Saturday morning, eight AM, swim team time trials. Mia, as the youngest kid, was in the very first race, freestyle, six and under. Timers ready? Take your marks... and then the horn sounds. Five children dive into the water and swim their hearts out. Mia is left standing on the edge of the pool, confused. Her coaches finally convince her to dive in, and as soon as she hits the water she swims straight back to the wall. That's what they do in practice, of course, when they work on their dives. They finally get her straightened out, and off she goes. By now, all the other children are halfway across the pool, but Mia is not fazed. She swims as hard and as fast as she can, which is not very fast. She kicks every time she hears someone yelling out to remind her to do it, but as soon as she starts kicking she forgets to move her arms. I'm screaming that she can do it. Chris is screaming that she's almost there. Owen is clapping and yelling "great job, Mia." And a hundred other kids and parents are yelling her name, cheering her on. And she made it. She made it, and she loved it, and she was thrilled with herself. And when it was her turn for backstroke, she didn't come in last.
I thought we were building her confidence and teaching her sportsmanship and teamwork and letting her make some new friends. But no. Mia, it turns out, is there to win. And I am sure it will take her a year or two to get there, but I have every confidence that she is going to do it.
Owen has been playing pretend since birth, courtesy of his older sister. He's been Abu and Prince Charming and a munchkin, and he calls Mia "Princess Dorothy" (Gale, of Kansas, of course, we are on Book 9) as often as he calls her Mia. He likes to play doggy and have us pet him, he likes to be Handy Manny. Saturday night, I read him a book about WALL-E, and in at one point, WALL-E goes to bed. So after we read, I told Owen it was time to go to bed like WALL-E, and asked him to get in his robot bed. And he said "Ok, Eva." And it took me a minute to realize. The pretending, that was nothing new, but making up something new? Telling me who to be, how to participate in his story, expanding his imagination beyond himself, beyond what he has been told, that was new. That was the first. And that realization made it all the more adorable when he spent the next fifteen minutes saying "I love you, Eva."
Some days, I really regret that it is not appropriate to lock them both in the basement for several hours until they stop driving me batshit insane. And some days they are so perfectly amazing that I can't believe they are real.