Impossible Cuteness

There are many days when my two-year-old is impossible. I mean, she is two. And she is tiny and feisty and stubborn and smart and really, really good at getting her own way. She can be exhausting.

But then there are days when she is just impossibly cute. So cute that I want to squish her up into a little blond meatball and gobble her up. (Hey, I was raised with an Italian grandma and a Polish grandma in my life. We love our babies through food imagery.) Today was one of those days.

She was mad at me (surprise!), so she sat down on a kitchen chair and said, “Well, I jus’ gonna sit hewe and be fwustwated! Hmph!

Hmph!

Hmph!

And since today is Wednesday, and my friend Julie at These Walls has introduced me to the Moxie Wife’s Five Favorites series, and this little turkey kielbasa really is pretty cute, I will add a few more of my favorite photos. I will call this series the Silly Time Spectacular! 

I was supposed to be the "easy" one.

I was supposed to be the calm one.

We can’t leave out the classic naked spaghetti picture.

I'm naked. I'm eating spaghetti. Life is good.

I’m naked. I’m eating spaghetti. Life is good.

And then there’s the one where she puts together an outfit.

Caption THIS!

Caption THIS!

And the one where she tries to take all of her clothes off but they get stuck around her little heiny.

Meatballs, amiright?!

Meatballs, amiright?!

And now I am signing off. I have some meatballs to make!

fivefavorites

Playing Horsie

Most of my recent posts have had to do with my two-year-old, who has been in an especially uncooperative mood recently. For at least the last week, nearly every suggestion I have made to her has resulted in her giving me the evil eye and screaming “NO! DAT’S GIS-GUSTING!” It’s been old since the first time she said it.

So you can imagine my surprise — and my joy — when, while we were playing horses a few nights ago, she actually agreed  to do something I asked her to do.

The conversation went like this:

Me (in a falsetto): Neeeiiiggh, baby horsie! It’s time to get yer PJ’s on, neigh, neigh!
Her: Neeeiiiggh, mama horsie, OK, neigh, neigh!

And then she lay down on the floor and let me put her pajamas on… including the pants!

It was miraculous. The rest of our interactions that night went beautifully. She neighed and galloped cheerfully up to bed. The next morning, she ate her horsie breakfast without complaint. She didn’t run away — not once! — when I was dressing her in her horsie shirt and her horsie pants and her horsie socks and shoes. She even let me brush her horsie mane of hair. I was overjoyed.

The only downside, of course, is that I have had to assume my horsie persona in all of my interactions with her.  Which means that when we were checking out at the Target yesterday and she started climbing out of the cart, I broke out my falsetto and loudly said, “NEIGH, NEIGH baby horsie! Get back in that cart, NEIGH, NEIGH.”

Oh yes I did. And it was totally worth it.

The Philosophy of Running, Butterflies, and Coporophagia

I’ve spent the last few months training for the Baltimore Running Festival Half-Marathon (that’s 13.1 miles for the non-runners out there), and this past weekend I had my longest run yet – 11 miles. It was an important marker for me; I’ve been getting over an injury and my last few runs left me feeling like the walking dead the moment I crossed the 10-mile mark.

So this weekend’s run was a big one and it required as much mental energy as physical endurance to keep me going. I started off well, reveling in the outrageously beautiful weather and in the fact that I was alone. As in, all by myself. As in, WITH NO CHILDREN. It was kind of awesome.

But by mile 8, I was starting to hurt. I could feel the strain of the run in each and every individual muscle of my legs. My stomach was cramping. My eyelid started to twitch as I repeated to myself – “you can do 3 more miles… what’s 3 miles… nothing, that’s what it is… absolutely NOTHING…. OMIGOD 3 MILES IS FOREVER AND I’M GOING TO DIE.”

I had to dig deep, but I kept going and soon I was on one of my favorite paths, a gently-sloping downhill trail surrounded by woods. The sunlight peeked through the leaves of the trees, creating dapples of light and shadow on the ground around me. I lengthened my stride; my spirits soared.

It was then that I noticed a blue-winged butterfly keeping pace with me just over my shoulder. I watched as it fluttered past me and then landed on the ground a few steps in front of me. As I passed it, I slowed down to get a closer look and I saw that it was sipping the sweet nectar of… dog droppings. Seriously, the butterfly was feasting on a pile of crap.

I had never seen a butterfly do this before and I found myself wondering if I had just been graced by a visit with the Andrew Zimmern of the Lepidoptera world. But then, I kid you not, a small, white moth came by and joined the feast.

My mind was blown. I watched my blue-winged friend flit away to the grass next to the path, maybe for a nice post-meal nap, I don’t know, and then I took a few pictures with my phone to remember him by. Then I popped my earbuds back in, cranked up my ultimate power running song – Bohemian Rhapsody – and soldiered on through the rest of my run.

But when I got home, I had to do some research. And that’s how I learned all about butterflies and coprophagia. Apparently, while butterflies enjoy the nectar of flowers, they are unable to get the nutrients they need, for reproduction especially, from these sources alone. So, they eat poop (as well as rotting carcasses), which provide nitrogen, sodium, and other minerals.

Where am I going with this? I don’t really know. The optimist in me sees an uplifting message in the fact that the butterfly, which has long been a symbol of new life, of the resurrection, of the salvation of mankind, derives its sustenance from excrement and dead things. Albeit prosaic, there is a metaphor in here for the way we use – in fact, rely upon – the crappiness of life to grow.

The pragmatist in me says that, if you happen to be running, and you see a butterfly landing on the concrete in front of you, watch your step. Chances are, you are about to step in some wild creature’s toilet.

Naptime?

Watch your step!

Existentialism for Toddlers

Trying to have a conversation with a two-year-old can be about as productive as having a conversation with a wall, assuming that the wall screams a lot and sometimes throws things at you and is often violently disappointed by life.

This week, my two-year-old has decided that nearly everything the universe has to offer is yucky. It’s not so much that she feels a general sense of yuckiness about the world around her. It’s more that she keeps requesting things from life, and then whatever it is that life hands her in response is a shattering letdown. (And by life, I really mean “her mother”.)

No! Not dis life mommy! Dis life YUCKY!!

No! Not dis life mommy! Dis life YUCKY!!

For example, yesterday we had this conversation:
Two-Year-Old: Mommy, I watch Max and Wooby on TV?
Me: Sure, sweetie, here you go.
TYO: NO! Not DAT Max and Wooby! Dat one YUCKY!

Then we had this conversation:
TYO: Mommy, I need apple pease.
Me: Sure, sweetie, here you go.
TYO: NO! Not DAT apple! Dat apple green! Dat YUCKY!

And then, at the end of the day, there was this one:
TYO: Mommy, hold you?
Me, feeling warm and fuzzy inside: Of course I will hold you!
TYO: NO! Not Mommy hold me! Daddy hold me! Mommy YUCKY!

(That one hurt)

But this morning, we had a breakthrough. She asked for bread for breakfast, and when I gave her toast with peanut butter, she didn’t scream, “NO! Dat YUCKY!”

Instead, she said, “NO! Dat bread gis-GUSTING!”

Oreos, however, are not yucky.

Oreos are not yucky.

See? We’re making progress!

Apples, Revisted

It’s been a while since I have posted. This isn’t because I haven’t been thinking about lots of interesting things to write about — I have been. But all of that has been going on somewhere in the back of my brain.The front of my brain — or whatever part of it that operates the things I actually do as opposed to the things I THINK about doing — has been engaged in conversations like this with my two-year-old:

Me: Do you want an apple?
Two Year Old: NO! I ALL DONE to apples!
Then, 10 minutes later, in car, running late for big sister’s camp drop-off…
TYO: Mama, I NEED apple right now.
Me: Sorry baby, we don’t have any apples.
TYO: Screams, cries, begs for apples so persuasively that I change my plans for the day and go home to get her an apple.
Me: Here is your apple sweetheart. I want to see some BIG bites!
TYO: NOOOO! I NO WANT APPLE! I ALL DONE TO APPLES. Grabs apple and chucks it across the room.

Or this:
Me: TYO, I got your favorite — pumpkin bread. And it has chocolate in it!
TYO: NO! No pun’kin bread. NO CHOCOLATE! I ALL DONE TO CHOCOLATE!

Or this:
Me: On a scale of one to ten, how tired would you say you are, TYO?
TYO: NO! I NO TIRED. Ahhhhhh! ROAR! You go ‘way, mama. I lion. I scary! ROAR! You go away! Followed by approximately 3 minutes of crying, and then:
TYO: Mama! Hold you! I hold you to me right NOW!

Or the conversation we had as I was writing the previous paragraphs:
Me: TYO, do you want some of my cheesy eggs.
TYO: No. I know like cheesy eggs.
Then, as I am putting the last bite of cheesy eggs in my mouth…
TYO: Mama, I need cheesy eggs. PEAAAASE?

All I want is an apple, mama

All I want is an apple, mama


Yeah, it’s been that kind of week.

At The End of the Day

kung-fu-panda (1024x1019)

This guy was TOTALLY real!

Here is how you know you are tired:

Your husband says, “You know, Kung-Fu Panda was based on a real story.”

Then you say, “Really? I didn’t know that.”

Then he says, “Yeah, you never heard the classic underdog story about the fighting Panda with a duck for a father?”

And only then do you realize that he was joking.

De Colores

When my older daughter was about two, I spent lots of time teaching her things. Like colors — I came up with engaging, educational games that were fun for both of us. And they worked — my brilliant little miracle learned her colors. I was pretty amazed by both of us, and I stuck that achievement on the front page of my mental brag book.

Shake a butt

Who needs pants?

Then came my second daughter. As with most younger children, she got a much more faded, jaded, tired version of me. And now that she is two, most of our one-on-one time involves me chasing her around the house with a diaper and a pair of pants while she screams “no mommy! No dipey! No pants! I be naked!” She is lucky if she gets a couple of half-hearted minutes with a depleted set of her big sister’s flash cards.

So you can imagine my delight when, while she was sitting in the ball pit at our mommy and me gymnastics class, she picked up an orange ball and said, “yook, mommy! Orange!”

It was a miracle! Somehow, I had managed to teach her colors without even trying. I was better at this parenting thing than I had thought.

Then she picked up a blue ball and proudly exclaimed, “blueberry!” She not only knew her colors, but she was also associating them with fruit! The kid is a genius. I picked up a red ball and said, “Look! An apple! A red apple!”

“No, mommy,” she said. “No red. No apple. Strawberry.” Then she picked up a yellow ball and said, “And lemon. Dis one lemon.

And then it dawned on me. Orange. Blueberry. Strawberry. Lemon. She wasn’t talking about fruit, and she had only indirectly learned her colors. She was talking about characters from the television show Strawberry Shortcake. The new one, with characters that are much less child-like, and much more Barbie-like than the quaint version we moms grew up with. The one that she watches excessively, with the obsessiveness that only a two-year-old can attain.

I have achieved no miracle of parenting. My child officially watches too much TV. She still doesn’t acknowledge the words “red” or “yellow.” But do you know what she does do? Whenever she sees something purple, she says it is “plum.” She asks for her baby doll’s blueberry dress, and calls all shades of bright pink raspberry. This is what we call vocabulary building.

So next year when she is in preschool and her teachers are holding up that yellow card my child, the poetess of the class, will raise her little hand and declare that it is “lemon.”

And I will be proud.

Hey, it works.

Hey, it works.

Y por eso los grandes amores
De muchos colores me gustan a mí.
     Y por eso los grandes amores
De muchos colores me gustan a mí.

~ De Colores