Those shrill wails I have grown so accustomed to soon morphed into words.
“Lucia is sitting on my chair!”
“No, I AM NOT. It’s my chair!”
It might have been the millionth argument they were having that day. But at least they were debating about whose seat it was and not flopping on the floor, banging their firsts and crying to the ends of the Earth.
My four little girls on their way to becoming little women. I can’t believe we are outgrowing toddlerhood. We have dreamt of this point for so long. We thought after we toilet-trained them, they were going to grow up, stop giving me hell. I was wrong. The painful episodes of fighting (physically at times) for my love and my sole attention remained. Then came April, halfway more to their 3rd birthday and something changed again: four little girls busily moving through their room, building, pretending, painting, singing, chit-chatting…no crying, no shouting. Their minds once confused over my words were more open to my reasons. They no longer demanded, they asked, “Mummy can I use your pen?”
“No, you can’t, you can use your own pen.”
Wow, okay? No more falling into the floor and shrieking like banshees over tiny rejections.
With these transformations, also came my own.
The cloud that was always covering my moods lifted. I wasn’t reading the 100th book on overcoming tantrums and meltdowns. I stopped questioning myself was it my fault? I stopped asking the world to understand how tired I am.
Instead I can think. I can see. And I can feel. These four little girls who were so different from each other. One who nurtured, one who reasoned, one who dominated and one who was ambitious. They complemented each other, loved each other, got fed up with each other but everyday, never tired of each other. Whoever was sad would call upon another sister for comfort. I was watching myself become obsolete, only being called upon for my cooking and the house keys to open the door to freedom. From being the center of their universe, I am now just a facilitator.
I am not sad I no longer have babies. With age, they have given me conversation, company, and a provoking questions about life and the universe, “Mummy why is the sun there? Why does Daddy have to work? Why can’t I work?” Never-ending questions as I kneaded the dough, boiled the pasta, and poured the broth. They always knew how to pull up their chairs to the kitchen island, when I was stranded cooking and could not walk away from their questions. I hoped they were going to cook for me one day so I let them watch and help me. “Thank you Mister Mummy. The food is delicious.” They have not grasped gender norms very well, asking me everyday if daddy is a girl and if grandma is a boy.
During the long afternoons, we sculpted play dough, painted water colours, went on long walks to wherever, and talked about our favourite things and people. Is this still parenting? Its been feeling more and more like friendship.