I used to call you baby spy. You would watch me, expressionless, calculating, and I was sure you were reporting to someone else, some higher up. You were transmitting my endless failings over a sophisticated and undetectable line of communication.
We have slowly left behind the pointing and screaming and grunting of a third child not yet with words and we are in some honeymoon phase of delightful whispered conversations where you rest your body on mine and melt into me.
You still pine for fruitsnacks and stomp your foot on the floor but you have mostly lost your disconcerting shrill.
Dare I say, you give in easier child.
You give way to reason where you used to grind reason to dust with your fancy long eyelashes and unrelenting persistence.
You tell me the peas in our garden say, "Yum Yum Yum" when it rains and you check all the growing things outside every day, especially the strawberries which you gobble up as quick as I can pick them.
When you sing you take all the words of day so far and mix them up with off tune, once heard melodies. Like when you sang Ho Ho Banana with a sort of Lady Ga Ga exuberance after learning Hosanna in bible class.
You join in easily with other children. You launch in with effortless flight and play and laugh without hesitation. You don't wait for an invitation like I did.
You add a skirt I have sewn no matter what else is on and then you wear purple cowboy boots or your pink flip flops on the opposite feet.
You hold your ground with your two older sisters and then you mostly giggle or roll your eyes with perfect comedic timing at your silly little brother.
You are the kind of daughter any mother would be over the moon to have. You stir the long grown up parts of me and I often pause without aforethought to point out birds in flight or the shape of a new leaf.
I am learning you Poppy. I am learning to stop and hold your hand or sit with you as you explain to me the merits of mermaids and how God made them. I am learning to occasionally pause and gaze upon your perfect joy with life.
I am learning you Poppy and God willing may I never forget to stop.