Sunday, June 11, 2006

The winds of change

I remember when I felt time was just standing still. Ten years after college ended, I was still wearing my ratty Levis with the worn knees and sitting on salvaged couches. I could move through life as I pleased, or so I thought, even if it wasn't true.

There were signs of responsibility — there were more bills to pay, pets that needed attention and care, and there was a growing accumulation of things that seemed to own me — but nothing that quickened the passage of time. It just seemed to drag along from one day to the next.

Then along came Ittybit. Even in pregnancy, I felt time speed up. Nine months didn't seem long enough to adjust to this new existence that was headed our way. I spent a lifetime coming to terms with who I thought I was only to have a 6 pound, 2 ounce little girl show me who I could be, and, more importantly, who I wanted to be.

Time is just flying by much too fast now. Weeks are flowing like minutes. She's already half past two, and if I'm not careful to pay attention, I miss all the best things.

Take, for instance, a recent car ride in which Ittybit demanded "wind." It was a cold morning. I tried to talk her out of it, but she persisted. She wanted the wind. So I pulled a jacket across my lap, turned the heat to high and acquiessed.

Turns out she wanted me to open the windows of the car so she could liberate a roll of paper towels — leftover from a recent cleaning — one sheet at a time. I had to laugh when she heeded my rear-view admonitions and, drumming her fingers on the roll, asked if she could make "yittle pieces" dance on the wind.

"Absolutely not," I stifle a laugh. "That's wasting AND littering. And we don't do either of those things."

I didn't really expect her to comply, but I had no idea how closely she was paying attention.

As we continued to drive she asked me if I "yiked" the wind.

"No," I answered. "It's too cold out today. I have goose bumps."

A few streets later she started to list our differences on the matter: "You no yike wind. I yike wind. Mommy not yike it. I yike it."

Something about the categorization of this new knowledge and the tone in her voice, which was matter-of-fact if not melodic, made me add something else to the list of differences. Something I didn't want to think about at 8 in the morning.

Namely our names.

I didn't want to lose my indentity in marriage and neither did my husband, so we kept our respective names.

Up until Ittybit was born I corrected people who called me Mrs. The Mister, and delighted that during her first days on this Earth the name on her wristband was mine. For those four days in the hospital, at least, everything about her was mine.

It was stunningly greedy of me, yet I felt it only fair because she was a part of me; someone I knew better than anyone, even if it was only for a moment in a lifetime. When we left the hospital, I left as the person I had always thought I had been and she left with a new name on her birth certificate. It was our first major difference but not likely the last.

As we drove down the road with the windows fully open now and the heat blowing hot against the tops of my feet, Ittybit asked the question again: "Mama, you yike the wind?"

This time my answer was more considered: "Yes, Baby. I LOVE it. I love the wind."

I could hear her excitement bubble over: "You yub it? I yub it, too!"

Sometimes all it takes is a little fresh air to remind me what's most important.


gingajoy said...

aaaah! that stage goes on for a bit--my son is 3.5 and loves it when I declare I like something. "I like to TOO!!!!"

all too soon he'll be distancing himself as much as possible from what his parents (especially his mother) likes, so I am savoring it as much as possible for now:)

AnnaQ said...

Just found your blog and it cracks me up =D
You've got zingers that I could have written (less the eloquence and wit, I'm afraid).

My son went through a phase of: "You like that too? Then we can be friends!"