No offense to Harlow, but if I have to choose someone to take out for Valentine’s Day, it’s going to be Mazzy. This has nothing to do playing favorites, it’s just that at the moment, Mazzy makes for a better time. Probably because she is seven. For everyone who wishes their kids were still babies (I sometimes do), you should know that having older kids is pretty awesome too.
Also, Harlow and Mazzy just have different personalities. While Harlow needs warming up, Mazzy embraces new experiences readily. While Harlow still begs to be carried sometimes, Mazzy prefers to explore on her own. Harlow could care less about restaurant food where as Mazzy has now begun to appreciate that the stuff cooked in professional kitchens tastes much better than the stuff cooked at home. (That’s not true for all homes, but it’s definitely true of mine.)
To put it simply, as Mazzy grows up, she is not just cute to look at and play with, she is becoming genuinely fun to hang out with.
Here are just a few reasons why Mazzy would be my #1 pick for a Valentine’s Day Date:
(Sorry, Mike— you’re out of town, so you’re not an option anyway.)
1) Mazzy laughs at my jokes. And she has the best biggest hearted laugh you have ever heard, like she wants everyone around to know she was witness to something really funny. When she’s done laughing, she will say, “Mom! That was REALLY funny!” to confirm it for you and give you her official stamp of approval.
2) We saw School of Rock on Broadway the other night (just the two of us) and one of my favorite parts was seeing Mazzy’s reaction to the show. Her eyes lit up when the kids started performing and she clapped so hard after each song, it was like she wanted them each to hear her personally. There’s something really lovely about seeing someone applaud with genuine emotion than just “this is the thing you do after a song.”
3) A few weeks ago, I took Mazzy to show called Pip’s Island. We went with two of my friends who brought their seven-year-olds as well. It was an interactive show where the performers led the kids through different rooms and activities as the story was told. It’s the kind of thing that Harlow would have made me carry her through, which is why we all opted to just bring our oldest. Most of the parents in attendance had brought younger kids but my friends and I agreed that seven was actually the best age for the show. Not only were they wowed by the songs and art direction (as were we), but they understood the story, could participate without guidance and would surely remember it for years to come. I used to think it was amazing to take little kids to things that they would believe were real, but I’m learning that it’s even more amazing to take older kids to things that they know aren’t real, but appreciate how it’s special.
4) Mazzy thinks dessert is a standard part of every meal, as do I. None of this — I’m not in the mood for dessert or I’d rather just have ice cream at home bullshit like my husband/her dad. When Mazzy and I go out ourselves, dessert is always ordered. We get our own and we don’t share.
5) One Saturday, I stayed in the city with Mazzy (she had a birthday party) while Mike took Harlow to the house for the day to get some errands done. It snowed and they ended up getting stuck out there, so Mazzy and I spent the night in the city by ourselves. She suggested we order Indian take-out, a long standing tradition that goes back to my childhood. You see, my mother loved Indian food while my dad hated it, so we would only eat it when he wasn’t around. Mike is not a fan of Indian food either so it’s become something that Mazzy and I eat when he’s out of town as well. She loves the Chicken Tikka Bhuna Masala, something I got her to try originally because when you mix it with basmati rice, everything turns pink. We decided we would eat take-out and watch a movie, but for whatever reason, I couldn’t get the TV in the living room to work. “How about we have a picnic in your bedroom and watch the movie there?” Mazzy suggested. Now, eating saucy Indian food in your bedroom sounds like possibly the worst idea ever, but I didn’t want to dismiss it immediately. I decided to put towels on the floor and eat on top of that. Sure, we were one foot away from the television but no matter. We watched Matilda with our necks craned upwards, dipped our nan in Chana Shag, got rice all over the floor and had pretty much one of my favorite nights ever.
6) Mazzy is now a pretty awesome skier, which has made skiing fun for me all over again. She loves to ski tall the little side trails that usually line the outsides of the slopes. There are little tunnels through the trees, random hills and jumps taken for pure thrill, and unmarked detours that you hope will end well. I used to love to take those side trails too but when you become an adult, it feels a little silly. Only now that Mazzy is taking them, it’s become my parental responsibility to follow her; a challenge, I gladly accept.
7) We have this little issue where Harlow is really needy at night. She always requests that I lie down with her until she falls asleep and I usually oblige. Mazzy wants me to lie down with her too (“You always lie with Harlow!”) but since they sleep in the same room, it’s somehow easier for me to tell Harlow I am abandoning them entirely than to get in bed with her sister. Lately, what we have been doing is waiting for Harlow to fall asleep and then if Mazzy is still up, I’ll sneak back in and lie down next to her. Sometimes we talk in bed (we have had some of our best conversations at this time) and sometimes we go back out in the living room and read books together. Mazzy can read now but she can also understand more complex stories, so I find, seven-years-old is a great age to share a book together. We’re currently reading the first Harry Potter and “Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls,” two books that are over Harlow’s head.
8) During one of our late night chats, Mazzy said she wanted to write a book. I suggested that we could write a children’s book together. Mazzy got really into the idea and started to come up with characters. The next night, we came up with a storyline and the night after that, she wanted to start illustrating. “Wait! We need to flesh out the writing!” I told her. Nope. She wanted to begin. She drew our two main characters in the dark, one of which is a giraffe whose head is always off the page unless he bends down. (Her idea and pretty brilliant in my opinion.) The second character is a duck and when she drew it, I thought it looked a little too similar to the pigeon from the Mo Willems books. “No, it doesn’t, Mom!” she said firmly when I inquired. “It looks like the DUCK from the pigeon books!” “Oh, why don’t you create your own character instead of copying someone else’s character?” I asked her. “I didn’t copy it, Mom! I used it for… INSPIRATION! All artists use INSPIRATION!” Well, I couldn’t argue with that.
9) Mazzy is really the most affectionate person I know. She’ll announce she loves you out of nowhere, she’ll cuddle up to your arm at the movies and she’ll surprise you with totally unexpected kisses, whether you want them or not.
10) All of this says nothing about her amazing ability to be the absolute best big sister ever, which is really one of her finest traits. That’s just a post for another time and has nothing to do with my desire to take her on a one-on-one date.
Happy Valentine’s Day, Mazzy!