Thursday, November 14, 2013

'I’m not a baby, I’m a Nandi'

As I look at my firstborn continue to mature before my eyes, a famous quote by James Baldwin comes to mind: “Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.”

Little Nandi lives up to Baldwin’s quote on a daily basis. And she’s quick to remind me that she’s a growing girl. I love wrapping her up in my arms and smothering her with kisses. I’ll then ask her if she’s my baby. Her response: “No, mama. I’m not a baby. I’m a Nandi!” Then she’ll run off, far away from me, to occupy her time doing more important things, I guess.

One of her pastimes is driving her car. Nandi’s car, mind you, is her bright red tricycle. She has her very own keychain, full of whistles and mini-flashlights, which she calls her keys. She’ll grab her “keys” and hop onto her “car” peddling as fast as her little legs can go, riding all over the house. As an afterthought, she’ll stop and say, “Bye! I gotta go shopping!”

On other occasions, Little Nandi has a desire to stay connected with friends and family via the social networking scene. She always informs me and my husband when she wants to Skype her grandparents, cousins, uncles and aunt. One night while on Skype with my mother, my daughter said, “Wait a minute, I have to check my emails.” We both asked her how many she had, and she said, “Umm, about four.” She then continued to tap away at the keys on the keyboard.

Then there are moments when Nandi relishes in the fact that she’s a big sister. Since her baby sister has been on the scene, Nandi feeds her snacks (with adult supervision), reads to her, plays with her and even takes time to reprimand her 10-month-old sister. Talia, who is known for her priceless facial expressions, will look at me as if to say, “Do you see this? Is this girl for real?”

But there are times when Nandi needs time to reflect and express her thoughts through writing (not even three years old, I can only imagine the thoughts running through her little head). She’ll start talking and writing, and sometimes she’ll stop and say, “Mama, what’s their name?” In response, I’ll randomly say the names of her classmates. She’ll nod her head in agreement and then continue writing in her notepad, in deep concentration.

Yes, my Nandi, my little “mini-me” (as my Dad sometimes describes her) definitely reminds me of myself. I never realized how observant children could be until I had my own. And with a toddler who possesses an ever-expanding vocabulary, along with having eyes like a hawk, I will continue to be mindful of my words and actions. Now I know my baby girl will FOREVER be listening and watching me – and that’s a revelation I lovingly embrace. I want her to experience a life full of love and promise, and hopefully my husband and I are providing her with good material to imitate. We’ll just sit back and enjoy the show.

Chandra Caradine is a Sr. Public Relations Specialist at Texas Health Resources and Mom to two daughters.

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