“Daddy taught me some sign language?” Piper said. “Want to see?”
“Of course,” I answered.
“This means beautiful.” Piper swiped her hand over her face.
“And this means poop.” She stuck her thumb into her fist.
“This is fart.” Piper wiggled her fingers beneath the sign for poop.
“Impressive. Nice work, Daddy.”
“Want to see the sign for picking your nose?” She stuck her finger up a nostril.
“That’s not a sign, Piper. You’re just picking your nose. Stop.”
“But you read the sign! It worked! See? Told you I know sign language.”
Piper is a big fan of her daddy. He walks on water. She waits by the door like a puppy when he’s gone and rushes to his open arms with a “Daddy!” even if he’s just taken out the trash.
I have to remind her regularly that I did in fact bake her in my body for 10 months and nurse her for a year and a half. And that doesn’t even account for that whole labor and delivery thing. You’d think that might earn me some loyalty. To Piper, I’m base. She simply wants me there, omnipresent and available. Base is safe, but it’s kind of boring.
On a recent drive to pick up her daddy at the Metro, Piper offered sage advice and a strenuous warning. We were waiting in the car and Piper asked, “Do you think Daddy kissed any other moms at work today?” Because apparently only other moms are my competition.
“I doubt it,” I answered. “Your daddy wouldn’t do that.”
Then Piper delivered the gut punch that only a four-year-old can.
“You know there are a lot of moms prettier than you.”
I took a nice, long breath, which is the only thing I’ve really learned in almost 10 years of parenting. Take one breath before you speak. A sacred pause.
“True,” I acknowledged. Because it is true. There are prettier moms than me. “But Daddy is committed to us. He wouldn’t kiss anyone else.”
Piper was quiet in the back seat for a minute. Then she saw her daddy walking across the platform toward our car. She put her foot on base and dug her toe in for good measure and whispered, “You never know.”