I pick up the mail and hurry inside to read my new edition of Real Simple. I grab some baby toys, toss them on the sofa, and set Danielle beside them. I lean back and thumb through the pages. There’s an article on swim suits. I set the magazine open on the sofa above Danielle’s head, pick up the baby keys, and dangle them for her to reach at as I glance through the pictures.
Melanie strolls up, looks down at the swimsuit model on the open page, and points. “I want her to be my Mommy.” I stare into Melanie’s eyes. “You really want her to be your Mommy? Why?” Melanie’s face goes flat with a hint of fear. “Well, I just do,” she says. “Well, why do you?” I’m not upset with her, but now she’s in nervous stutter mode. “S-s-s-see she is just pretty, and we-well, you look pretty sometimes when you wear a dress, b-but you don’t have many pretty dresses and she just looks…pretty.”
“So, you want her to be your Mommy because she is prettier than me.” She just keeps to the facts. “Well, I really do love you as my Mommy, Mommy. And she is pretty.” I look at the picture. I look back to her. “You do realize that saying you want a different Mommy could hurt my feelings, right? You should apologize and say ‘I didn’t mean to hurt you, Mommy. I shouldn’t have said that.’ Don’t you think?” She leans back against the ottoman and sighs. “Yeah…but I can’t remember all those things you just said.” We repeat it back and forth, one step at a time. “I’m sorry Mommy. I didn’t mean to hurt you. I shouldn’t have said that.”
I lean back and think to myself. I would love a personal stylist to do my hair, makeup, pick out my clothes, and most of all, I do wish I could be photoshopped before I leave the house every morning. I can’t blame Melanie for wanting me to look my best, which I know is what she meant. In the end though, I get to be Mom, with the frazzled bun, tired makeup-less face, oversized workout clothes and t-shirts, running from place to place and trying to keep our world running on schedule. This week, Mel has said both “You are the best Mommy ever” and “I want her to be my Mommy.” My funny life with a four-and-a-half-year-old. I set the magazine down, having lost my desire to look at the pictures. Maybe I’ll pick it up after the girls are in bed or just try again next month.