Morning portrait of “Eh-nanny,” age 2

29 10 2014

Our day together starts when she starts to cry to announce her awakeness, prodding me to unwrap my arms from around her baby sister, gently extract myself from between her and her brother (Daddy is wedged in on the far side, trying not to fall out of bed into the closet), caress the sleeping baby back into her little cradle, and cross the hall. “I tooted,” she declares sweetly, with a proud and impish smile, when I open her door to free her from bed for the morning, finding her sitting up in a circle of blankets spread around her like a princess’s lavish dress. I come in with a laugh, prompting her to giggle, hug her irresistible self, and an array of little shock-sparks chase my hands across the blanket. “Mama,” she cries with delight. “They did come back!” We were chasing shocks in the bed last night in our dry winter house, watching their blue lights flicker and dance, until we’d set off every one and the blankets stayed dull and dark. “Mummy has to go to the potty,” I explained in kid-lingo; “you can wait here for me to come back, or go snuggle the boys.” Because doing what wasn’t a stated choice is always her preferred course of action, she followed me, squinting, into the brightly lit bathroom, then stepped back into the hall to look, baffled, at the dark rooms around her. “Where is boys?” “They’re in my bed,” I told her–“boys” being her father and brother–and off she went to climb in and join their sleepy snuggle, which of course destroyed the sleep of it in seconds. Now, having gone through the mysteries of how you can’t see your own roof because it’s above the house & all you see is ceiling, and run to the end of “Cayeb”‘s attempt to tell her about how we found squirrel bones in the attic, when she’s not even sure what the “ackik” is, let alone bones, skeletons, or death, they’re having a deep if repetitive conversation about how to pronounce “pixie dust,” (E says “pinky dust”) how to get to Neverland (C says you have to start in London), and how this one time, in the current Neverland cartoon about those Pirate kids, Izzy tripped over a rock.

It’s an unusual morning in some ways–first, that her brother is here, which is only true 6 days a month in general, and second, that her sister has been sleeping; the more typical course includes many requests to kiss, hug, and hold the baby, which, in rough-and-tumble toddlerese, translates better as “squash, squeeze, and wrangle the baby,” so we three, with Daddy off to work most days, do a sitting-in-bed dance all morning through a happy medium of me wielding “baby Tabby” a bit like a doll, trying to facilitate the love-attempts without subjecting her to their full force. But for Ev, who has no sense of time yet, both kinds are normal, both siblings are family, and all possible configurations are home.

Here is a totally incomplete list of things about Evanny’s life-at-two that are amazing:

  • Talking, which she does almost as much of as her brother. The list I put up of incomprehensible terms 2 months ago is entirely obsolete; all of those have been replaced with recognisable words now, although some of them still have a skewed-letter charm. “Doo-daff” is what the 2-year-old calls the cat, and it’s adorable, as are a number of her other preciously fleeting Evvyisms, like “pinky dust,” calling seltzer “fuzzy water,” and explaining her rationales with the word “de-tause”
  • Her baby sister (aka Plucky Ducky,

    Smothering the baby with kisses

    Tabbytabby, Baby Tabby, Tabita, the baby, & little Punkin), whom she CANNOT GET ENOUGH OF. Every entrance or exit of scene is a call to “holda baby?” or a cry of “tiss, tiss!” And it’s starting to become rewarding–at 3 months, Tatha is just starting to smile back, to lean in to the wild toddler hugs sometimes, to put up with the occasional squeeze or face-planting without crying

  • Her brother (aka Cayeb, Boy, & Dude), whose weekly arrivals get her so excited that she literally jumps up and down in frantic joy, squealing
  • Her best friend Nate (today, visiting for lunch after an exhausting morning at their play-school together, he disappeared into the bathroom and she got halfway up the stairs looking for him before she started to weep with tiredness, which didn’t stop her from slowly climbing–but boy was she ever relieved when we noticed and told her he was downstairs!)
  • Her “extended family” of Nate’s family, whom she often lists among her own when blowing kisses at night, who make her life immeasurably richer by being like cousins–kids you can borrow clothes from, bathe with, & eat off their plates, parents who feed you, wash your hands, take you to the potty and aren’t afraid to tell you “no”
  • 20150101-145654.jpg

    Attack-snuggles with Papa

    Her actual extended family, fresh in mind from not–too-distant visits (we’ve seen all 4 grandparents since the start of summer) who also get blown kisses

  • Her other friends at Katy’s: Halden, Lulu, Charlotte, Finn, Jimmy, Ciaran, Galen, Darcy, Miles, Oliver, and “Jacey-Jacey,” half of whose names (just the boys, so far), on any given day, cause her to roll over in the bed and squee
  • Katy and Lydia, who give her art supplies, hand-me-downs, fashion role models, endless swing-pushes, home-away-from home tenderness, and a swiftly swelling vocabulary
  • Swings (an equal opportunity love: playground baby swings, strap-and-lock swings, big swings…)
  • Books (so, so many wonderful books. Tonight, Daddy wasn’t one foot in the front door before she was asking, on repeat, “read Yummy Yucky?”)


    Reading a favourite–Ladybug Girl–with Grandma (and not wearing pants)

  • “Doo-dahf” and Picabo, who is usually called by her name now. She doesn’t actually like Picabo, and can be treed in the hallway by the black cat’s mere presence, but her dark and interesting presence, like Gustav’s light, warm, loving one, fill her little world with interaction and character. Both–but more often Picabo–must be kissed goodnight in real time, before the in-bed kiss-blowing list begins, and she’s more likely to push Gustav out of her way and then say “I love Picabo” despite the total lack of interaction and/or returned affection the black cat offers
  • Daniel Tiger, Curious George, the occasional episode of Jake and the Neverland Pirates, and her leftover-from-being-1 favourites, Calliou & Peppa Pig: her Katy-day-morning cartoons, which we’ll watch a few episodes of over coffee and milk and porridge or a banana while nursing/baby-snuggling in bed at the start of the day
  • The Last Unicorn, her favourite movie consistently for the past year and a half
  • Peter Pan, The Aristocats, and a few other DVD familiars that take turns vying for 2nd place
  • Milk
  • Bananas, blueberries, strawberries, apples, cous-cous, cheese, milk, bread, tomatoes, green peppers, avocados, potatoes, eggs, noodles, milk, beans, muffins, candy, rice, chocolate, yogurt, fruit-and-veg purée pouches, pizza, peanut butter sandwiches, milk, toast, jam, raspberries, cereal, crackers, corn chips, guacamole, and did I mention milk?
  • 20150101-151953.jpg

    A sanctioned playgroup activity: squashing the boys, who are much bigger than her, and therefore not off-limits like those tempting, delicious babies

    Playgroup opportunities to run rampant with her friends at her own house

  • Paint–tempura and torn-out colouring book pages all over the front porch, painted on her easel or the Pooh table, usually only 1 or 2 colours, her brush scribbling just starting to move toward form as she colours only the faces, hands, and feet of the creatures in any given image, watercolours at the dining room table, face painting at any opportunity, & using the above to create face (or body) painting opportunities–for extra fun, Katy lets them paint cardboard, huge butcher paper rolls, sheets, and the plastic playhouse, using paint, water, or mud as medium and hands, tools, or found objects as brushes
  • 20150101-145755.jpg

    Colouring with “Cayeb”

    Other art supplies and opportunities: crayons, markers, pens, glitter, play doh, & a few brave forays into the dangerous realm of scissors

  • Jumping: anytime, anywhere
  • A playground up the street that she can walk to on her own two feet (usually we still take the stroller in case she’s too tired on the way home, as the infant strapped to my chest makes her a bit hard to carry) and slides and swings and climbing things to leap at once we get there
  • Her Fisher Price dollhouse and the little dollhouse family inside, which now includes “Sissy,” the big-sister doll I bought separately to add, when Tabitha arrived, to the Mom-Dad-baby family, and a second baby, smaller than the first, that Nate found for her at the Rescue Mission. The smallest baby is usually “baby Tabby,” but Evanny is variously the big sister and the bigger baby, depending on unseen internal toddler tides.
  • 20150101-145824.jpg

    Tea party with the good cat

    Sharing pretend food and drinks from her tea set

  • The slide in her living room, which entertains her literally for hours a day
  • Ladders, couches, chairs, the bassinet, the crib, and all other surfaces well-sized for climbing
  • Maggie, who is now interesting enough that E refers to her as “my dog” and asks to give her treats, although she’s still wary of her sudden movements and will sometimes come whining or crying to me to report the impossibility of passing the dog in the narrow hall
  • Water in any location: the bath, a friend’s pool, the pink plastic splash pool, the science museum, fountains, all sinks everywhere–anything to splash any part of her body in, for as long as humanly possible (literally, she can happily spend an hour standing at a sink running her hands through freezing water…. But those hands aren’t still, and the longer you leave her there, the bigger the splash radius!)
  • Her own skin: she loves being naked, tends to take off her clothes just for fun, never leaves a tub unless she’s pruny, no matter how cold it’s gotten, and fiercely resists putting clothes on thereafter
  • Daddy, who swings her about, sings to her, makes her laugh, dances with her wildly in the living room, takes her to gaelic football training sessions to let her run and encourage her inner thug, brags about her swiftness and strength and sturdiness, snuggles her in the big bed every morning, takes her off to much-more-efficient bedtimes than Mummy can manage, takes her to the store to get her wiggles out, saddens her by leaving for work 5 mornings a week (“Daddy go work? Why Daddy go work? I go work (with) Daddy?) and delights her each of those evenings by coming home again
  • The big bed, for playing, TV-watching, snuggling, and never snoozing
  • Her big-girl room, filled and decorated by luck and happenstance rather than intention, but hers to glow with pride about and order the cats out of (for all the good that will ever do her)
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    My songbird, posing in dress-up-clothes before a day of muddy puddle-jumping

    Singing: usually a song from The Last Unicorn, with impressive lyric approximation from someone who thinks the whole alphabet song goes “abc, qrs, next time wanna sing a me” but will nevertheless give “sails serenely by” a good effort (“say seenee whyyyyyy”), but sometimes Twinkle Twinkle or Happy Birthday

  • FaceTime, where she can see and smile at and, now that she’s bigger, chat with her grandparents even when they’re far away
  • An excellent babysitter who adores her, sings with her, reads to her, plays with her, indulges her love of Peppa Pig, and lives right across the street, so Evanny can practice her neighborhood geographies (“Dat Izzy’s house?”) from our front window
  • Tomatoes off of this past summer’s potted garden plants–and even 2 whole raspberries off the canes our friends gifted us with, as well as the messy, staining wild grapes from the front yard: tiny morsels of Earth’s bounty to at least plant the notion that food grows from the ground
  • 20150101-145904.jpg

    Demonstrating the squashy love of babies on Darcy

    Babies–a separate entry from her sister or from naming a few in her friends-lists above, because what makes them so wonderful is a shared specific category: they are small enough to steamroll with her love, and she LOVES squashing babies

  • & of course, thank-heavens-ly, my favourite thing for her to love: Mummy, who loves her back so big we might both break.



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