It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Easy Friday

Three of the five children currently on the roll here are part-time. While this plays some unfortunate havoc with my bank balance, it has at least one fortunate consequence. On Fridays and Mondays I have only three children! (Yes, “only”, though my husband comments that I am one of a rarified number who would consider three under-twos to be an easy day.) Three, the three youngest — Grace, Lily, and Rory.

I call them Baby Mondays and Baby Fridays.

For now I do, at any rate. It won’t be too much longer before they’ll all turn two, and won’t be babies in that sense any more. Right now, though, they’re babies. The two-year-old drive for autonomy, and with it the two-year-old negativity, hasn’t yet appeared. They bumble about in the same room, each doing their baby thing. They interact a bit, though as yet it’s mostly in terms of watching what the other guy is doing — and occasionally deciding it’s interesting enough to commandeer the toy in question.

And when this happens, when Grace decides Rory’s toy is so interesting that she’s going to take it now, thanks… well, Rory just watches it leave his grasp, and then watches Grace play with it. It’s all good.

Such is the way of the 18ish-month-old. It’s quite lovely.

There are two-year-old clouds on my baby horizon, though, in the form of Lily. Only Lily has a significant vocabulary. In contrast to Rory and Grace’s mostly-silence (punctuated by babble and the very odd word), Lily is a chatterbox.

“Sunny! Cloudy!” She’s really enjoying our weather calendar.

She loves her compatriots. “Wo-wee! Gace! Mawee! Emma!”

She loves identifying things, generally: “Umbagumba cookie!” “Poon!” “Eye-cheh!” “Boot!” “Soo!” “Sippuh!” “Gox!” (She’s into footwear.)

She loves giving directions: “Up, pee!” (This would be a polite request, not a urinary order.) “Sit yap, sit yap!” “Door sut!” “Doggie down!”

Life with Lily is one constant cheerful stream of words, words, words, words. All with exclamation marks! Because why speak at all, if you’re not going to be decisive! And excited! And Full of Purpose!!!

And increasingly, in contract to Grace and Rory’s equanimity in the matter of toy possession, when someone takes a toy from Lily?

Most of the time she responds as do the others: placidly unruffled. “That’s an interesting toy, and now it’s being interesting over there. How interesting.”

The rest of the time, however, you’ll see the gears shift. The toy will leave her grasp, there’s a pause as she becomes aware that it’s gone, and then a “what the hell” expression will flit across her face. And then… does oh-so-verbal Lily launch into vigorous and shrieked verbal protest?

Sort of.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!

She has “vigorous” and “shrieked” down pat. Sadly, she does NOT use her words, though we all know they are many. Nope. Just shrieks of outrage which quickly settle into grizzles of tears. (She’s more of a grizzler than a passionate cry-er, our Lily.)

It doesn’t happen every time, but it’s happening more often. We all know what’s coming. Soon it will be the default response — for Lily, and most likely for Grace and Rory, too. Though if I were to indulge in a little prognostication, I would say that Lily will be the worst for this, her negativity the strongest and longest-lasting of the three. Rory will go into and out of that phase less deeply and more quickly, with only moderate training needed, and little Grace will, as much as any toddler does, skip the “MINE!!!!” phase altogether, continuing to be as calm, level, and curious as ever. (Feel free to ask me about this in three months. It could be I’ve just publicly and totally blown any credibility I’ve ever had.)

But for now, the babies are still (mostly) babies, I have two calm and quiet Baby Days per week, and I’m loving it.

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October 15, 2010 - Posted by | aggression, Developmental stuff, Grace, Lily, Rory | , , ,

3 Comments »

  1. I have to say that I enjoy the 2-3 year old phase most of all, but right now I am entering and greatly enjoying some calm, quiet baby days, myself. (And mentally challenging five-year-old days as well…)

    When my own three were little, three was my all-time favourite preschool age. (Of course, given that I home-schooled, ‘pre-school’ was up to and including age ten, but I’m using the general definition of the term, not my particular one.) Now that I’ve seen bunches and bunches through the first five years, I do have a certain fondness for the under-twos… but I still love threes! And twos. And fours… 😀

    Comment by rosie_kate | October 15, 2010 | Reply

  2. I need to know what an Umbagumba cookie is.

    Snort. You just made me spray my monitor, I laughed so unexpectedly… ‘Umbagumba’ is my best transliteration of her filler sounds. I don’t think it has a meaning at all, but she grasps that words she recognizes are surrounded by sounds she doesn’t, and so she replicates the experience for the rest of us! Or at least I think that’s what’s going on…

    Comment by IfByYes | October 15, 2010 | Reply

  3. Oh dear. My almost 16 month old is fully aware when one of her big brothers (3 1/2 and 5 1/2) take a coveted item off of her … or they are holding something she desperately wants … and everyone will quickly know it if she wants it (back)!

    She can shrug and walk away from things that are taken off her elsewhere (playgroups and such) and will just look for something else to do, but her brothers seem to fall into a different category.

    Comment by ewe_are_here | October 17, 2010 | Reply


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