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I watch her as she lays face down, staring as the water goes down the drain, sucking up every last drop of bathtime. For a child who used to scream every bath because she hates water in her face, she adores the bath ritual. Today, Strawberry Shortcake and a lobster played a rousing game of Ring Around the Rosy, and I discovered Libbie’s favorite colors of the day were “gray, and orange, and yellow, and green.” Yesterday they were pink, purple, orange, and red.
Her ringlets are wet as we pick a bedtime book. I always pause when she chooses something I consider babyish; I enjoy the bedtime story ritual, and That’s Not My Monkey just doesn’t take very long to read. But it’s her choice to make, and I read what she wants.
One day I asked her if we could have a talk. She sat on her bed, and I sat on the floor, and we discussed something. Probably how she should be gentle with David, or obey Mommy and Daddy—the two things we repeat often. Since then, she wants to “have a talk” often. About what, she doesn’t know. But she gets that it’s a big-girl thing to do.
We’ve had a hard week. For some reason she seems to have reverted to her new-baby jealousy. She has not obeyed one single request in three or four days. If I ask her to go to her room, she screams and falls to the floor. If I pick her up, she hits or kicks. My days seem to be spent trying to keep my own anger in check and not fight back. Sometimes I succeed.
I try to focus on the rights: coloring a banner for the school’s big rivalry football game; laying in bed discussing what an uncle is; when she asks sweetly, “Mommy, will you read me the Bible?” The joy of picking out a few library books. A mini Mommy-date that consists of going to the grocery store and getting milk, holding hands.
She is wild, and funny, and infuriating, and beautiful, and selfish, and crazy, and loving, and huggable. And she’s almost 3. Each day she seems more like a child and less like a toddler. But she still can’t pronounce Ls.
I’m a mess of a mother, eking my way through and learning poorly as I go.
I think if we make it to 4, she’ll be a really awesome little kid.