Jan 31, 2014

Mia Turns 11 and Other Things I Can't Explain

Eleven. Last Friday, Mia turned eleven.

When I was pregnant, I was given a stuffed elephant at my baby shower, which became Mia's obvious favorite by the time she was just 6 months old. Since then, Oy (as he is called) has gone with us on every trip we've ever taken, has rarely spent a night away from her side, has endured minor cosmetic surgery, and has inspired an obsession with all things elephant.

I was looking for my missing phone one morning, and found it next to Mia's bed, where I had been reading to her the night before. Oy was safely tucked under the covers, like he is every day while she is at school. It struck me as quite exceptional that we have never lost that elephant, considering our long and impressive history of losing things.

Things we've lost, starting with the most numerous: elastic hairbands, single socks, shoes, keys, shopping lists, glasses, library books, dvds, wallets-- back when we were amateurs we would lose those things practically right after we set them down. Now that we're pros, we lose them at a slightly faster rate.

Hats, gloves, cameras, water bottles, umbrellas, other stuffed animals, backpacks, and a bag of beach toys--all left on various modes of public transportation in the Netherlands and throughout Europe.

Money? Not only have we lost money, but I've been known to just throw it away. Literally, in the trash can at the San Francisco Zoo food court.

My claim to fame is that I lost my engagement ring the day we bought it. The very same day. I dropped it in the kitchen and it disappeared. One replacement ring and six months later, my roommate found it just days before the wedding. It's one of the reasons I don't get engaged much anymore.

We're currently missing an iPod and a cell phone, both of which were last seen in Nate's possession. Ditto for the pepper grinder. Nate pleads the 5th.

The list goes on:
Children (presently, everyone is accounted for).
My fashion sense.
The ability to do more than three jumping jacks in a row.
Oh, and my dignity-- long gone.

And if we found all of our missing toys and game pieces, and spread them out over China...we would barely make a dent because that place is huge. But the point is, there is a staggering amount of plastic crap that was made there, bought by us, and then lost by us.  I'm looking at you, little Lego pieces that turned out to be vitally important.

Yet, somehow, after 11 years and across a continent, we have never lost this little elephant, though there have been a few close calls (once we thought we left Oy on an airplane, and it was extremely upsetting-- for Mia too). It all seems rather amazing.

Also amazing: that we've been parents for eleven years. We're just around the corner from an entirely new parenting phase. The one with the hormones, and the eye rolls, and the begging for the iPhones. Where I get to say things like I think 27 is a good age to start dating, and is this the new misogynist drivel the kids are listening to these days? The one where kids grow up and stuffed animals get put away.

But I need to stop thinking about that before I start losing things all over the place.

Happy birthday Mia. It's a OK with me if you hang on to childhood and your elephant for another few years, or five. For future reference though, that's a no to the iPhone thing. 


Bob/Kristy said...

Keeping Oy for 11 years definitely deserves to be memorialized in a blog post!

And a way-late happy birthday to Mia! 11 is such a milestone birthday, marking the last 12-18 months of childhood. But then time starts to defy all the laws of reason. By her 14th birthday she'll have been a teenager for about a decade.

Like you said, some things just can't be explained; the passing of time with children is one of them. Einstein's theory of relativity is simple compared with the truth that the first 11 years of your child's life is both an eternity and over in the blink of an eye. Nice post, I really enjoyed it!

Neva said...

Yes, tell her to hang onto childhood. I'm learning that parenting a teenager is really, really, REALLY hard.