“this happy Creature of herself”

"arch looks and laughing eyes"

I can’t believe they’re three.

Well, little M is three and little H is three and a half. I’m sure little H would want you to know that distinction. It’s an important one.

I remember meeting little M for the first time at little H’s first birthday party. Just a few months old, she spent most of the party on her mother’s lap observing the action, pretty in a lavender sweater, while little H played with a disposable camera (remember those?) and ate birthday cake.

Now these two girls were scampering around in tutus, loading toys in shopping bags and baskets, then carrying their treasures around before a birthday feast of pizza from the Med and birthday cake.

The grown-ups talked, ate pizza and drank beer. The girls played with their pizza, then went off to play back in little M’s room. They were quiet for a while. Maybe too quiet? No mischief, but a grown-up went off to check on them anyway.

Before long, little M got to open her presents, with assistance from her dad and little H. I got little M some Hello Kitty nail stickers and some pretty-smelling bath stuff from Lush that makes bathwater pink and sparkly. I got her a card, too. I wish I’d known this Wordsworth poem, “Characteristics Of A Child Three Years Old”, before I found the card. If I had, I would have inscribed it like so:

LOVING she is, and tractable, though wild;
And Innocence hath privilege in her
To dignify arch looks and laughing eyes;
And feats of cunning; and the pretty round
Of trespasses, affected to provoke
Mock-chastisement and partnership in play.

a lush life

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