LadyBug has always been a spirited child. Where the rest of us sit and read books or watch TV, she jumps on the couch. While we snuggle together and talk quietly, she squirms and flips and screeches. We’re not quite sure where she came from, but she certainly adds some spice to our lives!
I knew, when she was just a year-and-a-half and already taunting her older brother by stealing toys and running away, that she was going to be a bit of a handful. And so it was no surprise that her second birthday gift to us was learning how to emphatically use the word, “no.” Bug went through this phase at the same age, but she’s given it her own special twist. No matter what you ask her, she answers with a sharp and unpleasant, “NO!” It is often followed up by a whiny request for whatever it is you just offered. For example, “Would you like some ice cream?” “NO!!! I want some ice cream…”
One of the delights and challenges of this particular age is how quickly they change. One day, they’re holding your hand and sighing, “Mama” when they see you. They next, they’re pulling away and screaming, “Noooooooo!” The one upside to all of this change is that when things get really ugly, you can be sure that it won’t last for long.
I’m not going to miss LadyBug’s snarky behavior when she (fingers crossed) moves on to the next phase of her development. But there are things I am going to miss. I love the way she tells her brother to calm down when he’s upset. Or reminds him, “Daddy’s at work!” over and over again as Bug complains that he misses his father. I love that when she’s tired or sad and I pick her up, she drapes onto my shoulder and wraps her arms around me. I love the way her face lights up when she smiles and how sweet she looks when she’s sleeping. I don’t like to admit it, but I love the impish look she gets when she’s being mischievous and that she is such a free spirit. And I love the way she pronounces things in her little-girl, just-learning-to-talk voice. She still says, “I need-a help!” She’s got an intense look of concentration when she’s “reading” her books and her face reveals every fleeting emotion that’s going on inside. My little girl knows how to try my patience in a way I can’t even begin to describe, but she does it all with positive energy, sunlight and a lot of personality.
I hope that last bit never changes.