The other problem is that she is my oldest daughter and a wonderful helper and all the small acts of service she performs all day often go unannotated. I swore that as an oldest daughter myself I would never abuse the gift that an oldest child can be, but I'm afraid I often take Chloe for granted. I don't know what I would do without her. There is no way I could handle all three of them (assuming desperately trying to keep up with Addie can be considered "handling" her) if I didn't have Chloe by my side. She is a mini mom in so many ways. As exemplified by the picture below, proving that I am spending a little too much time on the computer.
In an effort to better document the inner workings of her "head brain," I took notes the other day while we were having lunch. Unfortunately, my notes and my memory aren't that great, and her trains of thought are quite inventive, so I can't piece it all back together. But the randomness of the notes themselves is pretty representative of the whole. We discussed
- Long nails
- How snail trails help the earth (how different things help the other is a major topic of conversation)
- The need to be gentle on soft bones because they are the only bones we have
- "I think Maggie thinks it's medicine"
Tonight at Costco, someone mentioned how cute Addie was, and I, exhausted after dealing with a child in the throes of 2 1/2 year old dependent independence, told the woman she could have Addie. To which Chloe added, "But if you take her, you have to love her!"
Chloe also desperately loves Maggie. She is always asking to hold her and carry her around, even if Maggie is not interested in the trip. It is amazing helpful, though, to have someone around who can pick up Maggie and bring her to me or remove her from danger if need be. Or run and get me a diaper or a glass of water. And who can get her own snacks, since she needs a snack at least every 20 minutes. And who will "read" stories to both of her sisters when Mom is busy. It will be very exciting when she can read for real. She did sound out and spell her first word the other day. She drew a picture about "The Emperor's New Groove" and labeled it Cosco (Cuzco). I was impressed.
Chloe is very aware of relationships with boys and girls. This is her and her friend Josh in a box. Her friend Josh who she prayed for months would decide not to be a firefighter and just be a dad. Dads are very important to Chloe.
We were at Old Navy the other day, and I had the two younger girls loaded up in the stroller. A male employee walked by and jokingly asked if he could have a ride. With a smile I replied, "Only if you promise to stay in your seat and not touch anything!" As soon as he was gone, Chloe turned to me and said, indignantly, "Mom--you're not supposed to talk to other boys--only to Dad!"
She is becoming quite competitive. She only wants to do things she can win at. Which doesn't remind me of anyone who lives inside my head at all. Every night she and Addie race to see who can get into their pajamas first. Last night she was excitedly celebrating her victory when she stopped and said, "Ooops. I forgot to put on my underwear!"
I need to remember that incident, not just because it was funny, but because she actually forgot something. This child has a memory like an elephant, unless it's related to what happened at church that day. Then her mind goes extraordinarily blank. But I know it's sinking it. There's a church song she loves that says, "I am a builder, working each day, to build my family." She certainly does that, whether it's helping set the table and fill the glasses every night, or praying every day that my hands will feel better, or begging to help a little more with Maggie, my Chloe is certainly doing her part to build our family.