This morning I woke up to the sound of you playing in your crib. Usually you aren't patient enough to hang out in there entertaining yourself for long so it was nice to have a minute or two to listen to you giggle and play with your stuffed "lambie". When I finally rolled out of bed and opened the door to your room, you popped up and yelled "'Prise!", then stretched your arms out to me. Even though you were in a good mood you just wanted me to hold you and sway with you in the living room for a few minutes before you got down and we started making breakfast.
You are 22 months old and I panicked at the thought that the crib you were standing in is your last tangible link to your babyhood. You have been potty-trained for two months now. Your hair hangs well past your shoulders and I do it in french braids or top knots that you would expect to see on a little girl, not a toddler. Your dad and I were loathe to do it but we took your pacifier away a couple of weeks ago and you now go to sleep holding on to your lambie rather than sucking on a binkie. You play pretend with toy food, especially an ice cream sundae set, just like a big kid. You know all your favorite parts to your favorite stories by heart and "help" us read them by reciting the last word of each phrase. You prefer to walk alongside the stroller rather than ride in it. You can count to 10 and know lots of colors and shapes already. Sometimes you call your daddy "Paul" and me "Amy" and it makes us laugh. You have figured out how to do simple 2 or 3 piece jigsaw puzzles.
This afternoon we were playing with bubbles in the backyard, then we switched to sidewalk chalk, then back to bubbles again. Afterwards you told me in a plaintive little voice, "hung-ee", so we came inside and I sat with you at the kitchen table while you dunked broken graham cracker rectangles into a small bowl of milk. It made me remember back to six months ago when your walk was wobbly and you smelled like graham crackers almost all the time because you ate so many of them. I don't think I ever mentioned that on the blog, but I loved when you always smelled like graham crackers.
It isn't always easy for me though and like most moms, I have to admit that some days are more difficult than others. Like when you pluck pansies from the garden where I am weeding after being told repeatedly that "mommy's flowers" are off-limits. A part of me says that you are just mimicking my behavior and how are you to know that a weed is different from a flower? But another part of me knows that you are well-aware that what you are doing is against the rules because you go right up to the pansies and announces "mommy's flowers! no-no!" before bending down to start plucking them. In your defense, I let you pick all the dandelions you want and you are so proud when you bring over bouquets of dandelion stems shed of their silky seeds for me to "smell" which might add to the confusion. And so it is with equal parts exasperation and love and humor that I resort to time outs in an attempt to help you learn right from wrong and keep our newly-planted pansies in semi-respectable shape. Okay, maybe not equal parts: when the exasperation starts to overwhelm the humor that is when we call it quits with weeding and head inside to find something else to do.
You may be potty-trained and capable of going to sleep without a pacifier. You may be able to help me load and unload the dishwasher or make the beds in the morning by gathering pillows while I straighten sheets. You may have started expressing a preference for headbands and be capable of putting your pajamas away in your pajamas drawer when asked and you may walk around in my high heels and running shoes and flip-flops all you want. But so help me, I am keeping you in your crib for as long as I possibly can so that I can keep thinking of you as my baby-girl. Which you will always be, even when you are a mom yourself someday. No toddler beds for you until we absolutely cannot put it off any longer.