Little Miss loves to play “hide and sneak”; the only thing is she announces “I’m going to get under the covers and you can come find me!” before doing exactly that. Clearly she’s a little fuzzy on the rules. And because I chuckle each time, I refrain from correcting her. Sneak, seek, po-tay-to, po-tah-to.
In fact, I find myself enjoying her mispronunciations and little errors so much that I often let them slide. I also do it because I know this phase will not last. I think it’s cute when she says “lellow” instead of “yellow” or when she says the w sound in place of r, like “My face is weally weally wed”. For the longest time, she said “kank you” in place of thank you.
These imperfections are reminders that she’s still so very young and so very toddler-like in many ways. It helps me temper my annoyances with her when she tries to talk above me when I’m trying to have an adult conversation or when she isn’t in bed on time. “It’s getting late” doesn’t get through to her because she often comes back with,”The sun is still up mama; it’s not night time. I don’t have to sleep yet!” How do you explain the long summer days to someone who has yet to grasp the concept of time?
I also realize that my toddler may have much to learn as she stumbles on the intricacies of our language but she doesn’t always need me to right her wrongs. She eventually catches on, sometimes much to our chagrin.
For example, before we leave her room at bedtime her dad and I would announce “family kiss!” or “family hug!” before the three of us lean in together for a hug and a kiss. It’s our thing. She used to say “sammy” kiss or hug and it was so endearing we found ourselves saying it too on occasion. Then one day, she just said “family kiss”, correcting herself on her own, and we were taken aback.
“What did you say?” I asked, refusing to believe what I heard and she repeated what I dreaded to hear. It’s a minor switch but somehow it felt like we lost something in her that day. This girl who is growing up so quickly before our eyes is shedding her babyhood each time she acts and talks a little more like us and less like her baby self.
Of late, she has been into Star Wars, even though she’s never seen the movie: “Sometimes Darth Vader (pronounced as one word, Darshader) is vewy mean. He hits Pwincess Leia and Luke Skywalker. Maybe R2D2 and C3P0 (or as she would say, CPPO) will come save them. They are nice. And Yoda is nice too. But he’s not fwiends with Darth Vader though. Well, maybe sometimes they play together with the light saber… Baby Darth Vader wants his mama. He is my fwiend…”
While she seems to be busy morphing into a little grown-up, there are times when she firmly remains her 2.5-year-old self when she absorbs the literal meaning of everything, responding to my “oh man!” reaction with “I’m not a man, I’m a girl” or chasing a kid who refuses to talk to her at the park and yelling, “hey, what’s your name? what’s your name? what’s your name?!!!!” because we said she could make new friends by politely asking their name. We must have neglected to mention that screaming and running after someone, demanding an answer is not exactly polite.
There are days that I fear I will lose my little baby, my first, sooner than I am prepared to but on the days at the park where I have to wrangle other kids’ toys out of her hands or apologize profusely to parents when she’s eating their children’s food like I’ve never fed her before, I know she has miles to go. But then again, even if she moves out of this phase completely, she’ll always be my baby.
There may no longer be sammy kisses, but family kisses are just as sweet.
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Do you find yourself trying to hold on to your kids’ baby days? Or are you more eager for them to move on to the next phase? Who’s your favorite Star Wars character?