Recently, the "You Might Also Like" links at the bottom of one of my posts led me to an old post I'd titled "Beach Days, Early Days, These Days." Sometimes, I wince a little when I read an old post, but I rather liked this one. It still rings true to me, although perhaps that is not surprising since it was only written a year ago.
I was struck in particular by the part where I say that I'd tell the me of now six and a bit years ago to "Give up. She isn't going to sleep. And so what if she screams- she'll scream at home, too. Just go out and try to do things." I find myself wondering what the me of six and a bit years from now would tell me to do. I don't know, of course, because if I did, I'd be doing it. That's the way with parenting: you're always just muddling through, sure that you're making grave mistakes. In fact, maybe that's the way with life in general.
I may not know what thing I'm stressing about now that future me will shake her head about and wonder why I couldn't just chill the heck out, but I have a pretty good guess about some of the memories that will bring nostalgic smiles to my face.
I am, for instance, a sucker for a good kid-ism, and both my kids had good ones this weekend. Petunia told me she was putting on her "clapping shoes." I was very puzzled until she started dancing, doing her impression of what a tap dance would look like (she has never taken dance, so she only knows what her friends at day care tell her in this regard). And Pumpkin pointed at a house as we drove past, and asked if it was a "hunted house." She was right: it looked like a classic haunted house.
And then there is gymnastics. I take both girls to gymnastics most Saturdays. They have overlapping but not perfectly aligned classes. Mostly I take the 30 minutes or so during which both girls are in class as a chance to read, but this week I found myself spending most of the time watching their classes. It takes my breath away to look at Pumpkin and see a full-fledged girl, not a hint of baby left in her. She's lost all four of her front teeth now. The bottom two are growing back in, but her smile is charmingly gap-toothed right now, and somehow that makes her look even older than she looked when only one top tooth was missing.
I'm also a bit amazed by what she can do. Her favorite part of gymnastics is when they get to work on the bars. She loves the high bar in particular, even though (or perhaps because) it used to terrify her. She is confident and strong on it now, able to work her way across, her long, thin legs still dangling awkwardly- they haven't started working on the gymnast's legs together, toes pointed pose. She can also turn herself around six times in a row. She is proud of how strong she has gotten, and I am proud of how she kept with it even when she couldn't make a single turn and was scared she would fall (despite the fact that the coach was standing right there, with his hands up ready to catch her).
Petunia loves gymnastics, too. She loves the trampoline and rings the most, but my favorite is watching her on the balance beam. She is so careful and deliberate, looking at her feet and inching along the beam. She is slower than any other child in her class, but unlike her classmates, she never falls off or loses her balance. Her classmates happily lose their balance, step down, and run around her, so that no matter where she starts in the line, she is always last at the end, and the others have usually lapped her at least twice. If she cares about this, she never shows it- in fact, I'm not even sure she notices them going around her. Her focus is entirely on her own performance. I'm a bit jealous of that. Maybe, in fact, that is the advice that future-me would give me: stop paying attention to what everyone around you is doing, and just do what you need to do, in the way you need to do it.
And spend more time snuggling your girls. They are growing up fast.