We were at the park the other day (FINALLY out of quarantine!) Isabel loves the swing, which means it is usually the first place she runs to. As for me, the swing poses a dichotomy: easy, simple, just stand there and push; easy, simple, Isabel spends no energy and zones out. Knowing that the whole point of bringing her to the park is to wear her tireless soul out, I usually try to persuade her to run, jump, climb or do anything else. Well, not this day. We sat on the swings.
Next to us was an older girl, about 9 I’d say, who also happened to be swinging. She begged her mom to do an “under the something” with her (I am sure at one point in my life I would know exactly what she said and what it meant, but my adult mind has blocked that one out) and after much pleading the mom gave in. Then she went “wooohooo!” Isabel did not miss a beat. “Can you push me, Mom?” I push her. “Wooohooooo!” she yells. The girl then sets her tummy on the swing and starts to spin. Isabel sets her tummy on the swing and starts to spin. “Mom, this is making me so dizzy!” says the 9-year-old. “Mom, this is making me so dizzy!” says Isabel. To myself I am saying, “please don’t copy-cat her,” and I think of my experiences as a child, making fun of the girl who copied everyone and literally spoke other people’s words word-for-word. It drove me nuts then.
“Mom, look at what I’m doing,” says 9-year-old girl. “Mom, look at what I’m doing,” repeats Isabel. The 9-year-old girl looks at Isabel and catches on. (Oh GREAT!) 9-year-old smiles. “Isn’t this funny?” she stares at Isabel. “Isn’t this…” “Isabel!” That’s me interjecting. “Let’s go climb that ladder!” And I practically drag her away, shaking my head in my mind. Oh, the torment! I could see the 9-year-old getting a kick out of it and manipulating the situation to her benefit.
The next day I went for another swim (Day 6: 2,700 meters!) while the kiddos parked it with my Mom next door. They came into the locker room afterward and Isabel did her usual of standing in the shower room doorway watching me clean up. She looks around and says to me, “Mom, are you going to take your bathing suit off?!” “Yes, honey, I will.” It takes me a while to see where she is going with this. She looks around some more, this time over to where the ladies are getting dressed. “Mom, are you going to put a towel on?!” “Yes, I will do that, too.” In comes a lady brushing her teeth. “Mom, are you going to brush YOUR teeth?!” Okay, I totally catch on by now and kind of chuckle, “Yes, Isabel, I usually brush my teeth but I left it at home this time.”
And I could see the first slip of childhood innocence right before my eyes, my spunky little lamb learning how to join the herd (of sheeple.) I realize this is just another step in her development but I would lie if I said there was no twinge of sadness. Only 2 1/2 years old and she already cares about what other people are doing?? Parenthood hits you at unsuspecting moments like this. Suddenly you are drawn away from the world of physical damage worries (don’t choke on this, keep your fingers out of that!) to emotional damage worries (bullies and our responses, how to lead rather than follow…) Physical damage prevention does not really take much in retrospect; emotional damage prevention, however… well, that will take some wise and real adult parenting. Ready… Steady… GO!
On the other hand, she has been quite assertive and has a little independent streak of her own. These days she loves to do things “by myself!” That includes taking her clothes off and putting them on, buckling herself up in her car seat and even going to the potty. A funny story comes to mind, which I cannot resist sharing. The other night while we eat dinner Isabel predictably finished before us, said “thank you for the dinner, may I be excused, thank you,” and left the table. As witnesses to the value of routine we know exactly what will come next. She runs to the table dancing and screaming “I’m naked!” Bath time comes after dinner and I am coming to believe that she loves the prep to bath time more than bath time itself. Well, Hubby and I had not finished yet (as usual) and she let us know that she had to go “poo-poo” and that she would do it on her own. About ten minutes later she comes back and continues to do her prancing about the table. In the middle of my conversation with the Big Man, I say “please remind me to check her bottom before she goes into the bath – remember she said she went poo-poo.” And just as I say this to him Isabel climbs onto her Daddy’s leg and slides down.
You know what’s coming next, don’t you? Daddy says, “yeah, she pooped.” Hysterical. We are still working on PROPER wiping. That is all I can say.
Which reminds me of another story that really makes up for any struggles or frustrations with child-rearing. Maybe about a month ago Isabel said she had to go pee-pee. Now, as she has this tendency to “want some privacy” I usually just sit at my computer and let my brain unfold, giving her time to read her book and me to just do nothing. I peer over at her and ask if everything is okay and she says, “yes.” I remind her to pull up her panties and then her pants. She says, “okay,” and then I don’t give a second thought to the entire event. About ten minutes later (she is running around the house) I get up and go to wash my hands and by default flush the toilet, noticing out of the corner of my eye that there was quite a bit of toilet paper in there. Another 5 minutes later I am doing something and see Isabel sitting on the floor in the hallway with no panties on, just her shirt. I ask “where are your panties, Isabel?” “They are right here,” and she points sort of to the area where they should be. “No, Isabel they are not there, where are they?” I look all over the house, cannot find them and then think back to the huge pile of toilet paper. “Uh-oh… Craig, I think I just flushed her panties down the toilet.” Bummer. I can foresee the future clogs and water spilling over onto our floors. Yuck and Oh man!
So, I give Isabel a little lecture on not putting our panties into the toilet, that it is bad. She looks a bit somber. Fast forward about an hour. I am sitting in the living room with Thomas and Daddy is getting Isabel ready for her bath. “Go show Mommy” I hear him say from the other room, while laughing. She comes running into the room to me with a huge grin on her face. Her panties are around her tummy. She managed to squeeze her body into one hole and pulled them ALL the way up. She says, “I TOLD you Mom!” laughing. Ah, yes, I laughed too. And it reminded me at the same time that she tends to tell the truth, so I should believe her first next time! Silly girl.
Isabel every now and then will call me “Miss.”
She loves having boo-boos to put her fun band aids on.
She still loves Thomas’ ears and is oh so dear to him. I am so lucky.
Thomas is really close to sitting. Poor guy, after two weeks of coughing got a secondary infection, or two, or three: double ear infection and a sinus infection. He’s on antibiotics now. The bright side, now that there is one, is that these can hopefully be cured soon. He is 5 months now!
And she can’t get enough of his ears, grabbing them as I write…