This month has whizzed past and you’ve been a darling. Today we went to Once Upon a Child and put the finishing touches on your fall and winter wardrobe. The adorable brown corduroy dress I picked out the other day when I bought you all the staples turned out to be too short, coming only halfway down your butt, so we found a pair of pink leggings to match the appliques on the dress. Then we went in search of hat and mittens. You restrained yourself surprisingly well, not pulling EVERYTHING off the shelves. You were so excited, and every time I put a hat on you, you wore it proudly. We finally settled on a fleecy pink set of hat and mittens. The hat has a pom-pom on top and two pom-poms hanging from strings down by your chin, so it covers your ears nicely and looks super-cute. You wore it home and then wore it to play for awhile, so proud, shouting out that it has “three balls!”
After we got home and you’d played outside awhile, Gramma arrived. She’s here for a week and tomorrow while Mommy & Daddy are both gone all day you and Jacob and Gramma get to have your own adventure day. You’ve been so excited to see her, and I love how you still call her and Grampa A-ma and A-mpa. After we ate lunch together A-ma snuggled into your bunk bed with you and you had a lovely snooze together, just how it was this summer when you lived with her in Florida.
When you woke up – from a very long nap, overtired as you were – you were grouchy. You get in these moods often, and they are always signaled by a storm-cloud face and this quiet huffing and puffing and a complete unwillingness to DO anything. They’re so random and spontaneous. Capricious, in fact. (Princess as you are.)
Often all it takes for me to change your opinion or get you out of these moods is to give you a script. Isn’t this the truth!? Sometimes what we need is to put our bodies (our voices) there and our hearts follow. This happened at nap time when you were being weird about Gramma napping with you. When of the things you say to me whenever it’s nap time is “EEEEP wif me, Mommy!” So I suggested that you say “Sleep with me, Gramma!” and instantly it was like it’d been your own idea. It works pretty well, too, when you are trying to be a stink to Jacob. If you’ve snitched something he was playing with and are hanging onto it for dear life often I can get you to completely change your mind by suggesting that you say “Here you go, Jacob!”
Speaking of Jacob, one of Daddy’s and my favorite things is the way you and Jacob give hugs to each other. I never tire of watching that. You meet for a full bear hug, arms wrapping around each other. It’s a treat for you both and even if one of you has been cranky, the decision to give a hug is a complete, instant cure and there you are, head over heels for each other again.
I’ve also been loving how sometimes you choose me over other stuff. Sometimes if I am working I suggest something else for you to go do. Maybe I offer that you could go play outside where Jacob is, and with a perfectly sweet, unthreatened mind of your own you counter, “No, hang out with you Mommy.”
You do love to say “No,” and often it’s just to be silly and contrary. Lately it’s a common response to a request for a kiss. “No,” you reply, grinning ever so slightly. And if it’s Jacob we’re suggesting that you kiss the “No” is accompanied by a quick clasping of the hands over the mouth. This is clearly not because you don’t want to kiss him, it’s because you think it is hilarious to be hard-to-get.
One of your favorite pastimes is drawing on your easel, and you’re pretty dependable about not getting chalk or marker anywhere else, with the frequent exception of your cheeks, which are often sporting little streaks of war-paint. It feels good to trust you with that responsibility. You color all up the wooden sides of the easel, though, but I don’t mind so much, because to you it is your art space. To me it is a chance to remember what it is ever-easier to forget: I don’t want to stifle your creativity, and I don’t want to force you to think inside the box on things that don’t matter. Why should you know that the sides aren’t “supposed to be” colored on? Also, it’s adorable when you decide the artwork has gotten messy and cluttered enough and it’s time for a fresh perspective. You take off up the stairs and if I ask you where you’re going you yell over your shoulder “Geeeet a towel!” And that’s just what you do.
The big problem we’ve been having lately is your mean streak. You have two targets: Jacob, and all small people. To you small people means anyone under two years old. With Jacob you stick to grabbing and smacking. With littler kids pushing seems to be your first choice, though grabbing and smacking are good options too. I’m pretty sure this is a pure case of demonstrating your place in the world. You’ve got the power, and it’s not that you don’t like other people, it’s just that, well… Just that.
The best thing lately is the darling things you say, many of them adopted from things Jacob says, like “Can I do da back!” (Translation: “Can I do the black?”) This is a request for a chance to try your own hand at buckling the black chest strap on your car seat harness, a skill you have completely mastered. (You’ve also nearly mastered dressing and undressing, which is blowing my mind.)
Your little figures of speech come and go quickly, though. Already my favorite is disappearing. You still say it all the time: “Can I do dat?” But for awhile it had this particular lilt to it. “Do” was “Doooooooo” and “dat” was about an octave higher than the rest, a little squeak betraying your eagerness and excitement. The squeak is disappearing the last few days, and I miss it.
You also love to say “I did it!” about everything, but even cuter is the fact that you have completely replaced “Yes” in your vocabulary with “I did!” This makes perfect sense when I ask “Did you finish your breakfast?” or “Did you get a story?” but when I say “Do you want to help Mommy?” then it just makes me laugh. “I DEEEED!!!!”
Perhaps cutest of all is the phrase “Open Sesame!” taught to you by the unbeatable Patrick. Jacob says it all the time as part of any sort of gate-opening game, and you say it too, not always appropriately, sometimes just because you think it’s hilarious. We do, too, because you say “Sesame” as two words with a full glottal stop at the start of the second: “Sess Oh-Me!”
You often say this as you’re going down the slide at the park, since you and Jacob like to request our presence by the side to be a “gate,” holding our arms across the slide until you are ready to whizz past with the secret password. The other day at the park Daddy & I cracked up at the sight of your hair, caught in the light of the late afternoon, fully charged by the static of the slide, standing on end every which way.
Maybe the best moment this month was your very first slumber party. We stayed the night with Tabitha & Nicole one Friday and you went strong till we all crashed at 11:00 p.m. Patrick stayed till then, too, and he was your knight in shining armor. We watched a musical (you had a frenzy of dance moves for each song) and we painted our nails and you colored with Patrick & Nicole and we ate ice cream. You sat on Patrick’s lap while he spooned it into your mouth. You were in heaven. It was a cute night but then when we went to sleep, sharing an air mattress, it took you almost an hour to wind yourself down, and you flopped all over me every sixty seconds looking for the perfect nesting spot. I didn’t sleep much that night.
I love you anyway.