Taylor is becoming more worldly. She knows things and we haven’t a clue as to where she learned them. Even though she goes to daycare for 3 hours a week and she spends time with her friends, I am still surprised when she comes up with new knowledge. When we went up to the snow, I asked her if she knew what we would be doing when we went there. She replied, “Going sledding”. Yup, right, going sledding. Wait…how did she KNOW that? She had never been to the snow, so I was taken aback that she would have any idea about what happens there. Another time, she was looking at her diapers, which have designs of Woody and Buzz Lightyear from the movie “Toy Story”. Taylor looked at them and asked, “Is that Superman?” HUH?!? As far as I know, we have NEVER mentioned Superman in our house…so it was weird to hear her bring it up. I shouldn’t be surprised, but it always reminds me that she is her own person, with her own life and she is absorbing so much information all of the time.
Every night we read Taylor a book before bedtime. It’s part of our nightly routine and she really loves sitting down with us and picking out which book she wants to read. T.J. has a good sized library, and she’s memorized most of the stories. If we read a couple of words, she can finish most of the sentences of most of her books. She has a couple of Berenstein Bear stories that are a bit longer than her typical books. She loves them, but I’ll admit that sometimes when we’re trying to get her into bed quickly, we don’t relish reading the longer stories. I will also admit that we have, on occasion, abridged the story in the interest of ushering Taylor into bed sooner. Well, the other night Zach was reading her a book and he was reading the first line on each page and then skipping the rest when Taylor took the book out of his hands. She said, “I don’t want you read it. I want mommy to read it. I want mommy to read the left page.” What she meant was that she wanted me to read what was left on the page. BUSTED! She was totally onto our scheme. Needless to say, now when we read stories with her, we’re careful not to miss any words. Should have known we couldn’t outsmart her!
Last weekend we planned a spur-of-the-moment trip to go up to the snow. T.J. had never seen snow before, and after all of the rains I thought it would be a fun thing for all of us to experience. We decided to go up to Angel’s Camp, so we packed and drove up on Friday night and stayed in a hotel. In the morning, we piled back into the van and drove the rest of the way to Bear Valley. We stopped and played in the snow on the side of the road, but the real fun was at the Bear Valley sledding hill. We rented a sled and alternated dragging Taylor in the sled and letting her pull it. The sledding hill is actually three hills of varying steepness and length. We let T.J. test the waters by taking her down the backside of the hills to see how she would do. At first, she seemed to enjoy herself, but when Zach took her down a longer run she got upset because she didn’t like getting little drips of snow on her face. She didn’t want to go again, but we encouraged her to try one more time, so she agreed to go down the backside of the hill with Zach. That might have been a mistake. Zach and T.J. started down the hill, but lost control of the sled and plowed right into a huge pile of snow. Poor Taylor was covered from head to toe in snow and was NOT happy about it. We consoled her and calmed her down, but that was the end of sledding for her! As upset as she was, her trip wasn’t ruined though, because she was very content to spend the rest of the morning making snowmen while Zach and I took turns sledding.
For the past week, we’ve been saying “good-bye” to all of the remnants of the Christmas season. Every other year, we’ve just set up our decorations and taken them down when we were done with them, without much thought. Now, however, we have a child who got very attached to the tree and the gingerbread house and the lights and the mistletoe. Just as I was about to toss out the gingerbread house and take the ornaments off of the tree, it occurred to me that Taylor would be wondering what happened to all of the STUFF. We sat down with her and explained that the tree and the house were going away, but we’d see them again next Christmas. I think it must be confusing for a kid to have all of the lights and presents and fanfare of the holidays just end so abruptly. She was pretty okay with it, although she often asks if the gingerbread house and the tree “went away home”. Yes, they did, but they’ll be back next year (only 11 months away!)
One of the most surreal things we experience as parents is seeing T.J. mimic us. It really is strange watching her imitate “grown-up” behavior. If you spend much time with her, you would come to the conclusion that we must talk on the phone a lot, because one of Taylor’s favorite activities is to pretend that she’s talking on the phone. She will pick up ANYTHING and make it into a telephone – business cards, remote controls, drapery tassels – it’s all fair game. Her most involved conversations happen while we’re in the car. She will be in her carseat chatting away and when I ask what she’s talking about she’ll respond, “No, I’m not talking to you, I’m talking on the phone”. Then she’ll go back to her “conversation”, usually describing what we’re doing. It usually goes a little like this: “Hello? Hi (fill in the blank name)! What are YOU doing? Oh, I just driving to the (fill in the blank location). It very good to talk to you. Okay, bye-bye!” Last week she told someone that her phone was cutting out because she was driving through the tunnel and she had to go. It might be time to upgrade her cell phone plan.