The Bear is a toddling, jibbering little thing, as sweet as a peach -- with a few small spots of rotten! She is a planned child who came a little sooner than planned, our happy little being, who is oh so loving and snuggly!
Just last week she officially hit 18 months. She is barreling toward the infamous “terrible two’s” and like many toddlers, she is increasingly defiant. For instance, she will persist in a behavior precisely because I have asked her to stop it. Examples include throwing food on the floor, turning her sippy cup upside down, pulling cabinet doors open as far as safety latches will allow and then banging them shut again and again and again....Oh, how I love my little Bear!
“I kinda don’t want her to stop when we tell her to,” the Husband admitted one evening as our cabinet doors were banging, banging, banging. “I want her to be a little stubborn.”
“I think she is stubborn” I said. “Just a smidge.”
The Bear presides over her kingdom (our living room) with the assistance of her loyal followers: the Giraffe, the Tiger and the Kitty Cat. She tosses aside most dolls, but the stuffed animals are her babies. And she has become quite the little mother! The first time I saw her give the Giraffe a drink of water, I choked on my own tears. How did she learn to do this? Well...I guess that would have to be from watching me! She gives her babies hugs and kisses, brushes their fur, and pushes them around in her tiny toy stroller. Last week, we were playing outside, and I all but stapled her white sun hat to her head. She was so peeved, her soft baby cheeks red with annoyance as she yanked on the chin strap. And yet, a few hours later I found her serene as a saint, lovingly placing the same sun hat on her Giraffe.
By now you might have guessed that the Giraffe is her Number One, followed by the Tiger and then the Kitty Cat. However, I am sensing a shake up in this hierarchy; it seems the Puppy Dog (not to be confused with the Doodles) is advancing into the top three. I’m not sure who he’ll oust, but I promise to keep you posted.
Like any good librarian mama, I have been reading to the Bear since her first week outside the womb. (Sorry to disappoint, but I don’t recall reading to her in utero). Naturally, the Bear loves, loves, loves her books. I wish I could say she gets this from me, but she could very well get it from the Husband. In the last couple months she has been known to take my hand and force a book into it when she wants a story. And she is not shy, she will force books into the hands of virtual strangers. (Such a sly little book worm!)
These days her big thing is talking. Talking, talking, talking! Earlier this summer, she went through a phase where she stayed awake in her crib, chitter-chatting with the Giraffe for at least an hour. But now she is starting to say real words. And she repeats everything like a mischievous little parrot! I have been racking my brain for some toddler-appropriate swear words, so let me know if you’ve got any ideas. Even the seemingly benign “crap” is now followed by her tiny echo: “Cwap! Cwap, cwap, cwap!”
A few weeks ago I tormented myself with the thought of going back to work. I somehow managed to stumble on an opportunity I wasn’t sure I could pass up. For days I agonized over the pros and cons: career advancement and increased financial security versus home, hugs, and time. (I realize this is a super simplified summary of a dilemma many mothers face, but I’m going to breeze by it so I can tell a story about the Bear, who is the subject of this post). One particular morning, I woke up absolutely sick over the seemingly real possibility of going back to work, and when I went in to get the Bear, I found her standing in her crib, tiny fingers curled around the rail, wisps of hair in her eyes. She looked up at me and said one word: “Poop.”
And that was it. She said “poop,” and I knew I would stay home a little longer.
You see, this was the first time I’d ever heard the Bear say “poop.” And oh, how avidly I praised her when I realized there was actual poop in her pants! We were such proud parents that week. Unfortunately, the Bear misconstrued our initial enthusiasm. I think her mind emphasized the word, but de-emphasized (or discarded altogether) the fact that the word communicated the physical presence of doo-doo in her diaper.
And so, now she says “poop” all the time. “Poop, poop, poop.” It is her favorite word. She says it sometimes when there is poop, but more often than not, she says it when there is no poop at all. I warned her that she might become known as “the little girl who cried poop,” but she only cocked her head and spoke it again, like a question, “Poop?”