I was lying on my side feeding E2, the two of us snuggled up together on the couch with my arm under her head and her feet resting on the top of my legs. I took a deep breath and drew in the sleep-smell clinging to her hair, then ran my hand down her bare leg to her foot, still small enough to cup nicely in my hand. She is getting bigger, but she is still small. Sometimes I look at her and can hardly believe that someone so little can be real, a whole person in herself.
“What a little foot you have!” I said, and she, still nursing, shook her head in disagreement.
She pulled away abruptly. “I’m not little!” she announced, and then promptly latched back on.
E1, who was sitting tucked into the space behind my bent legs, now stuck her foot up over the other side of my thigh and pressed its sole against E2’s. Her foot dwarfed her sister’s.
“See?” I said. “E1’s is big, your’s is little!” I lifted my leg up in the air and held my own foot aloft. “Actually, my foot is big, E1’s is medium, and your feet are little.”
This was too much — she pulled off again and paused to contemplate the three different feet on display. None of this is what a two-year-old wants to hear. Her world now is one of new conquest after new conquest: she can run and jump, she feeds herself and uses a big-girl cup, she can ride a tricycle, she is starting to use a toilet. She is a big girl now, and she knows it. It is eminently important to her.
But her foot was still undeniably the smallest of the three and her face showed her displeasure as she worked to reconcile this in her mind. After a full minute of frowning, she unfurrowed her brow — she had reached her conclusion. “I am big,” she stated, matter of factly. ” I am little, but I am big.”
And having thus resolved the problem to her satisfaction, she turned back to her milk and began nursing again with gusto.