It had been a long time since we’d gotten down to the very bottom of the laundry basket, and when David finally managed it this weekend, he found not just all of Alice’s missing socks, but some sweetly undersized Onesies.
“This fit her a few months ago,” he said, holding one of them folded in his palm.
Then he showed me the tag.
A year ago today, she could not walk on her own. And now when she walks, she refuses to hold my hand.
“By myself,” she insists down the front porch steps.
She zips her jacket by herself.
She eats her breakfast by herself.
She chooses her bedtime stories by herself.
(She does not go to bed by herself).
Two days ago, I picked her up from day care, carried her to the car, set her in the carseat and fastened the straps.
“Alice mad,” she snarled after I had buckled my own seatbelt.
“Alice is mad? Oh man. Why?”
“Do it mySELF.”
The intervals change so subtly, sometimes, you hardly recognize the differences between them: It’s impossible to pinpoint the moments when
loose becomes fits becomes snug becomes outgrown. And, really, you wouldn’t think to. You notice only after it’s happened.
For example, I have never felt so grown up as when I found myself trying to sneak her kids-meal toy into the trashcan a couple of weeks ago.
And yet, there are other times when it’s sudden and startling. She falls asleep a baby and wakes up a little girl, with not just new words, but whole sentences and songs.
The split second.
P.S. Today was Alice’s first time in the 2-year-olds classroom at day care. Packing her lunch this morning, I was unsure of what the food-storage situation would be in there (I know), so I started labeling her whole lunch with the DYMO LetraTag. I mean, all the components. As I was doing it, I was thinking how weird and sort of embarrassing it was. But I felt compelled to press on. I am confident no one mistook her quesadilla for theirs, although I stopped short of labeling the actual tortilla.