My granddaughter’s birthday is tomorrow, she will be five. How this is possible, so quickly, I do not know. I remember when my kids were babies, while I enjoyed them at least half of the time, the other half of the time I thought, A. “How long until nap time?” B. “When is it socially acceptable to put this kid to bed?” C. “Will I get to sleep in until 5 am tomorrow, or will we play the, it’s-still-dark-go-back-to-sleep game for an hour?” And D. “When will they ever go to school?!?” Some wise person once said of the 0-5 years, “the days are long but the years are short.” As a mom of adult children, I swear that this is true.
But I digress, this isn’t about me and my love of “free time,” of which there is none, with little ones in the house. Rather, it is about our girl, Bean, She was named for her string bean-like appearance on her mother’s first ultrasound picture. She quickly became “baby Bean,” and has carried the moniker quite successfully ever since, except for that short-lived assertion of independence when she demanded that we all refer to her as “Chloe Madison,” instead of her God-given, or at least Mama and Noni given handle, Bean. She has had a successful career as Dr. Bean, and has treated stuffed animals, her babies, and most enjoyably, Noni and Papa. This has become, by far, our favorite game. This is how it goes. Someone (Papa or me), lies prostrate on the couch, a position that is rare in and of itself with a pre-schooler in the house, and even less frequently encouraged by said pre-schooler. At this point, Dr. Bean comes to my bedside to assess me, removes my real stethoscope from around her neck, and laying it on my stomach, demands that I breathe. She then moves to the appropriate field for auscultation, and pronounces my lungs “good.” She looks in my ears, and in my mouth and declares that she will write a “scription to take to the medication store.” Now, this part is crucial if we are feeling extra lazy that day. She will either march back to her desk, bang on an old keyboard, answer a defunct cellphone with a curt, but believable, ” yes! This IS Dr. Bean, ” scribble on a post-it note and then demand that the infirmed fetch it and be on their way. OR, she might do a more thorough assessment if vague symptoms present themselves. “my pinky toe hurts,” I might complain, or “my elbow is itchy.” This will buy the indolent grandparent a few more minutes with her feet up, but eventually, as all medical professionals do when faced with an obvious milker of the system, she will sigh, and in her most professional voice, assert that I am fine. “Now, go home and let the next patient lie down.”
We have called her Dr. Bean since the age of two, when she received her first kit, thus she has already spent half her life caring for others and it seems that the good doctor is starting to show signs of caregiver fatigue. She has wondered on occasion, if this a profession that she will stick with for her whole life and upon meeting an emergency room physician while visiting her mother at work, and after having exchanged professional pleasantries, Dr. Bean announced that perhaps she might choose another career path. “It’s either that, or I might become a dolphin, I’m not sure which one will work out,” she said seriously. He was kind enough to nod solemnly, as if he too, while in the throes of med school had nearly tossed it all out and dove in the ocean, never to be seen or heard from again. The last time she saw him, while visiting her mother at work again, he nodded respectfully, one healthcare professional to another, and said, “Hello, Dr. Bean.” “I don’t think I’m going to be a doctor anymore, it’s not working out,” she announced. “Ahhh, dolphin then?” Bean nodded, but her mother and I know the truth; Bean clings to us like a baby monkey to his mother even in a shallow pool. Swimming unaided in an ocean for a lifetime, is an unlikely scenario, at least for her.
You have to hand it to the girl though, she has dreams. Dolphin fantasy aside, she is now entertaining thoughts of a career in the dancing industry. Her plan is to be on Dancing With the Stars, as one of the professionals of course, not one of the stars. To that end, she has just entered her third year of dance. This career choice, although not likely either, is still looking much more promising than the dolphin avenue.
She will do something interesting though, mark my words. She is plucky, spunky and as colorful as the season she was born in. She can be a challenge but she is always a pleasure. A lover of people, conversation, and babies, she never sits still and she rarely stops talking. She is the type of child who hugs you when you surprise her with a piece of gum. She is as sweet as she is sassy, She knows what is right and tells those who don’t know, how to do things. She is smart, and a natural leader. Future dolphin? maybe not, but this girl is destined to be great, and I’m not just saying that because I’m her Noni! Happy Birthday, Bean