Friday, July 23, 2010

No More the Training Pants! It's time for big girl panties?

Squiggle Bug learned to use the potty a few months ago and she's pretty much a pro now. It's great, sudden hollering of "my poopoo coming! I go potty!" echo through out our little house on a regular basis followed shortly by "I did it!" and "Bye bye my poopoo! Bye bye my peepee!"

So with regular success of bye-bye peepee and bye-bye poopoo, it was time to get Squiggle Bug some new undergarments. Panties. Deciding to couple the Target shopping expedition with family time, we first went to see Toy Story 3. I've waited a long time for this movie and was more excited than the girls. Cute flick, we all enjoyed it including 2 year old Squiggle Bug. After crying through Toy Story 3, we headed with a grumpy, napless Squiggle Bug and the rest of the crew to go buy the new panties. Buying new panties is an exciting time. No more the training pants and stretched out undies from big sisters, it's time to pick out your very own panties! The general rule regarding trademarked characters on clothing in our home is lifted and any panties with any character are permitted. Even if they have no idea who Dora is.

I fully expected princesses or fairies. She doesn't know who the characters are really but she knows a princesses is anyone in a pretty outfit. She really likes princesses. We found our way to the baby section with toddler panties and found the smallest size. In a regrettable move I picked out some Tinker Bell and Friends panties and showed Squiggle Bug. One look and she was screaming no and hitting the package in my hands. Shocked but a little bit pleased I hung the offending package of panties back up. Not having learned our lesson, The Piano Man presented her with a set of the Micky Mouse Princesses and received the same reaction. Over and over she stomped around saying "I want MY panties!" Bewildered, we attempted to show her other potential selections, each received with a similar reaction.

I was determined to throw something in the cart, anything. Plain white panties weren't easy to find but I wasn't going home empty handed. Between the 5 of us there that had any hope of understanding what it was she wanted, none of us actually knew. Loitering in the toddler underwear aisle for a while was starting to feel awkward when I spotted a set of Toy Story undies. Thinking she would calm down upon recognizing the characters we just saw in the movie I showed Squiggles. It worked. She calmed down. Well, actually, she did an immediate 180, squealing and jumping up and down. Snatching the package out of my hands she squeaked "my Buzz! My Woody! My Panties!"

I looked at The Piano Man over our now enthusiastic 2 year old and tried to ignore the giggles and shocked whispers of her big sisters. He shrugged. "Boy underwear!" The Storyteller giggled uncontrollably.

And so it came to be that I bought my first package of little boy underwear. Reluctant to hand her package of undies over to the check out girl, Squiggles had to be comforted for the few seconds while it was scanned before gripping it tightly to her chest for the rest of the way to the van. As soon as we got home she wanted them on. Her favorite pair are the lime green ones with both Woody and Buzz on the butt. Modeling them for me, she got concerned when she couldn't find her new friends until twisting to look at her rear-end and then beamed up at me "There's my Woody! There's my Buzz!"

At 2 Squiggle Bug has figured out the secret I only learned a few years ago: boy undies are way more comfortable than girl panties. Screw the princesses, cowboys and spacemen rock for girls too.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Pressing Memories

I finished singing the "last" song and told her it was time to go to sleep. We both laid down, her face just inches from mine with her Raffie, she tossed her delicate legs over mine and gave me a sleepy smile. For a moment we just looked at each other with sleepy smiles. Just as I was lifting my hand to stroke the hair out of her face and trace light circles across her nose and around her eyes, Squiggle Bug settled her hand on my face and said around the Raffie ear in her mouth "I love you mommy." Finger the sunshine strands on her forehead in the dim light, I smiled and whispered that I loved her too. My chest constricted and tears stung my eyes as she began to caress my face just like I do hers every night. Laying there caressing each others face I told myself to press this moment into my memory like a flower between the pages of a book to be discovered later as a sweet, faded surprise. I worried I would forget anyway. Then my mind scrambled to find other memories hidden in it's pages; first giggles, how she smelled the first time I held her, a small arm clutching my neck, cuddles in the early morning, blue eyes gazing intently into mine as I held her while she nursed. Beautiful memories but already so faded.

Her hand dropped, too drowsy to continue fingering my face and peeking through slits in her eyelids she asked me to sing again. I obliged, holding on to this moment for as long as I could. Would she? Would she remember those dusty memories? With so many more memories and knowledge coming to fill the pages of her mind, I doubted it. I reflected on my own memories as a child, realizing that the earliest one I had of even going to bed as a child was when I was at least 7 or 8, certainly not 2. Peering through the clouded lens of so many years I remember sitting next to my mom in a nightgown on the couch in my family room, the blue couch with flowers, and my brother and sister and dad there as well. Dad was playing the guitar and we had been singing. He launched into "Goodnight Ladies" replacing ladies with the names of my siblings and me, one at a time. To the tune of our names we circled the room giving hugs and goodnight kisses before dancing off to bed. I don't think my older brother cared for that part much but he awkwardly participated. In bed I listened to the end of the song for my brother and then my dad sang another song and I sang along softly. There are details missing, details like the ones I was trying to grasp to hold forever from this moment putting my own daughter to bed. No, she probably wouldn't remember.

So I'll have to tell her. Over and over again, describe how she smelled, her sweet sleepy voice requesting yet another song, her soft hand stroking my cheek as she tells me she loves me, the favorite cookie pajamas keeping her warm and snuggly, and the way her hair lays across her forehead in the gentle glow from the nightlight. And to press it in my memory I'll write it down in her journal. I know that many of the memories I have from my childhood are because of the spiral bound journal scrapbooks my mom would squeeze out time at 2am to fill for me, recording her perspective of the mundane and exciting moments of my childhood.

This weekend I'm going to go through one of those notebooks and share those musty memories with my own children. Then I'll record those precious details that slip away and press them into my memory to share with them again one day. I will continue the tradition of preserving memories in the written word to share one day with my children as my mom did for me. There may be long blocks of time between those moments but I will press every moment I can.