Twenty-seven months: I Make Stuff Up

Dear Miriam,

You are now officially conversational, except that much of what you say is only tangentially related to the truth. We ask you questions, and you respond with answers. It's up to us to figure out if the answer is a) correct and in context; b) correct but something that happened two weeks ago; or c) completely made up, although a correct English sentence.

I suspect that this is because you've caught on to the interplay of conversation, but don't yet have a firm sense of chronology or context, thus you have no reference point for a "correct" answer. However, I'm still slayed when you tell us you went swimming with Mana and Papa when we ask how you liked daycare. Or when you tell us you had a yot of shrimp for dinner when we watched you eat nothing at all.

However, you are trying things again, which is great. After last month's clam shocker, you've been pretty willing to try one bite of most anything, resulting in the discovery that you love grilled meat, siu mai and mosakhan, but are not so much on Ikea meatballs. Also, anything you don't want to eat is a punion. Punions include parsley on noodles, mashed potatoes on grilled meat, and the zucchini in your favorite tamales. Punion is an excellent word.

Unfortunately, your profligate use of words has not prevented our least favorite verbal (or nonverbal) development to date: loud, highpitched shrieking whenever you are bored. You started on the flight out to Florida, and I looked at your Auntie D with real fear in my eyes. Her look told me that she didn't the hell know what to do, either, and I'd better get a grip since you are in fact my daughter. It took us a day and a half to figure out that you do this when you're bored or want attention, and although it is superhumanly difficult to grab your attention when you are screaming the scream of the undead in our faces, this has helped the redirection a lot.

The trip to Florida was delightful, other than the screaming. You were so sweet with your Grandma Little, clearly concerned at her lack of mobility, intrigued by her wheelchair and oxygen tube, and irresistably gracious about the enormous baby doll she gifted you. You cuddled the doll that is almost half your size, and whenever we visited, you told her where the doll was and how you'd bring Baby to see her next time -- without prompting. Nice sense of occasion, kiddo.

You're still singing your way through our days, and we're kicking ourselves that we haven't made a video of you singing The Smile Song. Your Dad asks you to sing it all the time, and sometimes you dignify us with a recital. I want never to forget the way you wag your finger on the "I bet you'd never guess it," or the amazing smile you don for the big finish.

I already posted about Passover, but Easter was memorable this year, too. After my pan-religious-experience epiphany, I welcomed Easter this year as another fun holiday to visit. Your favorite potty reading for the last six weeks has been the Williams-Sonoma Easter catalog -- the one with all the candy. You ask me to read about the rabbits (which never fails to remind me of Of Mice and Men, for which I am truly sorry), and we gaze upon the chocolate bunnies, bunny cookies, candy chicks and decorated baskets. At some point I told you that Mana and Papa would buy you a chocolate bunny and that became a key archetype of our Easter ponderings.

On Easter morning, we went to a small Easter egg hunt in our local park, where you and your playmates looked quizzically at us as we pointed out eggs on the ground, eventually catching on that you should pick them up and find more. In retrospect, this had to be incredibly confusing, since we usually spend a lot of time trying to keep you from picking up stuff from the ground. But by the time you got to your private Easter egg hunt at Mana and Papa's, you were an expert. You knew the plastic eggs from the real, and understood that the fake ones contain chocolate. You surreptitiously scraped off the foil wrapper and ate more candy than you've ever had in a single day. And yes, there was a chocolate bunny for dessert, and you ate the ears, head and neck in one sitting on your Papa's ever-indulgent lap.

Last week we celebrate Auntie S's birthday, and she made cupcakes for you at your request. When she arrived at the restaurant, you marched up to her, said happy birthday, and grabbed the pink bakery box out of her hands and carried it into the restaurant. We were all pretty convinced you would drop it, but you were super careful and they arrived safely. You devoured three mini cupcakes after dinner, and I strongly suspect that the count was actually four but your Papa didn't want to give me a heart attack so he lied.

This wouldn't be a proper report without a potty update. In the last weeks, you've decided diapers are your friend. The trip to Florida, where diapers were a necessity, probably didn't help, but you haven't volunteered to wear panties outside the house for weeks, and often abjectly refuse to use the potty, so we've backed way off. We're in no rush, and the last thing we want is a negative association with the toilet, but I'm clearly in denial because we're almost out of diapers and I can't seem to bring myself to log on to 1-800-diapers these days.

Miriam, it's been another delightful month. We can't wait to see what's ahead.

All my love,
Your Mommy

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Chag Pesach Sameach!

We learned from Chanukah that MZ will really get into something with enough advanced prep, so we signed up for a preschooler Passover event a week or two ago, where she learned Dayenu and Go Down Moses and The Frog Song, which involves frogs in the bed, frogs on the head, frogs on the nose and the toes -- she loves this one. We made the matzoh cover depicted here, and an Elijah's cup that she's been carrying around for two weeks. All in all, we figured she was ready for a seder, so we planned to do 1st night with some friends, four toddlers all told.

Until about 3 PM that day, I had seriously envisioned them following it a bit and everyone sharing memories of Passovers past, and traditions from their own seders. Then it hit me: four toddlers. Our toddler can barely sit through a one-course meal without wanting to get down. Needless to say, it was highly abridged, but we read of the exodus and the toddlers lounged and all in all we had a fun if absolutely crazed evening.

Tonight we had 2nd night at our synagogue. It was a family seder, and thus was also somewhat abridged, but MZ asked for matzah and matzah ball soup and tried the chopped liver if not the gefilte fish, colored in her "activity haggadah" and loved running around with the other kids. I'm sure she would have liked the charoses, had it not been made with walnuts. We're going to do a Sephardic version for the family seder this weekend, something with almonds and coconut that one of our guests brought on Monday and that I think I'd love on a crumpet, if we were eating crumpets right now.

Chag pesach sameach, happy Easter, happy Spring.