Friday, August 7, 2009

Losing my baby, gaining a little girl

Today I have decided to start a different format for entering posts in my blog. Up until now, I have always tried to come up with something "grand" to write about--and if I couldn't, I wouldn't write. As a result, I have not entered many posts in my blog. So from this day forward, I am just going to write about daily life, whether it's plain or not. And who knows, maybe it will wind up being something even better.

My daughter, who is almost two and a half now, is really starting to show signs of becoming less of a toddler and more of a little girl, and quite the independent one at that. One of those signs is that she is beginning to ask for juice more often than milk. Another is that she can now drink out of a regular cup without any help, though she still hasn't perfected the non-spilling part. Yet another is that she seems to have developed a hearing problem. Selective hearing, that is. She will hear us whisper something about the mall, her favorite place to go (is she a girl, or what?), but when we call her name loudly, or tell her to stop doing something, she doesn't appear to "hear" us at all. And she has also developed her own definition of the words "Yes" and "No." At first, it was "cute" to hear her say them, because she would use it in response to a question such as, "Are you hungry?"or, "Would you like some milk?" However, we quickly began to realize that she didn't necessarily mean, "No, I don't want that (or Yes, I want that)." Rather, she might mean, "Hmmm, I'm not sure. Let me think about it, because in a few seconds I will change my mind and say just the opposite!"

It's a fun game, and I say the word 'fun' with as much sarcasm as I can muster. For example, we might have a sippy of milk in hand, ready to give it to her, since just one second beforehand she had given every indication that she wanted it with an enthusiastic, "Yes!" and just as enthusiastic nod. Then suddenly (and I do mean suddenly) she changes her mind, shakes her head--hair flying--and proclaims loudly, "No!" So we start to put the sippy of milk back in the refrigerator, and guess what? She changes her mind yet again and now she really wants it. I have to laugh, though. This is a learning process for her, and though the "game" can get quite exasperating at times, we as parents must also learn right along with her--learn to be patient, that is, as our little girl learns the true meaning of words and expressions (and how to make decisions).

Then there is the game of mimicking. We will ask her a different type of question other than basic food or drink questions--and instead of answering, she will repeat the question back to us, word for word, with the same tone inflection and everything. Trying to get an answer out of her at those times is like pulling teeth. As frustrating as it is at times, we try to remind ourselves that it is yet another way that toddlers learn communication. In time, she will learn how to answer those questions, as she watches and learns from us and others around her.

Another sign of independence is that she has started to initiate conversations with us, with other adults, and with children. I get such joy out of watching her do this. For example, she might see a cat on T.V., run over to me and look at me with a big smile, point to the T.V. and say, "That's a kitty cat, mama!" And watching her trying to talk to other children is--well, just too cute for words.

It's so bittersweet watching my little baby go away and a little girl coming into the picture. "Bitter" because there is a part of me as a mother that grieves that my baby is no longer so very dependent on me. "Sweet" because I get the privilege of watching her grow and blossom, like the unfolding of a beautiful butterfly. When they're still caterpillars, they're all warm and fuzzy and their world is limited to grass and plants and their feet stay mostly on the ground. But when they transform, and they must, their world opens up to so many new possibilities. Suddenly they can fly--very slowly and clumsily at first, but it isn't long before they pick up speed and build confidence--and one day, you watch silently as they fly away, into the distance.

1 comment:

  1. Hannah is such a cutie!!! I don't want to think about the butterfly flying away though - not yet!