Thursday, August 6, 2009

Nolie and Three

I wish this was more of a love letter, to Miss Nolie at three. But, to be honest, we are in the throes of one heck of a "stage," in which Nolie doesn't want to eat, sleep, be pleasant, or otherwise do anything asked of her. Though she turns three today, she seems fairly rooted in those most terrible of twos. Which maybe is a fiction, anyway. Terrible seems to know no age.
Tantrums and hitting and yelling abound. But worst of all, what triggers me most of all, is the whining. Incessant and piercing, that whiny voice. My rejoinders:
"I can't hear that voice, Nolie."
"That voice is not okay, Nolie."
"You'll need to use your big-girl voice, Nolie."
None of which works, and then I lose my shit and one of us ends up in a time-out.
But here's what I will also try to remember about Nolie, on her third birthday:
  • The feel of her in my arms last night, as she shivered with fear, thunder booming overhead, shaking her little bones.
  • Her taking my cheeks in her hands and saying, "I really yike you, Mommy."
  • The look of her little body: naked, fresh from the bath; jumping on the bed; rolling in and out of my lap.
  • Her words, silly and funny (the Aunties are still laughing about how Nolie entered the dining room at Charmyr and, waving her arms wildly, demanded, "Hey! All you Monsters! DANCE!").
  • The way she wants to help, to be seen ("she lives for those words of praise from you," one of the Aunties commented, in the kindest way), to be loved.

Mostly, I'm thinking about how important these phases are, about my responsibility for helping Nolie move into the next stage of her life. Or, at least, that I should move out of the way more. Let her be who she is, at any given moment. I have the power to ease her way and model grace-giving, patience, and love. Or I have the power to lose my shit.

Maybe I can work on more of the former. So, this is a love letter after all, to one of my greatest teachers, Magnolia Jade. Happy Birthday, baby, big girl, little bug. And to many more to come.


  1. Tho I'm sure you tire of people saying it, I think the Nolester is so much like her mama--she apprehends the world with wide, open eyes, with gusto--and sometimes the world is scary, shake-inducing, but mostly it's beautiful (I think of her sweet "okay" or "yeah" answer to so many questions, her willingness to go forth into the unknown so long as she's got an anchor, a hand to hold)...mostly I think of the convo she and I had in Canada..."sometimes," she said to me, walking up from the tiny beach, "I feel sad, but sometimes I feel happy!" that last word coming out with a high lilt and a grand hand gesture. "I like being happy more, don't you?" I asked. "Yeah!" she said, like I'd just stumbled onto the best explanation of life's mysteries and she, at almost-3, *got it*. Full of beans, that one. But oh how this heart sings for her, and for her lovely sister. Happy Happy Nolie. May I witness you grow and chage and -become- throughout your life, and may you be happy.

  2. Magnolia Jade, THE most beautiful name in the world for the spunky, strong, wild, lovely, funny one, Happy Birthday, great niece of my blood.