Anthropology of Three

Today Was a Fairytale

2 Comments 29 April 2013

Audrey Hepburn Fairytales

One of our first evenings out with Baby #1 and Baby #2 was a casual dinner with friends at Barry’s Pizza. As the conversation was bubbling and food was being served, I quietly left my slice of Chicago-style cheese pizza on my plate untouched.

I stepped outside to rock our two-month-old baby. I knew it must be 7:30. I swayed with her against my chest as Taylor Swift’s Today Was a Fairytale played on the outdoor speakers above the patio deck. I wondered who would be her first you take me by the hand and you pick me up at 6:00.

Last Thursday, on the way home from Day School pickup, Baby #2 started crying while sitting in her car seat and looking out of the window. The kind of crying from her chest, her soul.

My heart broke for her because I knew what she was going to say. She has been saying the same words every so often and always out of the blue for four months.

I miss Marci. I miss Marci. I want Marci.

On this school night, she needed a fairytale. A prince charming to rescue her. To let her be three and only three. To let her be his and only his.

As they drove away this evening, Baby #2 sat in her car seat in the back of Daddy’s black car, smiling and waving to the rest of us through her open window.

Astros Date

I am gathering up laundry in the master bathroom, about to begin nightly chores. I hear the house alarm chirp—the sound that Baby #3 calls Daddy! I listen for voices, but hear nothing for a moment and then only the faint sound of the front door shutting softly.

I knew she would be sleeping.

I walk through the dimly lit living room to the dark entryway. Baby #2 is in Daddy’s arms with her head resting on his left shoulder. As we hug hello, I peer around his back to see her hands folded under her cheek, making her lips purse in a silent kiss.

“We left in the fifth inning,” he whispers with a smile. He sets down his keys on the dark wood console table and turns into the unlit hallway to carry her to the bedroom she shares with Baby #1.

I slip by ahead of them to turn down the bed. As I reposition the pillows and pull back the lavender sheets, I think of Annie in my favorite childhood movie and her lavender Mary Jane dress shoes.

Daddy Warbucks and his secretary Grace have come home from the movie theater with Annie sound asleep. Grace slips Annie’s new lavender shoes off each heel smoothly and one at a time. She tucks her in still wearing her white ruffled socks and fancy dress.

We had been in too much of a rush this evening to put on Baby #2’s white ruffled socks. She is wearing sporty navy blue Mary Janes with faux laces at the top and a new navy LOVE Houston Astros sleeveless cotton dress.

Daddy lays our sleeping girl down on the fluffed pillows. I slip her shoes off each heel smoothly and one at a time. I gently lift and bend each leg to tuck it under the roll of the sheets; and pull the covers over her dress.

Glancing at the Cat in the Hat clock above the play kitchen across the room, I see it is a few minutes past 9:30. Always asleep by 7:30 from the time she was an infant, Baby #2’s carriage turned back into a pumpkin on the drive home from her date with Daddy.

We turn to tiptoe out of the room and avoid the creaking of the hardwood floors. Baby #2 says quietly, “I don’t got my ‘jah-mas on.”

I turn back and lean down. With my lips touching her forehead, I whisper, “That’s okay, it’s okay to sleep in your dress once in a while.”

“K,” she says, rolling over and and closing her eyes.

Astros Game

Daddy tells me it is a good thing it was a boring game because he didn’t get to see much of it. She was busy noticing little bugs that terrified her, nicely going potty in the Family Restroom two times, posing with whimsical statues in the walkways, switching seats up and down their empty row, asking for ice cream but then seeing the snow cone man and changing her mind, yet still ending up with a three-scoop baseball helmet bowl to share with Daddy.

She didn’t seem to notice the action of the game from their 10th row seats. But on their potty breaks, she stopped along the promenade where she could take in a view of the whole field and use Daddy’s iPhone to take photos.

Back in their seats, she kept asking Daddy why no one was doing anything. Her first and only comment on the game came in the fifth inning as she pointed to a right fielder and said, “Look Daddy, that man taking a break.”

Before they had left our house around 6:00 that evening, she selected her own orange hair bow and white sunglasses with navy seahorses to match the colors of the LOVE Houston Astros dress Daddy brought home for her to wear.

As I was smoothing lotion onto her legs and arms, I flashed forward to other days. Prom day. Wedding day.

We took a photo outside before they left. The car Daddy drove is the neat thing you notice in the background of childhood family photos.

Baseball Date with Daddy


Yesterday, after drawing a sun in purple crayon, she dictated for me to write on her white paper, “These are kisses. Love God.” Taking my pen and adding an X that looked more like a cross, she said, “That is how you make a kiss.”

Later, after dinner time and before bath time, we all spent family time in the front yard. We noticed the caladium bulbs had begun to sprout, just barely poking through the mulch in the front flower beds.

For a few weeks, it has looked like we missed a few spots in our new planting. African iris, pink vincas, mulch, pink and yellow zinnias, purple palace coral bells, mulch, white azaleas, white and purple Mexican heather, mulch, yellow lantana, magenta knockout roses, and our statue of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals.

Saint Francis

The song If I Die Young by The Band Perry is still in my head because, all day, Baby #2 has been singing the misheard lyrics—if I die eyes. We saw the band of siblings perform in concert for the second time this year at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. She says it is her favorite song and requests it each time we get in the mini-van.

I am humming the chorus as I cross the street.

If I die young, bury me in satin

Lay me down on a bed of roses

Sink me in the river, at dawn

Send me away with the words of a love song

Ooh ooh…the ballad of a dove

Go with peace and love


On the opposite sidewalk, I stand and look at this canvas filling in. Daddy—wearing a navy Texans cap, burnt orange Longhorn golf shirt, khaki cargo shorts, and gray flip flops—is watering plants with the hose. He could have been wearing this signature outfit 15 years ago on the day we met in May at The University of Texas at Austin.

The babies are on the other side of the yard having a car wash for their water table that had gathered a layer of dirt and fallen leaves during winter. A glint of sunlight sparkles off the rhinestone at the center of the pink flower headpiece in Baby #3’s hair.

Baby #1 is focused, but suddenly notices Baby #3 has the large blue Dawn dish detergent bottle and is twisting the silver spout. He leaps to her rescue, shouting, “Baba, no!” We all use the nickname Baby #2 gave her sister when she couldn’t pronounce baby yet.

Baby #2 is hopping over to Daddy in her pink Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique T-shirt, which looks more like a tunic over her black leggings. With her hair down today, Daddy told her earlier that she looks like me. She squeals as she washes her hands in the hose.

Providing soothing shade, the crepe myrtles and oak tree have returned to full life with many more green leaves than last year. At that time, we had talked about repainting our pink house, but our neighbor shocked us out of the idea with his strong feelings about painting over brick. I am glad we listened. I think I like the pink behind this scene.

Baby #2’s favorite color has always been purple. After she had Momma, Dadda, bird, cracker, hi, peace, and thang-u, she had pur-pull. It became a full phrase to communicate that’s the one I like.

When I was about her age, my favorite color was purple too. As I grew toward adulthood, it became pink. Yet, I mostly hid behind taupe, gray, and black. Afraid people would think pink was too girly or romantic.

If I am honest, I like pink and I like fairytales best of all.

Astros Field

I am so glad you are here. Don’t miss future articles! Be sure to sign up for our RSS feed. Let’s be friends on Facebook too!




Your Comments

2 Comments so far

  1. Lori says:

    Amazing Isabel! And amazing writing–again.

Share your view

Post a comment



© 2012-2018 Sarah Nalini Joseph. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy | User Agreement