Last week Zach and I went to Hawaii while Taylor had a vacation at Zuzu and Paul’s house. Our vacation focused on doing things like snorkeling and hiking…things that we couldn’t do with a two-year old. Taylor’s vacation focused on two things: cookies and ice cream (things that she doesn’t get to have TOO often with us). For days beforehand, whenever we would bring up going to Zuzu and Paul’s for the week, T.J.’s only question was if there would be cookies and ice cream. Sure enough, Zuzu just happened to have some cookies and ice cream on hand (what are the odds?) Taylor didn’t seem to spend too much time missing us while we were gone, but we sure got an enthusiastic greeting when we returned and she regaled us with stories about – you guessed it – cookies and ice cream.
It occurred to me recently that the “terrible two’s” haven’t really been so terrible lately. I know I may end up eating my words, since we still have more than half a year until Taylor turns three, but most of the time she is just fun to hang out with. She still has her tantrums, of course, but they’re usually brief. The rest of the time, she’s extremely affectionate. At least a dozen times a day, she will say, “I looooove you, mommy” and then kiss me or hug me or blow raspberries on my shoulder. I’ve been told that it just keeps getting better, but it’s hard for me to imagine it getting any better than it is right now. Sometimes I wish that I could just hold onto this stage forever. Without the diapers.
Of course, as I’m writing this Taylor is having a meltdown because it’s bedtime and I turned the lights out in her room. Every night when she goes to bed, we leave the lights on a little but she’s told that if she fusses and we have to go into her room we’ll turn the lights out. Most nights she’ll get to sleep without the lights going completely out, but not tonight. She’s in bed crying right now and in between sobs I can hear her saying random things like, “I don’t WANT to be a lady, I want the other one!” (huh?). Eventually she’ll wear herself out and get to sleep, but it’s still difficult for me to listen to her cry herself to sleep. I guess that never gets easier.
One of the fun parts of having a two year old is that she’s old enough to play games. We sometimes have to modify them, but she loves to play, so that fills a lot of our days. Amazingly, Taylor is STILL entertained by Peekaboo – a game that we’ve been playing with her pretty much since day one. She’s even begun to make up her own version, which entails her telling me what she wants me to say after she says, “Peekaboo”. For instance, she’ll say, “Mommy, I want to do ‘cuppys'” . Then she’ll cover her face and when she yells, “Peekaboo!”, I have to say, ‘cuppys!'”. Then she’ll say something like, “Mommy, I want to do ‘books’ now” and she says, “Peekaboo!” and I call out, “books!”. It can stretch on for a long time. I would say that we’ve gotten more than our share of mileage out of the Peekaboo game.
T.J. spent a full half-hour in the car the other day reading the book “Highway Engineering” to herself (must be fascinating):
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Taylor has a CD that she got for her birthday called “Philadelphia Chickens” that she just loves. It’s a really great CD with some fun songs on it and even though we’ve listened to it ad nauseum for 3 months straight, I haven’t gotten sick of it yet…
…HOWEVER, since T.J. doesn’t have direct control of the CD player in the car, she has elected herself as the car DJ. Every time we get in the van and get going down the driveway, I hear her voice barking requests from the backseat: “Play the Pajama song!” or “Fifteen Animals!” or “Mommy, I want the Cows song!” (and when I play the Cows song, she will inevitably call out, “NO! The other Cows song!”(because there are two Cows songs, of course). I’ve been pretty accommodating, even though it means that I don’t get to listen to the radio anymore. Sometimes I even sing along with the music which prompts Taylor to call out, “No, mommy! No singing!” with an emphatic shake of the head. It’s harsh.
This week we FINALLY got her music loaded up onto her very own MP3 player that she can play to her heart’s content. I put all of her songs on there and gave it to her with a little set of headphones and now when she asks for the Chicken song or the Dinosaur song or the other Dinosaur song (because there are three Dinosaur songs, of course), I hand her the MP3 player. The thing is, she NEVER listens to a song all the way through. She clicks through all of the songs over and over, stops for a few seconds on each song, and then moves right along. It made me realize that listening to the CD was less about the music and more about the control. Now she finally has it…she can listen to whichever Cows song she wants to, and I can listen to the radio again. But I’m still not allowed to sing.