Friday, December 16, 2011


Today Willow is two.  I've been super excited about this birthday, thinking about it instead of sleeping, wrapping presents, planning fun activities.   These last few months leading up to two have been such a whirlwind of language, personality, and cognitive development that this next milestone feels like a serious one.  If I was unwilling to accept that she'd become a toddler at age one, I think I'm going to have to acknowledge that at age two she is more of a little girl than she is a baby (despite how she may refer to herself).

Of course, she is a very strange little girl.  She gives herself nicknames.  Multiple nicknames a day.  Little Willow, Little Mynah Bird, Little Chickadee, Baby Octopus, Little Human, on and on and on.

And she hallucinates.  Months and months ago she pointed out the window at a "dancing blue light," which Dave and I determined had to be a TV screen in the apartment building across the street.  Cool!  But then the dancing blue light started to appear in the daytime.  And then in the park.  Outside the car window.  She would sometimes try to reach down and pick it up.  I'm always like, "Wow, you see the dancing blue light?  That's great, sweetie!"  And she says "You see dancing blue light."

By which, by the way, she does not mean that I see the dancing blue light.  She is well aware that she and she alone is witness to this phenomenon.  She just gets her possessive pronouns backwards.  Constantly.  "Play with my ears!" means play with mommy's ears.  "You do it" means me do it.  It's very confusing.  I'm not sure exactly how to handle this one--it's a perfectly understandable mistake, but how to fix it?  Even if I remembered to say it backwards every single time (unlikely), nobody else will.  I know it'll work itself out eventually.  For now, every time she says "I have a ball" we congratulate her.  Which I'm sure just makes her want to have more balls.

Willow can now talk about her emotions to a surprising extent, and manage them as well--if a siren goes by, and it makes her nervous, she says "You're scared," and comes over for a hug, but if I'm busy or she doesn't get to me fast enough, she says "It's okay, sweetie," and--honest to God--gives herself a little pat, and goes about her day.  And she deals with her fears in other ways too, ways that are imaginative, if not entirely factual.  For instance, yesterday I took her to the mall for a little last-minute shopping--her first time ever.  She was delighted by the lights and the toys and the many, many people--but she was freaked out by That Guy.  It took me forever to figure out who she was talking about (I had visions of some creep staring at her or something), when of course I realized she was talking about a black, faceless mannequin.  Which is indeed creepy if you're not used to it.  I took her over to see that it was just plastic and not alive.  I asked her if she wanted to touch it, she firmly declined, and we left.  And we talked a lot about mannequins on the way home, until finally she decided that mannequins are great.  That she had spent the afternoon playing with the mannequins.  That they're nice.  And that she was Little Mannequin.

Similarly, when we went to see Santa, and suggested that she might want to sit on Santa's lap, she said "Ohhhh no," and clutched me like a life raft.  But when we got home, she talked about how Santa was very nice, and that she had sat on his lap (despite photographic evidence to the contrary).  I think it's hilarious--she's rewriting history as she wishes she had been brave enough to live it, and maybe next year she will be.

She is so different from how she was last year--and yet still so very much the same person--that I can't imagine what she'll be like next year--but I'm certain that she'll still be the most amazing, joyous, affectionate, frighteningly intelligent, and hilarious person that she is now.  Happy Birthday, my love.


Vicki Suan said...

Happy happy birthday, Willow! To me it seems like I just wished her a happy first birthday. She is a beauty.

vanessa said...

Happy birthday Willow!

I am sure you answered this a million times before, but were you thinking of having another?
My little boy is 20 months old, and I am on the fence. I loved him as a baby but I enjoy him more now, and I don't know if I could handle 2 at once!

Nikki Van De Car said...

Oy--there's whole post in that answer. The short answer is no. I love Willow to pieces and weird as it seems, despite loving babies in general just as much as ever, loving this specific baby so much has made me kind of dismissive of theoretical babies. Who is this kid that will take my attention away from Willow? Why should I care about him?

I recognize that's insane and very strange, but since another child doesn't really make financial or any other kind of sense for us anywway, I'm going with it.

Anonymous said...

awww. enjoy every single minute as it absolutely flies by, and then before you now it they're ready to go to college and have babies of their own.