Sticky #4

Who needs letters when you have stickies? Please let me never forget these precious details of Bella's toddler years:

* Bella's language has really exploded. I remember a few months ago being so worried (though not admitting it) that she wasn't saying much. She almost seemed embarrassed to attempt copying the things she heard. But not anymore. The child repeats everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) she hears and often remembers what someone said hours or days later. She's the sponge the experts talk about.

But the phrases she says everyday aren't necessarily the ones you want other people to hear. Like: "Dang it!" and "You got gas, Mama?" and "I poopin' in my diaper. NOT YO POTTY!" and "I see yo shessth [chest]?" But there are some that melt my heart. Like: "I lub you either, Mama" and "You wanna lay down wit me, Mama?" and "I need nudder hug, Mama! An nudder kiss!"

* Of course, with language comes the stubborn refusal to allow us to do what needs to be done. Like brushing her hair and teeth, getting her into her seat at the table or in the car, putting on her clothes and shoes, changing her diaper... when it comes time for any of those things and a littany of others, she shrieks at us "Let me do it!" or "No heppin' me! You not!"

And while we can't help you, we'd better move out of the way and allow you to help us -- or else face the wrath. I can't chop a vegetable or mix a glass of chocolate milk without you climbing up my legs crying "let me hep you!" or "I gone do it! Bella do it -- not Mama do it!" She's scrambled eggs, buttered toast, pretended to put chopped cucumber in the bowl (but instead popped it in your mouth), scooped watermelon, and shucked corn. You've carried in groceries, put away clothes, and pushed the vacuum. You've also weeded the garden and the flower beds, picked random trash out of the yard, and brought the recycling bin back inside.

And she loved every second of it.

* I used to spend every day with Bella, and then she was gone three days each week, and then it went to five days each week. And I've got questions. What's she doing? What's she eating? What made her laugh? When did she meltdown?

So I've taken to asking her about her day. The first few days I had to pry it out of her, "What'd you do at school today? Did you see Ms. Beth and Ms. Tammy and Ms. Kim? Did you sing a song? What song was it? Did you play outside? Did you eat your lunch? Was it yummy? Did you take a nap?" and the string of questions continued. This was how deep my desire to know and take pleasure in her little day. So what she's only two years old!

Well, I guess she got a little annoyed with me. Because now when she comes through the door, I get a big hug and then I get something to this effect, "I saw Ms. Beth and Ms. Kim and Ms. Tammy and I eated my food and I played and I cleaned up and I no take a nap!" And then she's off. I can ask her any question I want but she's through with the answering. Which I'm learning to be okay with. :)

* As Bella gets older, she's begun to expect things. Whether we want to or not, there are some routines that we must follow or she'll make us regret it. For instance, Billy must give her a bath directly after dinner. "I takin' a baf NOW Daddy!" And then Billy must wait a while to put her pajamas on her and take her to brush her teeth. If there isn't a lull, you're guaranteed to pay for it. Then there must be another lull before I take her up to bed. And I must hold both her hands and stand behind her and let her jump up the stairs. And I must stand behind her while she climbs into her bed and then cover her up and kiss her forehead and then turn on her music and then leave. Any deviation will make bedtime horrible and hours-long.

Make no mistake. Daddy does bath time and brushing teeth. Mama does bed time. And never the twain shall meet.

* I think the best example of how our Bella is growing up is in her new found love of her friends. Six months ago the child couldn't grasp the concept of a friend, but now she has a multitude of them. She chatters on and on about her "babies" at school -- Jaden and Kirsten who are 12 months and 15 months respectively -- and must hug every child in the room before she can leave.

When Javi's friends come over to play, she jumps up and down and grabs her blocks. She'll say "C'mon, boys! Wan pway wit me?" And then help them build and tear down until they invariably lose interest. Then'll she'll cry, "Don't go! Let's pway, 'kay? I yo fwen, okay boys?" Whether they stay or scamper off, Bella treats them like her most favorite buddies.

Which of course leads me to ask the question: Where does the time go? When did my beaming baby morph into this big girl?


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