Peter Pan

When my boys were little, I could get them to do just about anything, so long as it meant they'd get to grow up because of it. "Momma, why do I have to take a baff?" So your skin can be clean and stretchy for it to grow, of course. "Momma, do I have to eat dis broccowee?" Only if you want your muscles to be strong so you can grow up big and tall, silly boy. "Momma, I don't want to sweep!" Well, if you don't sleep, your body can't grow. Little boys can only grow while they sleep. You want to grow, right? All they wanted to do was grow-grow-grow. They wanted to be big like their daddy, like each other. They wanted to do big boy things like play video games and go to school and ride bikes outside.

Not so much with my daughter.

I so much as mention growing up and the waterworks begin. "I don't want to gwow up, Momma! I want to stay wittowl forever!" she cries. And it's not just pissy little defiant four year old tears, either. The kid is flat out afraid of growing up. I have no idea where this comes from.

I've tried to rationalize this with her. I've pointed out that she's already a big girl; she pees on the potty and she rides a bike and puts on her own shoes and eats ice cream cones. Babies don't do those things. She drinks milk from a cup, not boobies. She has a big girl bed, not a crib. She writes her name and plays on the computer. She's already big, I tell her, and she just cries and cries and tells me no, she won't grow up. She's going to stay wittowl.  She can't grow up.

Now I know where Peter Pan came from.

I've kind of given up on the whole thing and just accepted that I'm going to have to resort to "Show momma how the piggies eat" to get her to eat her vegetables, or worse, the "Pull it out of her belly-button" game which is really fun when they eat mini-marshmallows but not at all fun when they eat mashed potatoes. The fact of the matter is that this is the last kid I get, and I wouldn't mind it in the least if she stayed little. She got big way too fast as it is, really.

Except that she really wants to go to school. Except that I really want her to go to school. Except that my husband would like to see his floor and my boss would like to see that report and I need her to be elsewhere if I'm going to get those things done.

Last time we tried school, she was two and not at all ready and cried from drop off to pick up every time we left her there. We ended up pulling her out because I just didn't feel like paying someone to make my kid cry. We haven't tried since, but Tuesday is supposed to be her first day at pre-school here. And she's very excited. She asks me all the time what she'll be doing and brags that she's going to have a teacher and homework, just like the guys. She tells me that she won't cry at school this time, which, holy memory Batman, and I say to her that of course she won't, because she's a big girl now, and I hold my breath.

And she looks at me with those big, green eyes that are starting to well up with tears, and she thinks. She thinks really hard and says, "No momma, I'm a big BOY now. I'm your son. Big son-boys go to school." And I think I have a really clever little girl.