Zoe called for me at 4:30 in the morning. She had wet through her diaper, and was happy to talk about it. As I was changing her she said, I’m very wet. Then, What a wet Zoe! And finally, as I was stripping the bed, What a wet little girl!
I don’t know quite how to characterize the change in Zoe this past month. She’s been verbal for a while now, so the complete sentences, including (some) pronouns and articles are not new. What feels new is the way she interacts. Instead of labeling things or asking for explanations of things she sees, she is talking about them. We can have conversations about things she remembers, or people who aren’t present. It’s a subtle difference, but a real one. Suddenly we converse – things she says lead to responses on my part, which lead to new responses on hers.
She talks now about wants, rather than needs. “Maybe go to playground?” “I want a slide!” “We go to Tennessee – maybe Katie come?” “Mommy, don’t go!”
I can ask her open-ended questions and get responses – what are you eating at Nana’s, rather than Are you eating carrots? What did you dream about, rather than Did you dream about a robot?
She is imaginative. We go for walks and she is a giraffe, a bunny rabbit, Big Bird. She “paints” the wall by licking her hand and moistening it – a perfectly logical combination of what Daddy does and what the cat does, with the same apparent result – a shiny wet wall. If I sit down on the floor she brings a blanket (or napkins, or scarves) to cover me, brings Tigger to keep me company, and puts me to “bed”, stepping quietly out of the room and closing the door behind her.
Her new thing is birthdays. Over and over, every day, she will bring me a toy or more often a refrigerator magnet, wrapped in a dishtowel, and sing Happy Birthday to me, all the way through, and stand by excitedly, bouncing up and down, while I open the present and exclaim over its wonderfulness.
This is not a trait I recognize. Honestly, Steve and I stink at gift giving. I still make fun of him for the year he insisted that my birthday present was the Murphy bed we installed in the condo. Which I researched, contracted for, and paid for out of my personal checking account. Even now, I tend to find myself panicking on the day before a holiday and getting the first thing I see and dreading the moment it is opened, thanked, and politely set aside. Also, I never have any wrapping paper and usually use photocopies of orchestra music which looks all artsy but really just means I didn’t have wrapping paper.
Little girl, however, is all about the gifting. Her dishtowel wrapping is just about as neat as my version (and she’s TWO) and she truly seems to love the whole process. The more magnetic numbers she can get into the package the prouder she is. And I have to glow about every one.
My Goodness, you shouldn’t have! A Seven! A Two! AND a Four! THANK YOU, Zoe!
She is so much more a person than I ever dreamed a two-year-old could be. She is so much more different from me than I expected. She is so utterly marvelous that I can’t get enough.
Happy 27-month Birthday, Sweet Girl!