Honey Bear

*Warning!* This post contains some profanity. But my 2 year old said it first. 

Saturday mornings are for Adeline.
My sweet second born has never known that only child life and, although she is the baby of the family, she often finds herself surrendering the spotlight to her big brother. That’s just part of the deal when you’re the “easy one.” So I make a point to set aside a few hours every Saturday morning for my best little girlfriend. We hit the produce market on our way to ballet class and then do the rest of the grocery shopping, sharing a bottle of water and the kind of captivating conversation that you can only have with a very precocious two and a half year old.
“Mommy, we need honey for my pancakes.”
“You’ve got it, baby.”
“I want to hold the honey bear! He is my baby, Mom. I love him so much.”
My perfect little princess cradles the plastic bear in her arms and strokes it lovingly while she chatters away about her My Little Pony birthday party, which is four months away and of which she already has every detail imagined out.
“My ballerina friends are going to come to my Pony party, Mom. But they have to bring their bathing suits. Can I wear a Pony bathing suit?”
“Of course, baby. We’ll get one when it becomes swimming weather.”
“We will? Really, Mom? Are you serious?” she squeals with excitement.
She looks up at me from the front of the shopping cart, her baby blues shining with delight at the thought of the nine dollar Pony swimsuit that I plan to pick up at Walmart later this weekend. It really doesn’t take much to make her little cup of joy overflow. As she fiddles with the top of the honey bear, trying unsuccessfully to flip it open, I touch her chubby little cheek and take a mental picture of her as she is right now, not quite three years old, in a Frozen leotard and tutu, unable to imagine that she could ever want more out of life than a My Little Pony swimsuit and honey for her pancakes.
I’m lost in this thought when I hear her say, as clear as a bell, “Fucking bear, Mom!”
I stop short in front of the almond milk and stare at my little girl, my beautiful little muffin.
“What did you say?”
“Fucking bear, Mom!”
I realize immediately that she repeated it because I asked her to. But I am shocked all over again to hear that word spoken so casually in her little baby voice.
She didn’t hear that word at home. I know she didn’t hear that word at home, not because I’m a saint but because I’m so inclined to swear, I need to be especially conscious of my language when I’m around my children.
“Adeline? Where did you hear that word?”
“Sarah says it at school.”
And just like that, a little piece of my heart breaks. Because in that moment, I know that I can’t keep her. I guess I’ve always known this but now the truth is cursing at me in the middle of the grocery store. There is a great big world out there and she is already facing it without me.

Today, the world is teaching her swear words. But I know that, before long, the world will try to teach her that she is not skinny enough or curvy enough or that her hair is too curly or too straight or that she is too tall or too short. It will try to teach her that other girls are competition and that she needs to act dumb to make the boys feel smarter. It will try to teach her that she is not enough. I will continue to tell her that she is more than enough, that she is bright and beautiful and perfect. And I am so afraid that the world will have convinced her that I am wrong.
But this is all much more than I can get into today, in the dairy section at Aldi. So I calmly tell her that princesses don’t use that word. And then I comfort her when she cries because she thinks she’s in trouble and, just like her mama, she can’t stand the thought of letting anyone down. I tell her that she is sweet and smart and brave and that she is a good girl. Mommy just doesn’t want to hear her use that word.
That night, we lie in my bed together and she tells me that I’m her “best friend ever in the world and beautiful too.” I tell her that she is my best little girlfriend and my gorgeous girl.
“I am so gorgeous, Mommy. And I am kind and strong.”
She dozes off on my shoulder to dream about ponies and pancakes and I say a silent prayer that she will always know those things to be true.
Once she’s asleep, I lay her in her bed and sneak downstairs to make myself a cup of tea with honey but I just can’t get the little plastic seal off of the top. I sigh. Fucking bear.

Sweet Adeline Baby Girl Toddler Girl Ice Cream
My Sweet Adeline. Just try to picture that word coming out of this little face. 



Comments

  1. This is adorable and heartbreaking at the same time. Wonderfully written, I'm enjoying your blog!

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