Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Snapshot: My 2-Year-Old

Lauren sits in her high-chair.  (She is too big for it, but it's strapped to our kitchen chair like a throne from which she'd rather not depart most days.  And sometimes I strap her into it with relief; the buckles clicking shut like a lock on the trap-door to my sanity.  At two-years-old, she can at once be the funniest part of my day, the sweetest, and the most unruly.  The unruly times are when those periwinkle blue high-chair straps become necessary to avoid a toddler crawling across a dinner-strewn dining table.)

She wears a purple frock with a flouncy skirt and velveteen bodice knotted behind her shoulders because its proportions are far too large for her tiny frame.  Her knees knock into the bottom of the wooden table, tapping and wiggling as she is to avoid being taken for a potty break.  (I should know by now, but somehow forget on a daily basis, that I should mandate potty breaks whether she promises them to be unnecessary or not.  The puddles are reminding me, though.)

Her narrow, perfect shoulders (what is it about my daughters' shoulders that make me swoon in a gush of debilitating appreciation?) hunch over the prize before her: a bowl of candy-pink strawberry Nerds from her Halloween bucket.  She eats them one at a time, eyebrows drawn together in concentration.  (What is she expecting to discover with such attention to detail?  A way to make the sugar-crystal center last longer than the sour pink coating?)  The ever-present hank of blondish hair falls from her forehead nearly blocking her view of the bowl.  Over the course of one single minute, she brushes it behind her ear 5 -- 6 -- 7 times. 

(If I were a better mother, I'd be scooting away to find her a barrette, but instead, I sit here noticing the way her dimpled fingers have learned how to tuck away her hair.  I dawdle over her squirrelly cheek muscles as she chews.  I lean forward to sniff the place on her hairline where the right hank of hair parts from the left.  I waste time soaking up every move she makes.)

Her face is still a mess from lunch -- peanut butter at both corners of her mouth, red pepper juice on one cheek, clementine juice creating a sticky patch under her lip, jelly solidifying on her chin.  (On this day, she is a mass of sugar, inside and out.)  (How is it that I can be somewhat repelled by the sight of a stranger's child covered in goopy mess, but when it's my own child, it's all I can do to stop myself from taking a picture to document the perfection of her nastiness?  When it's my own child, she's gloriously cute in her mess.)  She drops a minuscule Nerd on the table and frantically searches as it skitters away.  Worried about her lost sweet, she yells loudly.  With much more volume than any single Nerd could ever justify.

To remedy her sister's upset, Mia lovingly places the remains of her own unwanted lunch on Lauren's plate.  A tangle of already-strung string cheese strands are heaped beside the bowl of Nerds.  Lauren is pacified.  She alternates bites of candy with bites of string cheese.  This is gross.  As I laugh at her mismatched tastes, she grins at me and asks, Is it funny, mama?

I reach for a wet washcloth.  It's time to wipe down the masterpiece of my crazy child.

5 comments:

  1. They are masterpieces, aren't they? Even when they drive us crazy :)

    Nerds and string cheese -- my kids would approve! (P.S. Gabriel and Eli had a box of Nerds from their Halloween stash yesterday and I, too, was humored to observe them methodically eating one Nerd at a time. Wouldn't it be awesome if that's how adults ate Nerds?! It's the proper way to enjoy life, I think.)

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  2. Sarah - I am laughing so hard! :) I get to the point of gagging when I see another kid all gloppy with food, but my own? I smooch their cheeks and smell ketchup faces and take pictures... oh motherhood!

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  3. I love the way you enjoy your children. And really, what chance does a barrette stand against a two-year-old's lunchtime anyway? Far better just to sit back and watch that little masterpiece in action. She's precious!

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  4. I love it- the grossness and the cuteness of it all but mostly the way you take it all in and then put it into words for the rest of us to share. I often find myself blissfully grinning at my children but I'm too dumbfounded to realize why, well besides the fact that they are so adorably lovable of course! :)

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  5. I've been thinking that the best we moms can do is let our children see how our eyes light up when we see them. Mess and all.

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Hmm...And how did that make you FEEL?