This morning Mia said “love you!” to Dan as he was leaving for work, like it was no big deal.
To be fair, it’s not exactly the first time she’s said it. Yesterday she said something that we’re pretty sure was “I love you” to George. As in Curious George, the cartoon monkey. Fucking figures he would be first.
But anyway, when she said it this morning my heart kind of skipped a beat because, well, because it’s the first time she’s ever said anything that even vaguely resembled appreciation for or acknowledgment of the thousands of hours of missed sleep, hundreds of diapers full of actual shit, and that time that she threw up into my mouth and down my shirt while I was sleeping.
I know that Mia saying “love you” to Dan is really just her imitating me, and that she probably shouted “you left the refrigerator open, dumbass!” as soon as Dan was out of earshot. But I’m holding on to some semblance of sweetness by pretending that she really loves us, and misses us when we leave for the day.
I think I’m also just in a sentimental space right now because yesterday when I picked Mia up from daycare, instead of screaming and crying and trying to hide from me, she looked up from her toys when she heard me come in, and came sprinting over to me with her arms up like she was being chased by a serving of protein (Mia is currently on a 3 month protein strike). I scooped her up and she buried her face in my shoulder and let out a huge sigh, like she was actually happy to see me.
Then she looked at me lovingly and said “I go see Dada?”
The girl really knows how to ruin a moment.
Truth be told, though, watching Mia interact with and pine over Dan makes me even happier, I think, then when she’s being lovey dovey with me. There is truly nothing more endearing then watching the man you love be manipulated into turning off Sports Center in favor of PBS by a not-even-2-year-old. Mia, teach me your ways!
There have been so many moments this week that involved Mia screeching at the top of her lungs, pouring out water bottles onto carpets, and putting her fingers in dog vomit, and then in her mouth. (I know, I know, TMI.) But this morning, I was reminded why anyone procreates anyway. Because those screaming, shitting, puking, suckling little creatures eventually turn into little people. Ones that look like you, and act like you (for better or for worse), and develop their own amazing little personalities and curiosities and thought processes that are just so. freakin. adorable. to watch.
They are demanding, and insolent and irritating 99% of the time, but one little “I love you” and they can turn your entire week around.
They own you, is pretty much what it comes down to.
Welcome to parenthood.