Lately I've begun describing Maia as water on stone. More specifically, she's like water dripping on stone. Slowly. Inexorably. The dripping is hardly audible. And then you notice it. And then you fixate on it. And then you obsess over it. And then you are completely destroyed by it, and the piece of basalt splits before the power of dripping water.
Maia turns 4 today. Lately Matt and I have been saying "We are in so much trouble" when talking about her. Don't get us wrong, we wouldn't have it any other way. But she has this force of will that, while it will serve her well in later years, reduces the two of us to either helpless silence or suppressed giggles.
I found it easier to take when I realized that she talks to us the way we talk to toddlers. She sets up choices for us that really aren't choices, and traps us with our own words. "Can you draw a body on this person, Mama?" she asks. "No," I reply, typing this very blog. "When?" she says, smiling.
My dad got a big dose of it when he and my mom were here to visit a few weeks ago. Dad was sitting on the couch, and Maia clambered up beside him, dragging half of a Battleship game. (This is an approximation of what happened -- I was chatting with my mom at the time, and was in the next room, but knowing how she works, I think this at least gives a pretty good idea of what it's like.)
"Hi, Grandpa," she said. "Want to play Battleship?"
"No, not right now," he said.
"Do you want to be white or red?"
"Actually, I said I don't want to play right now." And who can blame him? Battleship with someone who knows her letters and numbers, but hasn't quite figured out triangulation, is a real drag.
She opened up the console. "I will put the ships in, and then you tell me where to put the peg."
"Oh, Maia," my dad said. "Why don't we just put the pegs in?"
"OK!" she cried, and I could hear the beam in her voice. Soon enough, they were busily putting pegs in the holes in a "patterin," as Maia calls a repeating design. I think my dad actually had some say in what the patterin would be -- but then, she does know how to give a little to get a lot.
She spent the night at Matt's parents the other night, and in the morning wanted to bring her stuffed cat, Kitty, down to breakfast. My MIL discouraged that, saying that Kitty didn't want to get all sticky.
"HOW! DO! YOU! KNOW! WHAT! MY! KITTY! WANTS!" she cried, stomping. "YOU! DON'T! KNOW! WHAT! MY! KITTY! THINKS!"
Well, OK then. Four years old.