I had to pick up my W2, so I stuck Anna in the carrier and walked down 7th Ave to school. She rests her head on my chest and looks up. I imagine what she sees over my shoulder: a rough triangle of sky intermittently laced with branches. The irregular edges of roofs. Windows, the things in windows. The flock of swallows (are they swallows?) that swoop and bank and turn as one, black and then white as they circle around. She probably sees chimneys. She probably sees the way light catches on smooth surfaces. And she probably doesn't know that's light reflected, it probably looks like an object in itself, a spangle on the pizza place door, a bright slice on the blue hump of the mailbox. She looks to me astounded.
We picked up the W2, and then we visited some kids I know. "These are called kids," I whispered in Anna's ear as they touched her feet and squealed. "You are one of them." She looked serious. The kids with their bright lively faces, looking inches taller than when I saw them last in November, wanted to say things to me about their own babyhoods. The stories they tell about themselves sound different to me now that I am a mama. They grow tall with pride as they announce simple things: "My hair was red when I was born. Red!" or "when I was a baby I was so fat." Or, with a mystified look, "we have a new baby at my house too!"
My girl will get big and carry a little backpack and have opinions and go to school and tell her teacher stories about when she was little, when she was a baby, how she loved to look at the radiator most of all.