Softly, just over the hill, the drums in the distance. Here they come, announcing the impending battle.
Brrrrrrum. Brrrrrrum. Brrrrumbumbumbrrrrum. Brrrrrrum. Brrrrumbumbum….
The morning chill follows the sinister beat, pouring over the valley and right through my front door.
For it is 7:30am, and it is time.
Time for work.
Time for daycare.
Time to leave.
But before we do, I must put Li’l Bee in her snowsuit.
I can feel them coming, the soldiers. The little demons who will give their strength to this firey 14-month old commander, who weighs little more than 20lbs.
I hover in the doorway, waiting. Listening. Sensing the drama about to unfold.
Li’l Bee remains calm in the living room, though her eyes trail me from the other side of the fence (baby gate). She sees as, with one swift move, I grab the bright, blood-red suit from the hook.
The time is nigh.
I have to move quickly now – she sees me approach the gate and with a (wobbly) pivot, turns to run. Run for where? Anywhere. Anywhere she can dodge the clutches that will put her out in the cold.
But more specifically, put her in the suit.
I snatch her, the squirming, now screaming child. Back arching, arms flailing, legs stiffening – the battle has begun.
They’re running, the demons, towards their leader. To her defense, to give her the super human power to fight back against her Mama, towering twice her size in height and… a LOT more in weight.
Well… not THAT much more.
I fight, but I also protect – her small head in all it’s fury thrashes forward and back, dangerously close to smashing into the ground as I lay her flat over the suit. Because, there is no other way to do this other than horizontally. There have been battles raged vertically in the past, just as frenzied but far more scratchy. (DAMN those razor-sharp baby nails).
First one foot, then the other, writhing and stamping, and too short to fit all the way down (“she’ll grow into it,” I assured my husband). Once in, I have to wrestle the tiny feet through the bottoms, pulling them out and readying them for the boots. But those come last. The arms now, perhaps the most strenuous part of the fight, must go in. But she tries to roll, and with one screech throws herself sideways, mouth brushing the filthy tiles. “Germ warfare,” I think to myself, “gross. I really gotta clean this floor….”
Holding tight with one arm, I make a last minute decision: no mitts. I was already dealing with one battle, no need to pick another which – since she has figured out that flicking her hands violently causes them to fly off – will undoubtedly end up in a loss for me (not to mention a loss of not-cheap mittens somewhere along the way to daycare).
The arm spasms and bends, but my strength – gentle yet firm – overpowers her for a split second and, IN! The first arm is in! I deftly zip up the one side and, before I have time to think, as she is taking in a mammoth breath to let out her loudest cry between screams at the peak of battle, I slip the other arm in almost effortlessly. Like it never even happened.
She is weakening, the demons slowing. All zips are up, and while incapacitated on her back, unable to flop about thanks to the over-sized garment, I slide the boots gently onto her feet, one at a time, pulling the velcro straps tight to avoid them being kicked off.
It is over, this battle of wills and strength, almost as fast as it began 3 minutes earlier. I exhale. Have I even breathed at all?
I look down at her face: the sniveling babe with porcelain skin, her heavenly blue eyes glistening with the remnants of a lifetime of tears. Upside down, her frown almost resembles a smile.
Pulling her up to standing – her arms sticking straight out to the sides as if calling off her flanking troops – she, my worthy adversary, looks me, the victor, dead in the face, and speaks….
With one word, the white flag flies.
And bundled together in peace, we exit out to the cold and start the day.