“No!” She screams.
Not so much a scream as a piercing shriek.
She is three.
She is fiercely angry.
Her usually blue, smiling eyes
are red, yellow, accusing.
More screams as she struggles,
mouth tight with the effort.
Her teeth gnash.
Her wild, uncombed hair flies around her face
She wears one sock,
a pair of underwear.
I had tried to help her put on her other sock.
As her mother, I should know not to do this.
Trying too hard, she pulls the sock too forcefully,
and it misses her toes.
I ache to step in, to pull the sock over her foot.
She tries again, slower this time, and
gradually, the sock slips onto her foot.
She eyes the jeans
laid across the bed.
She confidently picks them up,
slides her legs down through them,
jumps up to snap, zip,
grabs the shirt.
There are ten buttons on this shirt.
I silently curse my lack of foresight the night before.
She thrashes about violently trying to get the shirt on.
She looks at me, bursts, “Help!”
Buttons. “I wanna do the buttons,” she says.
“Okay,” I tell her.
Shoes. She pulls one on, whining a bit with the exertion.
The other shoe does not cooperate.
Several failed attempts land the shoe across the room.
She stands, limps across the room,
shoe strings flopping from one shoe.
She tries again, pulls on the shoe.
I tie them.
“Let’s go eat breakfast,” I say.
Okay, she smiles.