One day (in the distant future, heaven help me) you’re going to learn how to drive a car. Knowing you, you’re probably going to drive that car very fast and to all sorts of places you shouldn’t. The thought of you behind the steering wheel terrifies me almost as much as peeling the wrapper off a cylindrical container of dinner rolls, waiting for them to POP! Almost. But I’m getting off track. The point is that after you’ve been driving for a while and you’ve driven to the same places (school, work, the grocery store) over and over again, every once in a while you’re going to pull into a parking space or stop at a red light and suddenly realize that you have no recollection of actually driving there. You’ll find yourself thinking, “How did I end up here? Didn’t I just leave my driveway ten seconds ago?”
That’s how these past couple months of parenting have been for me. More than once I’ve found myself looking at you and thinking, “How the heck did we get here? When did you start speaking in whole sentences? When did your hair get long enough to pull up into a single pony tail? When did you start saying Shylee instead of Yeylee?” I can’t put my finger on exactly when these things happened, all I know is that you’re not the baby of last year or even the toddler of a few months ago. You’re a little girl, and I have no idea how it happened so quickly (but don’t get me wrong, I still call you my baby).
You currently love: watching Yo Gabba Gabba, coloring (on paper, yes, but even more so on the walls or any other surface you shouldn’t be coloring on), riding in your stroller when we go for a walk, playing dress-up with your sister, taking baths, riding your tricycles (yes, you have more than one), going to any of your Grandma’s houses, and eating as much candy as you can get your hands on.
Your vocabulary has really taken off in the last month or two and I’m constantly amazed at the things that come out of your mouth. The other day you burped and then exclaimed, very proudly, “Mama! I tooted mouth!” You make demands on a whole new level now, often adding a “RIGHT NOW!” for effect, and you really like to say the word “really” (I really have no idea where you picked that one up).
You still struggle with correct pronunciations, so a lot of your words are kind of funny: you say “ya-pooma” instead of you’re welcome, “babaloo” instead of caterpillar, “fooda” instead of soda, and so on. Since you still get the words you and me confused, you frequently say things like “hold you me” or “come with you me”. Part of the porcelain on our toilet cracked a while ago and when it happened we warned you not to touch it so that you didn’t get cut on the jagged edge. Now, weeks later, every single time you walk into the bathroom, you point at the toilet tank and say very seriously, “That will REALLY cut you me.”
I have to make a confession: I may have underestimated these Terrible Two’s. I knew it would be rough, I knew I’d go a little crazy, but I honestly thought we’d be able to survive the experience intact. Now? Well, now I’m not so sure. Did you know that there have been more books written about how to parent a two-year-old than any other age group? (Trust me, I’ve been looking.) It seems that I’m not the only one who is having a hard time with this phase. One thing we’ve really been working on lately is learning to name your emotions. Rather than the drop-and-shriek reaction you usually have to any perceived injustice against you, we are trying to have you tell us what is wrong. Sometimes I have to scoop you up in my arms, limp and sobbing, and ask you several times before you’ll give me any kind of answer. But once you’re willing to tell me how you’re feeling, we’re able to talk through things and figure out a solution. We’ve been having a lot of conversations along these lines:
“What’s the matter, Morgan?”
“Morgan, are you hurt? Or are you sad.”
“You’re sad? I’m sorry, it’s no fun to be sad. What is making you sad?”
“Dixie make me sad.”
“Oh no, what did Dixie do?”
“Dixie eat cracker!”
Nine times out of ten, you’ve completely stopped crying by the time you tell me what happened. Simply having you put a name to your emotions has been the most monumental step in learning how to navigate these Terrible Two’s so far. And that makes me think that maybe, just maybe, we’ll pull through this okay.
I love you to the moon and back, little one.