Daddy Talk: Not a Baby Anymore
My wife and I have come to the realization that our baby girl has, at some point, ceased to be a baby. She is four now, and it’s not so much her age but her actions that are setting her apart as a “big kid.”
The first on the list is her newfound attention to beauty. For her fourth birthday, she asked for a make-up set, so we picked out a nice package that included nail polish, lipstick, eye shadow, and probably some other items that I’m not too familiar with. And she does make use of this make-up rather frequently, even if she doesn’t quite understand the intended use of some of the products. She also cut her own hair for the first time, a task she accomplished with my wife’s actual hair-cutting scissors when no one was watching. Trying to “fix” that haircut was an emotional ordeal for my wife even though Lydia did not seem to think much about it. Her only comment upon seeing herself in the mirror was that she “meant to cut all of it off the front.” Good thing she didn’t get to finish.
Another way Lydia has put her grown-up self out in society is by becoming an actual presence in our neighborhood. One of our neighbors has a 6-year old girl, and since Lydia is typically forced to be around two older brothers, we gave her permission to go to the neighbor’s house one day for girl time. We figured it may be ten minutes or so before Lydia got homesick, and sure enough our neighbor’s name came across our phone just a little while after Lydia had gone to play. When my wife answered the call, it wasn’t the neighbor but Lydia herself, speaking in complete sentences at that: “Hi, Mom. I don’t want to come home yet. We’re playing with dolls. I’ll call you back in thirty minutes.” I don’t think Ashley spoke at all. The call ended, and she stood there with her mouth hanging open.
Another day in the neighborhood, Lydia was going to practice riding her new bike that has training wheels while I walked behind her. As we moved out into the street, I told her that she could move into the middle since no cars were coming. She guided the bicycle toward the center and began singing loudly, “Why don’t you just meet me in the middle? I’m losing my mind just a little.” This abrupt knowledge of pop music could itself be a sign of growing up, but I can’t get past wondering how she knows pop lyrics at all. Perhaps she heard them from her older brothers, but the way things are going, I’m more inclined to think she sneaked out of the house with some of her teenager friends and went to a dance club.
I’m sure this grown-up thing is really just a phase though. Surely by spring break she’ll come back to Earth and start acting again like the small child that she is. For any other parents out there who have dealt with similar issues with their young girls, I’m sure you have already figured out how to make them stop growing. Please send me your suggestions because I really don’t like the direction we’ve taken, especially with the make-up thing.