Egads! Paige is Three

Posted: February 10th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Firsts, Milestones, Paigey Waigey Wiggle Pop, Preschool | 3 Comments »

Every summer when we visit my sister in Cape Cod Mark nearly drives off the road laughing when he sees the sign for this one hair salon. It’s called ‘Egads!’

It’s impressive that such a poorly-named business has lasted so long. And it brings us no end of entertainment. No matter how many times we pass that sign it sets off a little husband-and-wife comedy routine. In British accents, no less.

“Egads!” Mark will bellow, peering forward at me then retracting his neck in dismay. “Your hair! What on earth has happened to it?”

Or I might look startled and cry out, “Egads, man! Have you seen what your hair looks like?!”

Or Mark’ll say,”Your hair is so… interesting.” And I’ll fluff my ‘do, smiling coyly and say, “Why thank you. I go to Egads Salon.”

We sometimes natter on as if we’re renowned naming experts who’ve pulled down a huge commission for naming the place. “Ah yes,” one of us’ll say with erudite puffery. “One of the most brilliant brands I take complete credit from building from the ground up is Egads Hair Salon. Yes, yes, the one on the main road in Harwich by the Dunkin Donuts. Brilliant work, if I do say so myself.”

These things delight us immensely. (I’m so damn lucky to have found Mark.)

It’s just such good material. I mean, aside from all the negative connotations that make “egads” a terrible name for a hair salon, who even really uses that word anyway? Other than, like, Sherlock Holmes?

My darling love-dumpling Paigey Wiggle turned three years old last week. Or, as she’d put it, “fwee.” And lately, as if to remind me of her Big Girl status, she’s been providing me with scads of egads-worthy moments. She still can’t shake the angelic light I see her in, but man she seems to be trying.

The other day, while we were walking down the street an older gentleman saw her, bent to her eye-level and kindly said, “What a pretty dress you have on.”

She stared up at him silent and blinking. So I nudged her. “Paige, what do you say when someone compliments your dress?”

She looked at me, then looked at him, and with a big smile shouted, “BOOBIES!”

Not exactly what I had in mind.

“Egads, child!” my inner voice cried out, as I took her by the shoulders and guided her away, offering the man a weak smile. I would have attempted an explanation, but hell if I understood what she was thinking. Better to just move along.

Lately too, even the smallest amount of liquid—even something remotely damp—is a source of abundant fascination for Paige. I know the bathroom will look like a tsunami hit if I send her solo to wash her hands before dinner. But I’m still sometimes too busy to chaperone. So I bellow from the kitchen where I’m cooking.

“You okay, Paige? No playing with water, please.”

“That’s enough now! Turn OFF the faucet!”

“Please don’t get into Daddy’s hair goop! That stuff is expensive.” (And a pain in the ass to clean up.)

But the other morning as I was packing lunches like a madwoman, cleaning up breakfast dishes with an OCD-level of care (in case the queen drops by), and wondering when I’d actually make it in the shower, I wandered by Paige’s room. She had three plastic cups lying on the floor, and another in her hand, dumping water on top of her toy box. The entire top of the wooden box, which is a long bench, was a pool of water. And there was a Niagra Falls gushing over the edge onto the floor.

I admit that I screamed.

It wasn’t at her, per se. More a scream of shock. Like, an “Aaaaagh!”

A more refined Bristish chap might have emitted a proper “Egads!” But my verbal reactions to stress or surprise aren’t quite so controlled.

Paige’s “water table” happens to be a piece of furniture that’s near and dear to me. One of those drag-it-out-of-a-burning-house type items. It was mine when I was a kid, and my dad not only built the thing, but he painted and decorated it too. It’s got my name across the top, the alphabet, and some little tigers and flowers on it. And it’s deliciously orange. Which Kate or Paige will be quick to tell you is Mama’s favorite color.

So, water was pouring down into the hinged crack where lots of toys are stored. It was flowing onto Paige’s big rug. It was likely pooling under the toy box too, leaving a nice big mark on the hardwood floor, but it was too heavy to move to know for sure.

In all the time I was busy being Morning Superhero Mom, Paige had been stealthily filling cups with water in the bathroom and ferrying them to her room. As if she were tasked with single-handedly putting out a fire, six ounces at a time.

I was crazed. Of course, Paige was immensely proud. As I was wind-milling my arms in the linen closet, grabbing towels with maniacal speed as if someone were going into labor, Paige was admiring her work and muttering things like, “All the water, Mama! All the water…”

Ah well, there went the 6 minutes I’d set aside to take a shower. (A more resourceful gal would have dipped her head under the waterfall and washed her hair, a la Brooke Shields in Blue Lagoon.)

Miss Paigey is not only bragging about being “a big girl now.” My formerly easy-peasy dumpling has a new defiant ‘tude. She’s now prone to yelling No, stomping her feet (with her hands on her hips for added sassiness), refusing to take another step on the sidewalk, and even sometimes swatting at me. The other day her refusal to walk into the playground and her incessant whining once I lured her in prompted another mom to ask me how old she was. When I answered three, she didn’t say a word. Just sorta nodded her head.

But I could hear what she was thinking loud and clear: “It’s not the terrible twos, it’s the terrible threes.”

Lordy be.

Even though I could kinda see how she was thinking like she was, I still wanted to run after her, tap on her car window and explain, “You actually have it all wrong. This is Paigey. She’s not like that. She’s an angel!”

In fact, when people ask how Paige is, Mark says, “A handful,” at the same moment I’m saying, “Wonderful!” I always look at him like “Really?” It seems like we should get our stories straight.

But honestly, I think it’s me who’s suffering from temporary delusions and/or denial. I mean, I’m with her more than Mark is, so I should be acutely aware of her less-than-perfect behavior of late. But her sweetie pie angel-puss persona is so deeply ingrained in me. It’s hard to shake. It’s like when a friend chops off their hair or something. You still picture them the old way for a while, and you’re always a little surprised when you meet up with them and they look different from your mental image.

And if her sudden onset of cranky defiant negativity wasn’t offputting enough, it also turns out that Paige is in love. I know. I know what you’re thinking. The gal just turned “fwee.” But after two weekend visits to our friends’ house in Napa, Paige has become desperately infatuated with their 8-year-old son. (Who is, undeniably, handsome and charming.)

She wandered into my room the other morning, mopey and forlorn, climbed into bed and whimpered, “I miss Elliot.” Then she rolled away from me and slumped into the sheets like she couldn’t go on.

If she’s coloring, picking a book out from the library, or putting a barrette in her hair, she’ll invariably assert, “It’s for Elliot.” If I’m trying to coerce her into an outfit, I’ll sometimes tell her, “This used to be Elliot’s sister’s.” (Works like a charm.) And she spends entire mornings refusing to respond to her own name, and insisting that everyone call her Elliot. It’s like she parlays her lovesickness into becoming the object of her desire. Like that comforts her somehow.

It’s so dramatic as to be from another era—Austen-ian even. Which, of course, I love.

Anyway, a stricter version of me would make a stand and put an end to the thing. I mean, he IS five years older than her. But at this point I’m leaning more towards a simple “no boyfriends ’til you’re potty trained” rule.

Silly me, thinking I had a good decade or so before I’d be coaching my fwee- and five-year-old girls through matters of the heart.

A few weeks ago Kate and I went to pick Paigey up from school. Paige’s classroom is in the back of the school and down a set of stairs, where you can’t see or hear the street. As we walked up to her room, two of the teachers called out, “You were RIGHT, Paige!” and told me that about three minutes earlier Paige announced, “My mother is here.”

It happened again last week. “It seems like she KNOWS when you pull up and are parking the car,” the one nice afternoon teacher whose name I can’t remember said. “It’s amazing.”

I grabbed Paige’s lunch box and guided her up the stairs. Amazing? Nah. Paigey and I have always been tuned into each other that way. Like, when she was a teeny baby, I’d wake up in the night and not move or even open my eyes. A few seconds later she’d be flapping around in her bassinet. It happened later too, when she was sleeping down the hall in her own room.

We’ve got a few years and some layers of the world between us now, but that girl and I are still connected. Big three-year-old or not, I’m pleased to announce that Paigey-Lou is still her Mama’s baby.


3 Comments on “Egads! Paige is Three”

  1. 1 claudia said at 7:01 pm on February 10th, 2011:

    Oh Kristin, I love how you love your youngest.

  2. 2 kristen said at 7:21 pm on February 10th, 2011:

    yay! thanks for your comments, dear claudia. i actually love katie too. just for the record. :)

  3. 3 FAB said at 4:05 pm on February 12th, 2011:

    That you have kept that toy chest all these years in a very prominent place in your home and life, pleases this dad more than you can imagine…..something that will last long after I am gone…Thanks….

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