1. Daffodils from February!
2. This morning, snowflakes were falling, an all-too-infrequent occurrence here this winter. We watched out the window before sitting down on the couch to read books. Then, being the sometimes silly girl she is, she leaned off my lap to feign tumbling off. “I’m falling like a snowflake!” she said. Figurative language from such a small figure.
3. While Daddy played with her before dinner, she replayed a line from a favorite episode of World World (never mind that we haven’t watched it in months). “Snug as a bug in a what?”
“Snug as a bug in a rug. That’s what people say,” said Daddy.
“People like us? We are people. We are not other people. We are just us.”
4. Again, and out of the blue, as she lay in her toddler bed, about to go to sleep:
“Why did Boo Boo die?”
“Sometimes people and animals get old or sick or both, and they die.”
“What does it mean?”
“What does what mean?”
“What does it mean?” (This followed on the heels of earlier questions, like “What does it mean to beg?” and “What does it mean to be upset?”, so I had a good idea of where this was going.)
“What does it mean to die?”
It’s surprisingly difficult to manage a proper answer on the spot. “When you die, you can’t breathe or move or talk. Your heart stops beating.”
After exploring some of this herself – we are alive, our cats Pepper and Maria are alive, our hearts are beating – she followed up with, “I hope Boo Boo gets better.”
Death, according to my toddler, does not get the final word. Either that, or my explanations of death could use some work. You decide.
Last night, we were reading Maud Hart Lovelace’s Betsy-Tacy (charming and totally worth a read!), and Tacy’s little sister Bee dies. She shut the book then, and we called it a night. To be fair, it might also be because I got teary, and she doesn’t like to see that, but how could I not? Reading to my small child, and a small child dies? *sigh* So much for emotional control.
This morning, she asked, “Why did Boo Boo die?” (The Boo Boo interest was renewed when a stray cat recently wandered through the backyard, and she said, “Maybe it’s Boo Boo!” We had to remind her that Boo Boo died, and the stray cat did not appear to be her reincarnation.)
“Sometimes, people and animals get sick, and they die,” I told her. I feel like this is slippery territory for a not-quite-three year old: she recently had a cold and has another small one. I don’t want her to think she’s about to die every time she gets a sniffle. “But usually, people are old before they die. Children don’t usually die.”
“I won’t die,” she told me, with all the certainty of a two-year-old.
“Everyone dies sometime.”
“I’ll die and you’ll die and Daddy will die,” she then acknowledged, just as breezily.
Somehow, I don’t know which set of statements was worse. We should go eat breakfast now; too much truth on an empty stomach can make you sick.
Late afternoon on a no-nap day. Night time sleep: much better – only the one waking to potty, then sleeping until morning. Afternoons: hard. Very hard.
She borrowed – make that commandeered – her daddy’s iPad and had the companionship of her Pepper cat. What more could a girl want on an afternoon like that?
My daughter, my husband, and waking up in the morning with both of them. Baby Baby growing inside me. Watching ML put on records and either listen and read along, if it’s something like Dumbo, or sing and dance along, if it’s Yankee Doodle or I’m a Little Teapot. Reading to her at various times of the day – small books with simple stories, nursery rhymes she knows better than I do, big books like Moomin, during which she’s beginning to ask so many questions that the story is sometimes buried beneath the mountain of where’s and who’s. Watching her look at a book by herself – the intensity of her looking, as if the words and pictures could tell the stories to her without an intermediary. How friendly she is to people and animals alike. My family, my dear and wonderful family. My friends spread across the globe. Moms’ group, which helps to save my sanity. Reading. Listening to her retell stories or sing or make up songs. Watching her dance when there is music, no matter where we are. The time after ML has gone to sleep, when I’m overwhelmed by the sweetness of my sleeping child and when Matthew and I can have a linear conversation or just flop on the couch.
Mommy and Daddy, Maria and Pepper. Nene and Poppa, ZeeZee and Pop. Aunties and uncles. Fruit snacks and cheeseburgers. Playing in the water, including the ocean, the pool, the tub, the shower, or puddles, big and small. My record player. Reading books. Being read to. Being held. Animals. Watching WordWorld or Pinky Dinky Doo or another show. Playing with Daddy’s iPad. Sweeping. Playing with Play Doh. Moms’ group, which is when I get to see my friends. My friends. Playing outside. Itsy Bitsy Yoga. WND. Dancing. When Daddy comes home from work and hugs me. Having Mommy and Daddy in bed with me in case I get sad or just need a snuggle or a song at night.
And still, and still, Mama’s mole.
As we headed to the car, she informed me that we had to walk. Oh.
After going in and getting the stroller (and proper coats and snacks for the ride), we headed off for the Hospitality Shop, our local thrift store and one of her favorite destinations. She walked the whole way there, all three or so blocks of it.
The woman in the children’s section knows my daughter by name, and we know her, too. After she greeted us, my daughter asked, “Do you have a Waldo book?” She wanted another; as she says, she only has the yellow one (and she studies those pictures as if the secrets of the world might be explained to her, if only she can see enough details!).
When that didn’t pan out, she looked at other books then moved on to the bins of toys big and small. The most interesting of the lot, the ten cent winner of the day, was a small plastic dog with wheels and a leash. She pulled it around the shop, and once we got home, she took it for a walk to the living room while holding Daddy’s hand.
She undoubtedly loves the cats, but her love for dogs makes me wonder how long we’ll remain a dog-free house. Then again, when kids love robots and dinosaurs, no one ever wonders how long it will be before the real thing shows up at the house….maybe we don’t have anything to worry about, after all.
“Hi, Pup!” I said to our cat, Pepper, through the screen of the front storm door as my daughter and I played outside. The cat looked longingly out.
“She’s not Pup, she’s Peppuh!” my daughter corrected me.
Oh. When did her companion for all but four months of her life go from “Pup” to her given name, “Pepper”? And why was I not informed? Pretty soon, she’ll be saying, “Don’t call me ‘Love’ or “Angel’!” I’ll have to prepare myself for that day…
This picture is from two years ago today! At six months, she and Pup were boon companions. Two years later, Pepper is her friend.
Toddler language has to be about the process of discovery. When my daughter states that her cat has ears and can walk (as I posted moments ago), I have to think she’s doing so for many reasons. She is modeling her monologues on previous conversations. By starting a monologue, she’s leading up to dialogue. She’s cataloging what she sees in the world around her and sharing her knowledge.
A recent revelation that she shared with me: “I your daughter, and you my mommy!” Somehow, it was a revelation to me, too, hearing it come from her mouth. I AM her mother; I’ve become a new thing, on top of all of the other things that I am and have been. She IS my daughter – and she even got the pronouns right! I reveled in her revelation. My two-year-old is getting so many things sorted out so early, and I am so proud.
And then, a few days later, in her most endearing voice, she said to Pepper: “I your daughter, and you my Pup!”
Well, I’m still proud…but I’m wondering if these titles like “daughter” and “mother” might mean a little less than I’d first thought. Maybe I need to reconsider the ways in which I catalog the world myself.
She sat up after her nap on Wednesday, shortened by my gentle waking (so we could go look at a house, a result of our partial desire to have a real home, one that’s ours to live in and do with as we please – weighted in equal measure with our partial desire to rent and save all the money and time that would go into a house).
She sat up, gently startled by the gentle awakening. Our cat Pepper – Pepper, who is her cat and whom she mostly calls “Pup” – rested against her legs as she slept and remained, even now that she was awake.
My daughter looked at her cat and said, “You have ears.”
“Yes, honey, Pepper has ears.”
“And she can walk.” Here, she mimicked the motion of walking with her hands, in case there was any uncertainty.
“Yes, Pepper can walk.”
“You my ONnnnly Pup. I love you SOOOOOO much, and you love me.”
And all of that is absolutely true. What else should there be between a girl and her cat except a lot of love?