Well, you are still 2, and you are still acting it. You have reached the "No help me! I do it myself!" stage. You want to walk rather than be carried, and most of all, you want to get in the carseat by yourself. Now, this could be a positive development, less of us lugging your 30-pound body and wrenching our backs getting you in the carseat. But mostly, it has become a massive delaying tactic for you. There is no such thing as going anywhere quickly now. Just getting in the car is 5 minutes of rediscovering old toys on the car floor, climbing into the seat, standing in it backwards, looking out the back window, refusing to sit down and, finally, me counting to three and then forcing you into a sitting position, over your vehement protests. Do you have any idea how frustrating this is when I need to get somewhere in a hurry? Sometimes I have to do yogic breathing to hold down the urge to scream.
But I'm not here today to talk about the ways in which you drive me crazy. Right now, I want to remember the joy. This month, I showed you how to rub noses, an eskimo kiss is what I've always called it. Now, you frequently jump onto my lap, stick your smiling face an inch from mine and say, "Nose kiss!" You giggle helplessly every time I do it. You beg me to lie in my "big bed" with you and pretend to go night-night, our faces close enough to feel each other's breath. We read a bedtime book called "Sleepy Cadillac," and sometimes you lie down on the bed or the couch and say, "I'm going in da Cadillac. I'm a float away in da Cadillac." You like to pull up my shirt and lie, skin to skin, on my belly. You sing all the time now, constantly giving us your renditions of "Wheels on the Bus" and "Twinkle Twinkle Little Sar." Whenever you see a bell or a chime, you serenade us with "Jingles bells, Jingles bells, ALLdeway." The other day as I was changing your diaper, you burst forth with an entire song that I had never heard before. "Way up high, in the tree, one little apple smiled at me..." You taught me a song! I can't tell you how proud that makes me.
Many, many times every day you do or say something that is absolutely, undeniably adorable. You run with your arms held out to the sides like wings, yelling "Catch, catch." You call the sink the "washhands." You call out as we leave daycare, "Buh-bye friends." The other night, I put on your pajamas, and you said, "I wanna show Zack my jammies." You carefully descended the stairs and shouted at Zack sitting on the couch, "Jammies!" and then you climbed right back upstairs, your mission accomplished. You have become obsessed with the book "Arthur and the Dog Show," and each time you see the picture of Pal with his leash wrapped around a lamppost, you point at it and shout with pure glee, "Dog wrap on da light!" You demand stories before bedtime now, so I made up one about a dinosaur who comes out from under your crib at night to throw all your animals and take off your clothes. Now, whenever we find you naked in your crib, which happens fairly regularly, you say, "Dinosaur take of my clothes."
A couple weeks ago, we took a hike along a wooded trail. After seeing some other small children dutifully trudging along, holding their parents' hands, we figured we should take you out of the backpack and let you hike. Well, in the next 15 minutes, we covered approximately one one-hundreth of a mile. Trying to get you to go in any one direction is, quite literally, like trying to herd a cat. You wanted to climb onto stumps and pick up sticks. You veered off the trail, clomping through piles of leaves and pushing through branches. You tripped over roots and sprawled onto the ground, and then got up without a whimper and kept exploring. You turned and headed the wrong direction down the trail. We tried walking on, out of sight, hoping you would hurry along to keep up. But you didn't care where we went; you were going your own way. A group of hikers came by and chuckled at you, clomping around like a little woodland animal. I told them, "We see all these other kids hiking nicely, holding their parents' hands." One of the women turned back to me and said, "You wouldn't want a follower."
She's right. I wouldn't. I wouldn't want any kid but you, the feisty little girl I've loved absolutely from the very first second I saw her face.