Thursday, January 6, 2011

Oh The Wonderfulness of Toddlerhood

I just finished balancing our checkbook. Our post-Christmas checkbook. So fair warning if more pessimism seeps in than I normally allow. We never go too crazy for the holidays. We've never been the kind of people that continue to pay off Christmas well into the summer months. But I'm still surprised when I add up all the grocery trips and last-minute liquor store purchases and the I-just-need-to-buy-one-more-gift-card-for-that-person-I-forgot-about. The little adds up to a lot, you know? I'll feel better in February when our bills return to normal.

So what was I going to write about again?

Oh yeah. Lucy.

She's totally going to be that child for me. The kind that are a whole heap of pain in the necks right now but the kind that, they say, turn out to have the best personalities for success later in life.

And Lucy's even trickier because she woos you in with her unbelievable cuteness. Man she's good at that.

Look at the face.  What a sucker I am!

I'm truly in awe of this little girl that God has sent me.  She's stunningly beautiful.  She's ridiculously smart.  And she's such a charmer.

She's also independent.  And determined.  And stubborn.

Those are good qualities to instill in children.  As adults those qualities will bode them well.

But at one-and-a-half those qualities can butt me in the head.  And being that I can also be a little determined and quite stubborn, I will, sometimes, butt her right back.  But she doesn't give in.  So back and forth we go with this little tug-of-war power struggle. Neither of us willing to relent our own way.  And then I pause and get a glimpse of my future with this little lady.  Age, 8, 12, 15, 17... Ey yey yey!  Where's my cocktail?

Today I sensed a little cabin fever among us all and seeing as the sun was shining brilliantly I strapped on Lucy's snow boots and all her winter gear and let her walk the whole way to pick up William from school instead of throwing her in the stroller as I normally do.

She trotted all the way there and chased her brother all the way back home.  We only had a few spats when she decided she wasn't happy about having to hold my hand as we crossed each intersection.  When we arrived at home William opened the gate to the backyard and Lucy figured out what was going to happen next.

"No! No! No!" She yelled as she emphatically shook her head.

"Yes," I said, "It's time for lunch."

I picked her up to bring her in the yard and she assumed the classic tantrum position.  Legs go weak, back arches, arms outstretched.  It's super fun to try to hold a kid in that position.

So I attempt to go inside but she's still thrashing about and demanding to stay outside.  I finally came to my senses and wondered what I was fighting for.

"Fine," I said, "Stay outside in the cold.  William and I are going in for lunch."

Before you get on the phone to Child Protective Services you should know that our backyard is completely fenced in and I could see everything that she was doing from my perch at the kitchen window.

First she walked straight into the deepest part of the snow in the backyard.  Of course her little legs were no match so she fell face first into the snow.  I saw my opening.  I ran to the backdoor.

"Lucy, did you fall?  You want mama to help wipe off your face?"

"No," was all she replied.

I saw her spit out some snow and continue on.

When I had the lunch sandwiches ready I became a little worried that she really wasn't going to give in.  She wasn't going to get tired of the cold or the wet that surely had to be getting to her by now.

So I sunk low.  Low, low, low. Bribery.

"Lucy, William and I are going to have a cookie after lunch.  Do you want a cookie?"

"Cookie?  Yeah, cookie."

And she came toddling over to the door.  I scooped her up quick but when she realized she wasn't going to immediately get a cookie and that she would not have the option to eat said cookie outside, she threw another little tantrum.  This time, at least, we were indoors.  I shut the door, locked it and let her have her fit right there in the entry way.

A few minutes later she wandered in the dining room as if nothing had happened.  She easily agreed to get into her chair and eat lunch.  And things were great once again.  Until she decided she wanted to do the yogurt all by herself.  And around and around we go...

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