It’s hard to believe that you are thirty-seven months old. On one hand, it seems like you were just born yesterday, while on the other, it seems like you have been part of my life forever. Over this past month, more than any other time in your life, I’ve noticed just how much you have changed in such a short period of time. You truly are much more of a little girl now and much less of a toddler. With that growth, your addiction to clothing has intensified from mildly-obsessed to life-or-death-give-me-my-morphine-clothing-drip obsessed. Since I whole-heartedly believe in allowing you the freedom to express your creativity and believe in choosing my battles wisely, you often run around looking something like this:
(Please note that the summer dress over the pajamas in the middle of winter still does not really explain the behavior portrayed in this picture)
While “Baby Kate” has been your favorite baby for quite some time, your unfaltering love for her has increased exponentially. It is a true testament to the unwritten rule that children will often attach to the homeliest toy that they own, forcing you to oblige and carry that toy into every public place you visit. Baby Kate wasn’t really acceptable in her brand-new, clean, form, which makes her current shabby state even less bearable. The open-close mechanism on her eyes only works part of the time, rendering a slightly psychotic looking unkempt baby. Craig doesn’t take too kindly to the fact that my term of endearment for your baby is “ghetto Baby Kate”. You make a habit out of routinely playing mommy to baby Kate and showering her with love and affection, which warms my heart. You also have a knack for engaging baby Kate in bad behaviors, then sternly reprimanding her. At your recent Doctor’s appointment, Baby Kate was obnoxiously banging her plastic hands on the window. I quietly told you to stop. Suddenly, you started loudly hitting Baby Kate’s hands on the window, while yelling, “Stop Baby Kate, Stop. Mom, I can’t get Baby Kate to stop, she’s going to be in trouble! She isn’t listening.” I am not sure I am ready for Freud’s interpretation of your parenting tactics, or your early identification of a scapegoat.
Lately I’ve been calling you My Little Peanut Butter and Jelly. It is a fact that motherhood makes you say and do strange things, while suddenly seeming like a totally normal way to act. I am not sure if it is a gene that unexplicably morphs into your DNA when you give birth, or the loss of one of the more rational genes that occurs at that time. After a few weeks of calling you by this name, I’d start saying, “My Little Peanut Butter and …” and you would quickly chime in “Jelly!” Suddenly it became a game and you would work incredibly hard at filling in that blank with anything but jelly, becoming Peanut Butter and Ketchup! Peanut Butter and Banana! Peanut Butter and Chicken! Then you would erupt into fits of giggles, uncertain of how anything could be quite so funny. One day last week, we were playing this little game in the car and I said, “My Little Peanut Butter and …” and you yelled, “poop!” You proceeded to laugh so hard you snorted, which I guess is a revelation of just how weird your humor is. For days you paraded around singing “Peanut Butter and POOP! Peanut Butter and POOP!” which is nothing short of spectacular. It is some intuitive measure that kids find the word poop unexplainably funny. When I add that to your recent practice of making your baby puke, all while yelling, “BLAAAAAAAAAA … Baby Kate is puking!” it is a slightly disconcerting combination. It feels more like I am mother to a belching, farting, puking teenage boy than a darling little girl.
This month has introduced another change in you, which was one that I did not anticipate. You have always been a daring child, totally fearless and confident. Recently you have shown some trepidation, concerns in the face of meeting someone new, uncertainty about shadows in your room, and the practice of burrowing yourself firmly into my legs. It is not an abnormal phase for a kid your age, but one that I sort of thought you would breeze right though, or sort of hop right over. It makes me sad to see you scared and anxious, preferring instead to believe that somehow you would be immune to those horrible feelings. However, I can’t help but to breathe a sigh of relief that there is some apprehension there to counteract the absolute fearless with which you approach life. So, instead of darting out into the middle of the road, I have some hope that you will at least attempt to look both ways. Instead of eagerly engaging in play with any stranger, I have some hope that you will at least stop to ascertain their name and the fact that one of your parents at least know who they are. Instead of wildly launching yourself off the couch to try to land on the yoga ball (who thought that was a good idea anyway?), I hope you will assure that one of your parents are present to hold your hand. Perhaps this newfound hesitation is not something to be questioned, but something designed to ensure your third year of life does not include any more ER visits than necessary.
While I have enjoyed every moment, every stage, and every change you have gone through, I think this one is my favorite so far. A wise mother once told me that your favorite age is the one your child currently is and I couldn’t agree more.