Twenty-six Months: The Princess of Everything

Dear Miriam,

The title is not to imply that you have discovered princesses, thankfully. More that you are coming into your own power with an enthusiasm that alternately charms and amazes us.

You're getting downright conversational, responding to questions and volunteering information on the phone and in person. If we ask enough questions, we seem to get a picture of your day or your feelings, and we like to think this is cutting out some potential Terrible Two-ness, since you're able to ask for what you want most of the time.

Right now, you mostly ask to watch lion dancers on the computer (thanks, You Tube). We took you to two different Lunar New Year events, and although you were plainly scared of the racket at first, by the end of the first performance you were begging for more, and the second time you cheered them on, laughing uproariously at their antics, especially the flinging of lettuce. Since then, whenever one of us is on the computer, you ask specifically for lion dancers, and you and your dad developed a routine before bed where he puts on the sleeves of your footy pajamas and sleep sack, and you run around waving the loose legs behind you, bowing down and blinking like a lion.

A lion by night, and a monkey by day. When you're done with dinner, you announce Want to jump on Mommy, and you proceed to climb up my body from my lap to my shoulders, where you laugh maniacally from your perch at the top of the world. At My Gym you run around every week to see what new structures are there for you to scale. You still balk at speed, sometimes you have to remind yourself you like the big kid slides, but you have legs of steel, and given the opportunity you climb, climb, climb.

You also have a fabulous sense of ceremony. You insisted on carrying the bag containing Aunt J's gift, and presented it to her with a flourish. And you clearly love the Shabbat blessings, covering your eyes for the blessing over the candles, waiting patiently before sipping your juice, and uncovering the Challah as though it were part of some fabulous magic trick. Sometimes, you sit down at your table and recite borei p’riy ha-gafen to yourself, which charms us to no end.

You're also breaking out of your refusenik toddler eating habits. At a dinner for my birthday, you plucked a clam from a passing bowl and popped it right in your mouth. You didn't eat another one, but you didn't spit it out, and that's been more the norm than not in the last few weeks.

There's so much I want to remember about these days, yet at the end of another busy month, I know I'm leaving out a lot. Know that we consider ourselves very, very lucky to be spending this time with you, and look forward to each morning when you holler Mommy or Daddy from your crib. You're very specific about who you want to come get you, and we waver between excitement and relief nomatter who you choose -- as irresistable as we might find the extra sleep, we also can't wait to see what the new day holds with you.

All my love,

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R: Let's go get our jammies on.
MZ: No, I'm going to sit on the counter for a little bit.

She dropped that line like a 4 year old. Casually, while she was fiddling with a toothbrush cover. She's fully conversational now.

She's even getting comfortable with phone talk. On Sunday, while talking to her Bubbie, she answered questions about how what she was doing (playing with Lego) and how she slept (I slept well). But when she was done, she handed me the phone and walked away. No goodbye, no nothing. And yesterday, when she wanted to talk to Tante J on the way to daycare -- asked and asked and asked -- when I handed her the phone, she said Hello, I miss you then snapped the phone shut and handed it back to me.

So we're working on the phone skills.

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Of Shadows and Genders

This week MZ discovered her shadow. I wasn't there when it happened, but evidently she wondered what that moving thing was and Bubbie explained that it was her shadow. We've had lovely weather this week and every time we're outside and her shadow emerges, she positively squeals There's my shadow! We've taught her to wave at it, and watch it wave back.

This morning on the changing table she began to tell me which of her friends are boys and which are girls: H is a boy, J is a girl, E is a boy, I is a girl. This is the first time I can recall her making this distinction.

Today we finally took that ride on our bikes with the trailer. The weather was perfect for a ride out the Embarcadero, through Fort Mason to Crissy Field. She enjoyed her ride at first, stocked as it was with cereal and toys and Puppy, but was bored and trying to climb out by the time we arrived. The gorgeous weather and small beach made up for her boredom, her smile as she ran in and out of the uncomfortably cold water made my heart burst. This kid loves the water.

During our picnic lunch, she approached two other toddlers and chatted them up. It's fascinating to watch this social aspect of her personality emerge, and to see her engage so completely with her world. I would love to blog more eloquently on all of this, but I'm exhausted and undone by the long absence. So this is a matter-of-fact attempt to keep track of all the changes.

It must be noted that today's ride was shorter and slower than any ride we've taken in years. As R. said, we took cannons to a gun fight with our shock-and-clipless-pedals-equipped mountain bikes. Yet it was as much fun as any we've ever taken together, MZ's enthusiasm was infectious and the feel for the bike came flooding back. We can't wait to do it again.