One day Anni was twirling and singing one of her original compositions.
"It's my gift!" she declared.
Dizzy, she fell with spectacular gracelessness.
Laying on her back on the tile floor she began flapping her arms and legs
as if she were making a snow angel.
"Falling down is also a gift!" says she.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

It's happened. I've lost her.

I need to put a smiley face or something after that title; to my ears it sounds way too melodramatic to be taken in the least bit seriously, but coming after our huge sick-fest, I should be careful not to scare anyone. Our poop and puke extravaganza is over. May it ever be forgotten. At least I can rest assured that Rota will never again be as violent for Frankie, as a normal immune system develops antibodies that are useful against any future reinfection. Annika has no such luck, but, still, this bout lasted about one week less than her first bout a few years ago. But, now, on to that title. Grandma is here, as Joerg is off for a few days to give a talk at Indiana University, our graduate alma mater. He's staying for a few days after that to work on some articles with his former advisor. I hate being at home alone with the two girls, as we never know when Annika will hit a bad patch and need to be hospitalized. Now that we have another little one to care for, getting Anni to the hospital when she's sick has become that much more complicated, given that she usually has to go all the way to Chicago for her care, complicated little medical wonder that she is. With my mom here, I know that I have someone to take care of Frankie at a moment's notice, although I know that some kind-hearted soul somewhere would surely take her in for me. It's not the same as Grandma, though. Of course not. Annika has been in Super Duper Hyper Overdrive Excited Mode ever since Grandma's impending visit was made known. She couldn't go to sleep the night before she was to arrive on the train, and kept herself awake listing all the great things she and Grandma were going to do together. The next morning she came downstairs at 6 a.m. with her crazy bed-hair and that beautiful puffy-faced, wide-eyed look of the barely awake preschooler. Her first words, in her scratchy morning voice, were, "Are we ready to go to the station?" We had a brief talk about time, and I attempted to teach her some shortcut time-telling skills to avoid hearing that question all day long, but you all know that that was an exercise in futility. Grandma did finally arrive, to great fanfare and lots of hugs and exclamations. This morning Annika watched as Joerg packed his suitcase into the car. "Is Daddy leaving now?" "Yes, in a few minutes." "Are you going, too, mommy?" (With a big hug from me) "No, sweetie. I'm going to stay here with you and Frankie and Grandma." (Anni wiggles out of the hug and fixes me with a bright look) "Hey! I have an idea! Why don't YOU go with Daddy? And grandma can stay here with us alone?" (big dreamy smile at that glorious thought) So I guess we have passed some crucial point in Annika's maturity process. That point at which she's having fantasies of being completely parent-free. Yes, a bittersweet moment. Frankie, on the other hand, has become a clingy mess since her bout with Rota. My attempts to wean the child have crashed into a fiery disaster (a milky disaster?). I've had to bring the sling back out into regular use just to accomplish the smallest tasks without a constant soundtrack of toddler wails. And sleeping through the night? That, evidently, is for the weak-willed, who aren't prepared to cry beyond their parent's breaking point. So that's it here for now. I'm a bit sad watching one pull away from me with such enthusiasm, and (what in the world is wrong with me?) also frustrated as the other throws herself back toward me with the unrelenting single-mindedness of the newborn. Ah, the endless contradictions of motherhood.


Blogger ocelot said...

Uh, yeah, that title had my heart jumping out of my throat. Glad to hear the puke/poop fest has subsided. Very interesting to hear the stages the two little ones are passing through. We've tried having a babysitter come over here and there, and seem to have noticed a corresponding clinginess in the kiddo. His grandmother is always on at us about letting him stay the night alone with her... i guess it's just a matter of time before we get it from both parties. That would be a bittersweet situation.

3/23/2005 12:19 PM  
Blogger Yankee T said...

Cherish the bittersweet moments of young childhood. As I read your post and look back on those days, with the (not so) wise eyes of the parent of teenagers, I remember it all well. Older daughter is leaving in June for 3 weeks in Australia followed by 5 weeks in New England studying. Next year, she leaves me for college. I know I will yearn for the days of the first sleepover without me. Time is so precious. Enjoy!

3/23/2005 2:56 PM  
Blogger Phantom Scribbler said...

Oh, Moreena. And here I am whining about having to carry the baby around in the sling all day.

LG was sling-toddler extraordinaire. He weaned himself, but the sling? No way man. He'd still be in it if his sister wasn't in the way.

I totally understand about feeling sad when they push you away -- and frustrated when they cling to you. Sometimes I think parenthood is all about ambivalence and emotional confusion...

3/23/2005 4:07 PM  
Blogger PPB said...

Hey, I know Yankee and Phantom Scribbler, too!!! Wow! It's a party in here and I know all the cool kids (i'm sure ocelot is just as cool). Congrats on surviving the rota virus (which I had not heard of before, but don't care to meet).

3/23/2005 5:11 PM  
Blogger Moreena said...

You are so right. This is one reason I love my blog. It really helps me to capture all those moments and all those feelings.

Hey! You get to whine!! Actually, what you describe sounds worse to me because both kids are acting up. That always drives me up the wall. Also, right now my mom is here, which is just paradise for me.

I "met" all these people through you! Thanks!

3/23/2005 6:06 PM  
Blogger Moreena said...

and ocelot,
many apologies for the heart jumping!

3/23/2005 6:07 PM  
Blogger Marisa said...

Just wanted to say HI!

3/23/2005 9:24 PM  
Blogger Jay said...

Sounds like Grandma must be really fun. Can she come play at my house after?

3/24/2005 12:01 AM  
Blogger none said...

Great to hear that the kids are feeling better again!

Been through that moment with my son. It is bittersweet.

3/24/2005 1:20 AM  

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