twenty times a day.

So I picked her up so we could cuddle for a minute.

"Are you my little snuggle-bug?" I asked her.

"No! Not snuggle-bug. Bunny!"

"Bunny?" I asked, "You're my snuggle-bunny?"

"Yeah," she said, relaxing into my arms. "Bunny. Snuggle-bunny."

She's got pretty high self-esteem, it seems. We were just having a conversation about bad guys versus good guys in the van on the way home from my friend Courtney's wedding reception. Rachel was the one deciding who was a good guy and who was a bad guy. Dad was bad. I was good.

"When am I a bad guy?" Andrew asked. "When I ask you to put away your toys?"

"Yes," Rachel told him.

"Mommy sometimes asks you to put away your toys. Is she a bad guy when she does that?"

"No. Mommy's always a good guy."

"That doesn't sound fair," my mom piped up from the backseat. "You need to be an equal opportunity bad-guy-title assigner"

"Meme—good guy! Yeeeaaah!" pronounced Miriam decidedly.

The reception was a lot of fun. I've known Courtney for a whole lot of years. Seventeen years, to be precise. That's kind of wild. I can't believe I've been alive long enough to have known anyone other than my family for seventeen years. Anyway, it is what it is—and it's seventeen years.

Courtney was in the Parkland ward in Calgary when I first moved to Alberta, but then my family moved to High River and I left Courtney behind. But then her mom married a widower in the High River ward and so Courtney ended up moving to High River and we were together again. And then my family moved to Utah and I graduated from high school and went to BYU. And then Courtney came to BYU and we were roommates for a spell.

Now we're both married and we both live in Orem! Who would have thought?

Anyway, her reception was all the way in Farmington, which is about an hour's drive from Orem. Miriam had a little accident on the way there but was able to keep herself mostly dry. When we got there, though, there were no visible restrooms and Miriam desperately had to go so we let her go on the grass by the car, hoping that no one would see her.

Turns out she thought peeing on the grass was pretty cool because in the middle of the beautifully decorated reception, with chamber music being played in the background, Miriam ran into the middle of the lawn, lifted up her dress, pulled down her undies tackled by Andrew, who sprinted after her the minute he clued in to what she was about to do. He took her behind the car again.

So we're kind of sending mixed messages—No! Don't pee on the lawn there! Pee on the lawn here!

It's no wonder children spend most of their life being confused. At least, I remember often feeling slightly confused as a child (and, truthfully, I still feel that way as an adult). But maybe that's just me.

I'm pretty sure Miriam's in the same boat, though. Rachel's always telling her what's what and Miriam just trails along behind her but I can tell she really has no idea what's going this morning when the girls waltzed into the office wearing many-layered princess costumes (because everyone knows your costume only gets fancier with every layer you add).

"We're playing Arab princesses," Rachel announced.

"Yeah," said Meme.

"I'm Jasmine and Miriam is..."

"'Punzel," said Meme.

"Yeah, she's Rapunzel...but Arab Rapunzel, right, Meme?"

"Yeah," said Meme.

Then they left the room, Miriam trailing behind Rachel once again. I'm almost positive Miriam had no idea what they were actually playing but it is nice that they were playing nicely together. Now that Miriam's old enough to play pretend (or to pretend that she can play pretend) it's happening more and more.

Tonight at the reception they went off and played at the park with the other kids. Rachel helped Miriam brave the bridge and Miriam showed Rachel how to climb the ladder and they pushed each other down the slide and it. was. amazing!

Some of the Fletchers showed up to the reception, too—more High Riverites who've migrated south—and my friend Melissa remarked that I have "very independent children."

I almost laughed but instead I said, "This is actually highly unusual of them. They're really quite clingy, but I have to admit...I like this!"

Independence is the goal, right?

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