Monday, August 2, 2010

(Un)Sleeping Beauty

The kids grow more and more amazing (and stupefying) by the day.  We took them camping over the weekend, our first attempt since our camping trip two summers ago was cut short by freezing temperatures, and it was a success.  The kids loved the tent, the sleeping bags, the campfire, and the novelty of living outdoors.  They ran around the site finding sticks and playing games in the tent and asking questions.  The day was so full, Abby asked to go to bed before we'd even had dinner and s'mores.  Her eyes drooped, and she gladly put on her fuzzy winter pajamas so I could tuck her into her sleeping bag.  She said she didn't even want to read books or sing--she was too tired.  So I kissed her and left the tent to return to the activity outside.

In spite of her exhaustion, however, Abby talked and sang and jabbered for nearly an hour.  She finally grew quiet as we settled in to roast our marshmallows, and we relaxed in the knowledge our baby was sleeping.  Not twenty minutes later, though, we heard a loud, panicked cry, and Josh ran to the tent to see what woke her.  We heard him ask, "Abby, what happened?" in a voice that triggered my worry, and then he stepped out of the tent with Abby in his arms where we saw her right eye completely blackened.

Half a dozen possibilities came to mind.  I didn't see blood but didn't know if it was there and just covered in dirt.  Had she found some ash?  Had she found a pen?  Was there something in her sleeping bag?  Nothing made sense--until I entered the tent and found my makeup bag out and its contents strewn all over the tent.  As I picked up blush and lip gloss, I heard Abby say "mascara" as she explained what had happened, and I looked down to find the mascara wand and the tube on the tent floor.  Then I noticed black mascara on the floor, the side of the tent, and the air mattress.  Abby's quiet had not been due to sleep but rather due to her focused exploration of Mama's things.

The pieces came together, and we couldn't help but chuckle.  Here we are in the mountains having rustic adventures, and Abby is playing beauty parlor in the tent when she should be sleeping.  It was too funny, and too cute.  We cleaned her up with my face wipes--a time-consuming endeavor.  Her attempts to apply mascara to her own eyelashes resulted in black gook covering the top and bottom of her eye, the top of her cheek, and some of her nose.  Her hands had black streaks, and I think this must have prompted her cry: seeing her hand covered in a mess she couldn't fix.

We wiped her off gently, intermittently crooning consolation and hiding our giggles.  As we returned her to her natural skin color, she asked, "Mama, how do you get it on your eye?"  I explained my technique and then said, "Abby, I'll teach you how to put mascara on in about ten years, okay?"  She seemed to accept this timeline and also indicated she wouldn't be playing with my makeup in the meantime.  We'll see if the trauma of her black eye is enough to deter further experimentation.

They're learning the world--at times too slowly for my liking, at times sooner than is appropriate.  Josh and I step in to navigate, encouraging them along or slowing them down, equipping them to face greater responsibility and freedom in some areas while reserving other privileges for later.  But in the midst of this swirling sea of life stand two little people who love us like we hung the sun, moon, and stars.  

When I pulled into the garage tonight after teaching my spin class, I saw the door from the house open so Abby could peer out.  She beamed--a huge, sincere smile--as she stood there in her little pink pajamas, her tan legs bouncing and tick-tocking and swinging in perpetual motion.  I waved at her, and she rolled her wrist in circles, her best attempt at an enthusiastic wave.  She waited for me to get out of the car: half big girl, half baby, all charm and cuteness.  And I couldn't help but freeze the moment in my mind to remember when she's applying her own mascara someday.  These are precious days.

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