So maybe it's that Dormouse will soon turn three, maybe it's Monica's countdown and the possibility of her having a new little one around, maybe it's my recent brush with death, but lately I've been totally and stupidly waxing nostalgic about when she was tiny.

She's grown so much in these three years, I can hardly believe that that tiny little premature baby who wouldn't gain weight is right at this minute in the other room by herself singing "Ceeee-lebrate Good Times, C'mon!" and putting together a 25 piece puzzle. And what is even more impossible to believe: I've survived it. I don't have any illusions that I'm the greatest mother out there. I'm lazy and selfish and I watch too much TV and I can't seem to configure my life so that I could stay home with her full time and I allow people to make me feel guilty about that and I have no patience for 2-year-old tantrums and I don't want to sit around with other mothers and talk about parenting twenty-four hours a day and I don't like Barney or Dora or Disney Princess stories.

But I do believe that I've never done anything quite as important as being her mother. I've never done anything quite a difficult or quite as satisfying. It's amazing to me, knowing myself as I do, that I can still say that even after three years, the last two weeks having been particularly difficult in the momma-needs-more-patience arena. There is nothing easy about parenthood. I knew that going into this whole experience, just not quite as intimately as I do now. But it's still worth it. You just find rewards in different places: the maple syrup covered kisses, the random 'I love you mom' in the grocery store, the inappropriate amount of enthusiasm displayed when daddy announces we might go to the mall.

Last night while we were having dinner, I was waxing aloud about how much she's grown up. Having a discussion with her is like talking to a peer. She said something particularly 35-year-old-womanish and I said, "You have grown up sooo much. How did you get so big?"

She reflected for a moment and then cocked her head with the spoon mid-way from her plate to her face and said,

"I ate a lot of food."