I have lost track of the amount of times that she'll cry in the length of one day. Our dialogues seem to go like this:
Princess: Ima, can I have a cookie for breakfast?
Me: Um. Um? No? We do not and have never eaten cookies for breakfast? Sweetie?
Princess: But--but--BUT--Ima! IwannacookieforbreakfastYOUNEVERLETMEHAVEACOOKIEFORBREAKFAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAST! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!
This intelligent and thought-provoking dialogue and other similiar ones usually end with me putting myself into time out.
The other day, being slighly suicidal, I took my girls to the kotel with a friend and her three kids. 5 kids + 2 mommies on the number 2 bus = you do the math. Chaos theory come to life.
We made it, we took turns davening, then let the kds run around in the square, wide-eyed at the beautiful kallas and the more colorful tourists. We fed them a run-around dinner, then, as the sky darkened and the crowds thinned, started heading back to the bus.
The bus pulled up, and opened up its back doors. I held Princess' hand in one hand, Coco-pop's in the other, and the carriage--oh, oops, the carriage! Halfway in her ascent up the stairs, I dropped Princess' hand to grope for the carriage. Got it!
And then, it happened. Well, nothing really happened, to me or to most passengers ascending the stairs, so I will give it to you from Princess' percpective:
I am going up the stairs, holding Ima's hand tightly. So many people--cannot let go of her hand or I might never see her again. Hey--Ima!--where are you? Don't let
go! Need to turn around, look for her--the doors! They are CLOSING--Ima, is leaving me ALL ALONE FOREVER FOR THE REST OF MY WRETCHED EXISTANCE!
'K, back to me. What happened was, as I turned to grab the stroller, the doors started closing. I didn't blink, just hammered on the door and yelled out somewhat indelicately, "Nahag, regah!" The doors re-opened, I entered with Coco-pop and the carriage, and was greeted by a screaming, white-faced Princess.
She sat on my lap and held my hand all the way home.
Me: Princess, look at that huge tree out your window!
Princess: DON'T let go of my hand!
That night, as I was putting her in, we spoke about it. And I got a chilling revelation about how Princess, my smart, perhaps too-smart 4 and a half year old oldest thinks.
"I thought that I was going to be all alone on the bus because I couldn't figure out how to open the door."
"But sweetie, you did not have to try to figure it out. Ima got the door open."
"I didn't know what to do. Because the door was too heavy for me."
"Ima would never ever ever leave you alone on the bus, right?"
"Right. But I didn't know what to do. I didn't know how to open the door."
And that's when I realized what she was getting at, what it was All About.
Princess doesn't see me as her Knight In Shining Armor. She doesn't thinlk that I could rescue her. She thought that the whole thing, the whole problem, and therefore the whole solution, was on her shoulders. She was the only one in control.
But love, I wanted to tell her, you are only 4 and a half years old! You do not need to come up with the answers yet; you should look to me for all of them. That is a heavy heavy weight that you carry, little girl. Why won't you let me lift it for you?
Instead, I said, "Princess, it's Ima's problem. Not yours. Ima's. Ima is the one who has to figure out what to do. Not you. Ima. Ima saw the door closing. Ima hammered on the door. The driver opened the door. Your job was to just sit and wait."
She let out a long suddering breath, and hugged me for a few millenium.
I have to keep reminding her.
I have to keep reminding myself.
Hashem li, lo irah.