The other day our 2-year-old barged into our bedroom with two “Little Bear” books, her favorite doll, “Some-Dee,” and her purse replete with a toy phone and bell. “Hi, mommy!” Jane sang out.
It was 2:19 a.m.
With our nearly 6-year-old twins, I already knew I was dealing with a pair of clowns. But it looks like our 2-year-old is going to be the biggest joker of them all. And while I realize that, to outsiders, Jane is no more clever or charming than anyone else’s child, I do enjoy recording her antics. Transcribing what Jane says and does – and, for that matter, what her siblings say and do – has become a sort of pastime for me, a way of capturing and appreciating even the stressful moments. I guess writing about my children is my version of taking pictures.
But mostly I just blog about Jane because she cracks me up.
For instance, when we were recently talking about how my husband was taking a trip, Jane observed, “He’s a good daddy.”
“He’s a very good daddy,” I said. “You love your daddy.”
“Yes,” she answered, “but I not love daddy more than Georgia,” her older sister.
“Why?” I asked.
“Because she not stinky.”
Last night at dinner, we were playing a game where we went through the alphabet and identified an animal for each letter. The youngest was supposed to start. “Name an animal beginning with ‘A,’” Georgia told her baby sister.
“A monkey!” Jane declared.
And on Thanksgiving Day, Jane was so enamored with her faux patent leather shoes that she held them up to the minivan window so a parking attendant could appreciate them. “Hey man!” Jane cried. “Man! See my fancy shoes?!”
I also find Jane’s obsession with the crossing guard at her brother and sister’s school to be amusing. “Hi Bob!” Jane calls out when he halts traffic for us. If this fellow ever abandons his post, Jane frantically questions me, “Where’s Bob? Why Bob not here?” And when a stern-looking officer was directing traffic instead of Bob one day, Jane informed me, “That policeman not a very good talker.”
“Why not?” I asked.
“He didn’t say ‘hi’ to me.”
Furthermore, if it’s possible to lose your innocence just shy of the halfway mark between your second and third years, I think my daughter’s done so. I often feel like I’m dealing with, not a 2-year-old, but a teenager. When I reprimanded Jane for being cross the other day, she gave it right back to me. “I not cross,” Jane retorted. “I cranky!”
“I drinking beer,” Jane frequently says, tipping back a glass of juice. And when she’s not chugging brewskies, Jane holds up her sippy cup and declares, “This is my coffee!”
But her budding alcohol and caffeine addictions are the least of my worries. I’m more concerned about the fact that I often find Jane disrobing her sister’s Barbies. “You wanna’ get undressed?” I overheard Jane ask one the other day. That evening I spied her handling our lone “Ken” doll, who was sporting just one shoe and a Tuxedo coat. “Hey, Kenny!” Jane cried. “Want to come and play?”
Watching several teenagers shoot hoops at a park the other day, Jane couldn’t get over the fact that one of the boys had stripped off his shirt. On the one hand, I could understand her consternation. The afternoon was frigid. But that's not what troubled Jane. “Why he naked, mommy?” she kept demanding, very loudly. Embarrassed, I finally had to drag her away.
But it did no good because a few days later, while we were strolling on the Cynwyd trail, Jane spied a gentleman sitting on a bench, sipping coffee and enjoying “The Wall Street Journal.” He also happened to be wearing a tan leather jacket. “That man is naked!” Jane kept shouting as we inched closer and closer, despite my assurances to the contrary. When we were firmly within his earshot, my daughter peered at the fellow and triumphantly yelled, “That man not naked! He wearing clothes!”
Jane is also very curious about her own body. “Where’s my nipples?” she recently asked me, lifting her shirt. “There they are!” she announced, victorious. “One was hiding!” And the other morning, while touching my chin, Jane told me, “I like your nipple.”
“Thank you,” I said, “but that’s a mole.”
But don’t be misled by Jane’s seeming confusion. She knows exactly what’s going on. I recently demanded in exasperation, “When are you going to start using the potty?”
“Later!” Jane replied, irritated. “I’m being busy. I have lots of chores.”
That afternoon, while playing with a boyfriend at the park, Jane lamented, “I don’t have a penis.”
“No,” I said. “You don’t.”
“I do!” her friend exclaimed, beaming.
Just maybe Jane has met her match.