Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A little about Sarina

She thanked me today...
for changing the sheets on the bed
for removing her socks
for changing her diaper
for taking her out to play

"Thank you, Mommy," she says. "Thank you for changing the sheets."

She wants to know what rhymes with "Joe" and "Blue," and where Meatball the Lion went, and if Aunt Peeka will come to our house soon. She wakes up from her nap and recaps her day for me down to the last detail-- such as that she was sitting on the Skee-Ball machine when she did poopies in her diaper.

"I need to be held in the carrier," she says, and "I need my hair"-- which is actually my hair, which has been her security blanket since she was born. She tugs on my hair and wraps it around her fingers while she sucks her thumb when she needs comfort. So I haven't used hair products in almost two years.

She made her public singing debut at my brother's 30th birthday party, using the Elvis impersonator's microphone. She sang "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head" and didn't want to stop, so she just kept repeating all the verses. "I'm never gonna stop the rain by compwaining" is my favorite part.

She recites her own versions of poems and stories. "This little piggy went to market, this little piggy stayed home, this little piggy had chicken nuggets..."

When she bounces in the inflatable bouncer with her 8-year-old friend "Miss Gina," she likes to sing "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" at the top of her lungs. I've never seen her be physical with another child anywhere except in this bouncer, where she actually grabbed a little girl by her waist and tackled her backwards because Sarina was having too much fun with her and didn't want the girl to leave. "You get back in here, Miss Ashley!" she said, giggling. She believes that everyone who enters the "Mommy and Me" building is "Miss" Somebody, even when that person is 4 years old.

Her favorite colors are pink and purple, and she's also growing a fondness for red.

She likes songs about rain and night. When she watches the tap dancing number for "Singing in the Rain," she exclaims, "That's Gene Kelly!"

She likes to strum my guitar when she sings, and she's delicate enough that I can let her do so.

Lately, she begins every other sentence with "Actually." "Actually, let's go to the bakery." Nearly every story she makes up involves a bakery. Every now and then she switches it up and makes the setting a deli or a diner instead. You'd think this means she's a big eater, but she's not. I go through every trick I know every meal just to get her to eat a decent amount. But she has a serious sweet tooth that I have to keep in check.

She likes to climb hills, play with Play-Doh, paint, wear lip gloss, jump on the bed, comb my hair, pretend various large and small household objects are Mommy and Sarina and make them "hug," and make snowballs.

After using the big girl potty for the first time, she announced, "I need a crown."

Several times a day, she tells me, "This is gonna be great!"

She is the coolest girl I've ever met.


Monday, January 05, 2009

Hello, World!

On New Year's Eve, I found a link to the video on Kelly Corrigan's homepage. It was a tough day for me; in addition to the holiday, it was my brother's 30th birthday and my daughter wasn't with us. So you could blame it on that, but I think it was something more. I watched that little video and the tears just came to the surface. Like I needed them to. Sometimes, it's a gift to help someone cry.

I loved Kelly. Watching that video made me want to know more about her, so I read pretty much everything on her site. She talks about her father, a relentlessly positive person who welcomes each day by opening the windows and shouting "Hello, world!" And she talks about its effects on her as a child, feeling like the universe was actively rooting for her.

I thought this sounded like a good thing, so the next morning I had Sarina, I asked her, "What do you think? Should we open the windows and say 'Hello, world'?"

She grinned. "No, Mommy," she said. But I did it anyway. (The back window, if you're wondering. I'm not that brave yet-- I am still the new girl on the block, and I'd rather not have them suspect I'm nuts just yet.)

I told myself that I was going to learn to be more like Kelly's father, to help my daughter see all the good things in life. But then she turned the tables on me.

Suddenly, she wants to tell me how great everything is. We watch a homemade video of "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head," and she tells me, "What a great song!" She eats ice cream and proclaims it to be "awesome." I help her with a craft, and she says, "Good job, Mommy! That was perfect!" A grumpy-looking worker in a convenience store surprises me by giving Sarina a banana, and she says, "That was nice of him. What a nice man."

And she looks for ways to brighten my day. Every day, she gives me whatever flowers she finds around the house (an artificial silk arrangement, or ones made of paper or felt) and tells me, "I brought you a present, Mommy. These are for you, from Sarina!" She also tackle-hugs me and says, "It's Mommy Time!"

But tonight was the killer. After a day filled with family and fun, where she made everyone feel a little more special, we drove back to our new home. It's a townhouse in a nice little development. There's still so much to be done. Nothing left that needs to be done, but lots of aesthetic stuff that would make it nicer. The structure is perfect for us, though, and the place has a lot of potential. I can't afford to fix up everything at once, but I've been tackling what I can in order of importance. Some days it feels like I'll never get to it all, and others, I think, "This place is pretty nice even as it is."

As I pulled up, Sarina said, "Wow. What a great house."

"Yeah?" I asked. "You think it's great?"

"What a cool house. I have fun here."

"I'm so happy to hear you say that."

"It's going to be beautiful."

I hoisted her up and out of the car, and she looked for the moon-- Luna. Luna must have been behind clouds, though, because she was nowhere to be found.

"Maybe she's hiding in the snow," Sarina tells me.

"Maybe," I agree.

And we walk into our house, hugging tight against the wind. I think about the new year, and new beginnings, and how much life we both have still to live.

It's going to be beautiful.