Thursday, December 8, 2011
Life...With a Two Year Old.
Ariane. Ari. The lion. Serves me right for naming her after a fierce creature. She captivates me with her little rabbit teeth and mischievous glimmer and for a moment or two each day I forget the destruction she is capable of wreaking. She smiles and runs past me, golden corkscrew curls bouncing behind her, little chubby feet pad pad patting past. I am caught up in her adorableness. And then I realize with a sinking feeling that prior to her mad dash through the living room, I had enjoyed a blissful 30 minutes of silence. And with Ari, unless she is asleep, silence is never a good sign. I walk in the opposite direction of where she just ran from and enter the kitchen. There is red candle wax smeared across the dog's food bowl and on the floor. A large cinnamon scented candle sits next to the bowl with deep toddler finger sized rivets running through its wax.
For a moment, I see red, and not just the red all over the floor. I. Just. Mopped. The hell with cleaning while that child lives here! I march through the house and find her crouched down in her room playing with a handful of glow in the dark dinosaurs. They're talking to each other. Apparently they can't decide on a suitable location to have dinner. One wants McDonald's and one wants tacos. I stand over her and ask, "Ari, why is there candle wax all over the floor and dog's bowl?"
She looks up at me, her two front teeth sticking out over her bottom lip. I catch a flash of dastardly mischief cross her eyes and she says, "Coz, Dude was hongwy."
"But Ari, do dogs eat candles?"
"When day hongwy day do."
"Ari, was that your candle?"
She gets up and runs out of the room yelling as she goes, "WHAT? I can't hear you?"
I can't help but laugh.
She wears a pink tutu and matching pink high heels nearly every day and has been known to spontaneously break out in multiple twirling sessions, "I'm a ballet. I'm doin ballet. See, watch me dance." And then she raises her arms and propels herself in a circle on one heeled foot. She catches herself before she hits the ground and smiles. "See! Dat was fun!"
"Let me spin you," I say. And I pick her up and twirl her around and around. I can feel the laughter begin in her belly and make it's way up her throat like bubbles in champagne.
"AGAIN!" And her eyes shine with delight. I spin her over and over until I am dizzy and giddy with her. I fall back on the couch and we breathe heavily in between our giggles. I tickle her and she screams. I can fit my whole hand over her stomach and heart. I love the softness of her toddler skin and how her stomach still sticks out like she just ate Thanksgiving dinner. Every day. I let her go and she runs past me into the playroom. I marvel at her and want to freeze this moment in time. But it keeps ticking, the minutes at times dragging by and the years speeding past.
Later that day we are going through a box of my old photographs and Ellie finds one of me from a dance in High School. "Who is THAT guy?!" She asks with gritted teeth.
"Just some guy I went to a dance with. I can't even remember his name," I tell her.
"Well, I don't like him. He is disgusting."
"Yeah, I totally agree. Daddy is way more handsome"
Ari picks up the photo and as she has a way of doing lately, mimics her sister in words and tone. She points to me in the picture and says, "Dat guy is dis-gus-tin. He is gwoss! I don't wike him!"
"Ari, that one is ME!", I say, but again I can't help laughing. She looks at me, then the picture, then at me again.
She smiles, "Noooooooo, dat is not you Mama."
Oh, boy, I think. I'm never going to break out those awful junior high photos then.
She catches all manner of animals, bugs, and everything else that freaks me out. "Wook, I got a wizard!"
"A wizard?!" I ask, "Will you name him Gandlaf? Or maybe Dumbledore?"
'Noooooo, siwwy, his name is Mr. Wizard."
The other day she grabbed a giant black sea cucumber (which happen to look just like a horse penis...if you've never seen that, whatever you do, DO NOT google it. I can't be responsible for any images that pop up and rob you of your innocence) She picked it up and cradled it in her arms and said. "Awwww Mommy, wook, it's my baby pet dolphin. Shhhhhhh, he sweepin." And then she started to carry it towards the car. To. Take. Home. To live with us, wherein she would hug him and pet him and squeeze him and name him George. I could not convince her to let it go, it WAS her baby pet dolphin after all. "Ari, you have to put him back. He can't breathe. He's going to die."
"Awwwww, aw-wight." And she put it back in the water.
I wash her, brush her curls, read Brown Brown Brown Bear or Go dog, Go and put her in bed. I kiss her forehead and tell her I love her. "I wub you too Mama. You is my mommy, and you are my teacher. And I am your baby. Am I your baby, Mama?"
I lean in and whisper into her ear, "Yes, I am your mama, and yes, you are my baby. You are ALWAYS my baby."
"Yeah", she says, "Dats wight, Mama."
And all the sins and markers on the wall and wax on the floor are forgotten, or at least remembered with laughter. Tomorrow will be a new day fraught with new disasters only a two year old can produce. But I am her mama, and she is my baby, and we'll find a way to laugh through them. Well, I'll find a way. She'll already be laughing and running, golden curls bouncing behind her.