It’s been too long since we trimmed Penelope’s nails. Today was the day. The first few toe nails were effortless. Penelope was distracted enough with the light Jenn was using to illuminate her tiny toes I was able to work unhindered. She was on to our tricks though and the wiggling started. Then the removal of the foot I was working on. Before I knew it I was concerned about every clip. I’ve cut my dog’s nails too short and it’s a painful thing. I can’t imagine doing it to Penelope. So we resorted to more distraction.
In China we gave Penelope a Cheerio when we finished clipping a finger. Jenn was holding a handful of the O’s and accepted the first few. Then Penelope tried to pry open her hands to get all of them. All the while there I am trying not to cut too short. I’m erring on the side of caution. I’ll take a longer nail over a short one any day. Grandma had an emery board so I used that to file down the rough and sharp spots. Worked great and was lots of fun.
In conversations I’ve had about Penelope at work one refrain repeats itself. I feel we’ve missed so much. Each day she does something new. She mimics something we say. She recognizes a shape. She throws a tantrum we’ve never seen. Every day. We missed over 730 of those days. There are days my body will be thankful for missing. Like the sleepless nights during infancy. The terror and concern we would have experienced had we been there during her surgeries and, according to the Philip Hayden Foundation’s newsletters, times when Penelope was in dire health. Nevertheless, I miss them. It’s what I imagine fast-forwarding through life to be like. One minute you’re puttering around the house and the next you’re chasing your toddler around, making sure they don’t hurt themselves.
So when people talk about the “Terrible Two’s” or the days when Penelope asks “why” to everything (maybe even to why she asks why!), I’m not sure I’ll be bothered. Because I’ll have the experience. I’ll be able to recount the time we sat at the table and I gave Penelope a manicure and pedicure while mama helped distract her and took pictures and grandma laughed and took even more pictures. It won’t be a sentence or two in Chinese with a brief translation that I will question the veracity of. It will be a memory. An experience. It will be priceless.
These words and pictures will be reminders for us. For you, Penelope they will be a time capsule. You will find the treasure of our earliest experiences together, of how we felt at the moment. We love you, Penelope. Lots of people love you. I talk to them every day. They are amazed at your story. They tell me how beautiful you are. They can’t wait to see you. You inspire them. Though we are eagerly anticipating seeing you grow and blossom, we’re not too eager. And neither should you be.