We went into the weekend with one kid largely afraid of the pool and only willing to ride her new bike on the tiny back patio and another kid who just wouldn't give up her pacifier.
Saturday morning I woke up before the kids. Already, everything was different. As I sat in bed lavishing affection on the cuddle-master Rex, I heard the thump-thump-thump of tiny feet (that "pitter-patter" stuff is pure nonsense, as soon as they learn to walk they sound like a herd of elephants). The girls came running into the bedroom, ready for the day. On that mid-July, Atlanta morning, we had all the windows open and it was positively perfect outside. "Kate and Sarah, get dressed, we're going to get Kate riding that bike of hers." Then...they did get dressed. AND I was able to convince Kate to wear shorts and tennis shoes.
I told Kate and Sarah that if they rode their respective cycles all the way (.03 of mile) to the coffee shop they could get their own chai lattes (sort of their own, we split one into two cups). Kate hopped on her bike and tamed it immediately. Training wheels are great! I explained to her that my first bike didn't have training wheels, that my dad held onto the seat and ran along behind me promising not to let go and then let go. "That's how I learned to ride a bike, Kate. Through lies and trickery." She asked me "what if I fall off?" and I said "You will definitely fall off, probably a lot. I know I did, but my mom was at the ready with a warm washcloth, soap and water and plenty of bandaids and I will do the same for you." Usually a statement like that only makes her more worried, but she actually seemed happy with my response. Who IS this kid?
Furthermore, Sarah peddled her tricycle nearly the entire way. We have one of those awesome tricycles with the long handle in the back so when she got distracted we could just push. So the girls received their promised tea and then they peddled all the way home. And at 9AM it was still breezy and comfortable outside.
At some point in the morning Sarah informed me she'd thrown out her paci. She says this a lot. In fact, she does it a lot. Usually we retrieve it because we know how it's going to play out later. I was busy, though, and just congratulated her for being a big girl and forgot about it.
That afternoon, Kate also rode her bike to the pool. Sarah insisted on "riding" her tricycle but she's only got about one ride in her a day, we quickly learned, and Jeremiah ended up pushing her most of the way there. When we hit the pool, Sarah was all about showing us how long she can stay under water. It's a long time. She scares me. I kept my eyes trained her and thought "Kate wouldn't even attempt anything like that so I don't have to worry about her." As if on cue, Kate just started sticking her entire head under the water. Then, when I explained how she should make hands into "cups" and use them to pull herself through the water...she did it. She likes to keep a noodle under her while she does it but that kid was swimming. Then she started jumping off the side into the water, something we were never able to convince her to do before. It was like watching a switch get thrown.
When the busy, beautiful day was behind us and we were tucking two very tired girls into bed, Sarah realized her pacifier was gone. She wept and screamed. She has a way of melting down that would convince any uninitiated soul that she dying. Jeremiah actually dug through the kitchen trash in search of the beloved item. This is more about us, really. No one wants to endure this kind of screaming. He couldn't find it anywhere. I held her on my lap and rocked her for awhile (this is my solution to nearly everything right now because I really don't know how much longer I'll be able to do that). Finally, when she was so tired she was woozy, I laid her down. She went to sleep. Then she went to sleep without it again last night.
They were no longer little girls. They were little women.
OK, that's pushing it but I like to say that and think of Mo choking up while reading Little Women to Maggie in that episode of the Simpsons when he becomes her nanny.