Miss Independence Heads To The ’Burbs
Two year olds have a keen ability to keep you on your toes and at wit’s end simultaneously. As little Miss Independence continues to assert herself, I waffle between wondering if I’m raising a two year old or a miniaturized, rambunctious teen. Who knows? Maybe it’s part of the master plan with little girls. These mild (or not so mild) doses of hormonal outbursts might be a gradual way of acclimating her parents for what will ensue at puberty; sort of in the way one doesn’t climb a mountain in a single go.
In fairness to our typically resilient little one, we have recently rocked her world. Greg and I moved our gals to the ’burbs. (Hence, my hiatus from writing; not because it, or we, are now boring as a result, but, because packing and unpacking has had me up to my Brooke Shields’ eyebrows in boxes. More to come on suburbia soon.) So as a result, we have cut her some more slack, assuming that she is unable to express the confusion of the move at some level.
Two notable behavioral changes throughout this time have been her calling me "Joe" and her extreme clinginess. The latter is not terribly surprising, given our move, and the former, well it’s just a phase. Again. We went through a round of Elly calling me and Greg by name a while ago. It was brief and kind of endearing, especially when it was Greg and not me. That one seemed to come and go quickly but this one is lingering on like the smell of Jean Naté. Once again, there are times when it is cute and other times, well, not as much. Take for example, trying to change a very yucky diaper in a men’s bathroom, without a changing table, desperately trying to keep her from touching the grossness that surrounds us, only to hear - "Joe, Stop that! No my do it! MY DO IT, JOEEEE!" Calgon, take me away! But other times, it can be really funny - "Joe, where’s Elly’s bum-bum?" or "Joe,where’s Elly’s pocketbook?" (as if there was just one).
And while I have been demoted from Daddy, let me assure you that it has been in title alone. I still have all of my operational duties, but am supervised much more closely than before by my little boss. I think maybe it’s time we sit down and watch Norma Rae.
While Elly clings onto me like a periwinkle on the bottom of a Gloucester fishing boat shouting "Joe, hold you!" or "Joe, in braccia!" which is Italian for the same, there is a very specific method on how it needs to be done. And woe is me, if it’s not done to her code. Her preferred way to be carried is strewn over one hip with one arm supporting her under her butt. Bear in mind the correct hip is subject to change every twelve paces and Lord help me if my wristwatch or belt gets in the way somehow- "Joe! Stuck!" Once these major components are taken care of, Elly continues to refine the holding by manually placing my hands on the right spots for that precise moment. Sometimes it’s my right hand on her right knee and my left hand on her thigh. Other times it can be my left hand on her waist and my right hand on her leg. It can actually take on more combinations than a game of Twister. It can be funny and charming how specific it is except for when she’s in bad form. And then woe is me if I get it wrong. Because a two year-old can go from zero to full throttle tantrum faster than Whitney Houston can empty a crack pipe.
Generally, by the time it’s all sorted out, I’m thoroughly exhausted. But not too long after, I am reminded that children are made adorable for a reason. And it’s usually from something like this:
"I have a belly button."
"Yes, you do. Where did you get it?"