It's not magical in that everything is always great...we are still working through some of the issues surrounding the terrible twos, but all-in-all I think I see a light at the end of the tunnel for some greater understanding and rational thinking on her part. :)
I wish I could bottle her up right now...as kids grow, it's an amazing gift that the Lord gives us to say "No THIS! THIS is my favorite stage!" I hope to say the same thing one day when Madeleine is 29 years old and I am enjoying the same friendship with her that exists between my mom and me. Also, I am unabashedly not a baby person. Babies are fine, and I am looking forward to having another one, for sure, but baby stage is not my favorite.
Here are a few things (including her priceless one-liners) that I want to capture about Madeleine in this moment.
Learning, analogies and observation:
"I know so many Davids. David in the Bible, David in my class, David Laurel's Daddy and Baby David, Elmo's lovie!"
"This tea set is made of glass and it's fragile. I learned that word on Sesame Street."
"I think 'dandelion' starts with D just like 'Daddy.'"
"I'm not going to pick my scab. The only thing I can pick is a flower."
"Mommy, I think the baby is reeeeeaaaaalllly hungry and you should eat my carrots."
"Daddy you are so silly, my hair is yellow like the sun."
"I think Marshall's probably has marshmallows."
"Pandas eat bamboo! What do frogs/birdies/bears/insert animal eat?"
"Ouch! That just hit me in the head like Goliath."
"I just got dumped out like a shovel at the beach."
Evaluating things she put in the potty: "Look it's like a dad and two little kids!" "Look mommy, it's a pyramid one and a smashed potato one!" "Mommy! It looks like a carrot, but we don't eat it, it's poo poo."
"Mommy, what's inside my body?"
Climbing out of the pool: "I'm just like a drippy octopus!"
"Oh look a Santa hydrant/a cake cloud/etc."
Many of our car conversations go something like this:
"Mommy what's that place?"
"Can we eat there?"
"Do they have juice?"
"Do they have a playground?"
"No, not there."
"Oh that's very sad."
Another car conversation, as I dusted off my control panel/radio in the car:
"Mommy! What are all those little bugs?"
"Oh that's just dust that is catching the sunlight"
"You can call that dust, but I call them magical fireflies!"
We also had a lengthy car discussion (some might say argument) once about whether or not Cher was a girl.
"I like to do projects."
"I'm the strongest girl in the world. I know I can do it if I keep on trying."
"Mom, can I roller skate on a mountain/ride a big girl bike/have that dress/play volleyball/etc. when I get bigger and bigger?"
"Mommy, I love to touch the bottom of the pool! Can we go under together?"
Madeleine loves to listen to her "Deep in the Heart of Texas" CD, Christy Nockels "Into the Glorious," CD, her Bible songs and the radio. She can remember a song after hearing it once, and some of her favorites include Maroon 5 "Daylight" (I told her a little white lie that it was a song a Daddy was singing to his daughter about leaving for work the next morning "'And when the daylight comes I'll have to go, but tonight I'm gonna hold you so close...") To continue her Maroon 5 preference, she also likes "Love Somebody." ("Mommy, his name is Adam like Adam in the Bible!") She likes "I don't care (I love it)" by Icona Pop ("I want that 'crash my car I love it' song!") and she likes Taylor Swift. One of my most favorite preferences of hers is "Ho Hey" by the Lumineers. It's our song. We love to sing in the car together "I belong with you, you belong with me, you're my sweetheaaaaaarrrtt!" She continues to still love the classics - - "Jesus Loves Me," "Twinkle Twinkle," "Itsy Bitsy Spider," "That Good Old Baylor Line," and songs from Daniel Tiger, Veggie Tales etc. Some of my favorite Daniel Tiger ones that she sings are "Thank you for everything you do," and "If you feel so mad that you wanna roar, take a deep breath and count to four. One, two, three, four..." She also likes classical music because it sounds "magical" and she can "dance ballet" to it.
She is really into pretending now, and her independent play has been fantastic. It's amazing to have her disappear to her room or playroom for 20-30 minutes at a time while she does a puzzle or "puts Camille to bed" (Camille is her baby doll that she named after our friends' daughter) or plays dress up. So much fun. She loves to read, and her attention span has really developed. This bookworm mama is happy about that. She's really started to play maternally too, with lovies and dolls. I'm sure some of that is her age and development, but it does give me confidence about how she will handle becoming a big sister in November. She still loves to be outside, playing in water or digging in the dirt. I'll be happy for her to play dress-up as long as she still loves roughing it outside! She loves to find "Green Green," her name for the Geico gecko. She named him at a not-so-creative time in her life. She goes nuts when she sees him on TV or on a billboard. "Mommy look! Green Green is in a cowboy hat! Howdy, cowboy Green Green!" Her token "hey pay attention to me!" question is "What's your favorite color?"
"I talk to God when I'm scared to see what's going on"
"Mommy, what's 'glory?'"
Conversation in the backyard:
"Madeleine, do you hear those birdies?"
"Yes Mommy, they are singing a very pretty song."
"What do you think they are singing about?"
"They are singing 'Jesus loves me sooooooo much!'"
I have talked to other mamas about how amazing it is to see God use your children in ways you didn't even know they were capable of being used. They develop their own little ministries. We had an example of that in mid-July, just before Cason's test and the cruise. Cason's Grandmother has been sick for a long time, suffering from dementia, alzheimer's, etc. Her health has been declining for a long time. Things escalated and she started to really struggle. She had already been in hospice for a few weeks and we knew the end was near based on what looked like some strokes. Sweet Grandmother kept hanging on, despite Trish and Heather being with her and telling her it was okay to go. They had been at the nursing home for a long time, so I was sending them pics and videos of Madeleine throughout the day to pass the time and lift their spirits. At one point in the bathtub, M decided to sing "Jesus Loves Me" on a video I sent to Heather. I asked it to play it for Grandmother. When Madeleine was done singing, she let go and passed peacefully. It was so incredible to see God use her in that way.
Lest you think the last few months have been sunshine and roses, here are a few things that have not been so great.
- She had a confounding potty training regression. After we potty-trained her in February, she went a good three months without an accident, then all of a sudden, for about three weeks, she had a ton of accidents. It was just like she didn't care, or she liked changing undies, or the newness wore off? Who knows, but like many stages, I just wanted to know when it would end. Thankfully it did. Don't you wish you knew those end dates at the beginning?
- She had a frustrating sleep regression for a good portion of the month of June. FRUSTRATING. Purely developmental? Pre-baby anxiety? Who knows, but it was really, really hard. It was worse than having a newborn again, truly. She was up several times in the night - once SIX ti mes. This girl has never had nighttime sleep drama, other than crying it out as a baby. We basically had to do that again - put a toddler-proof doorknob on her door and leave her to figure out self-soothing again. It was so hard to hear her crying and/or banging on the door, but it was so sweet when we made it through the phase.
- Madeleine can be borderline OCD, based on her toddler need for control. During the sleep regression, we would come into her room and she had allll these little things she wanted, just like a tiny dictator. Even now, when she is going to sleep, she wants her whole room picked up (yes we make her do it) and she gets all out of sorts if she notices something that "should be in her playroom" is in her room after we have left. She also has a very specific script and intonation she wants us to do when we leave her room at night ("Bye! See you after my nap! Okayyyyy!" and we say it back to her.) We are currently trying to break her of this too. She also can be strangely opinionated about whether my hair is up in a ponytail or "long." Also, her undies have to match what she is wearing. Seriously.
- And of course, the general toddler 0-60 mood swings or tantrums. Like I said at the beginning, she is coming out of these, but she still has her moments. Her disobedience is hard too. She is far too crafty to say, throw her dinner on the floor or flat out say "NO!" She will sneak out of her chair and come over to me and say "Mommy, I want to give you a hug and a smooch!" Also, we are really working on her gaining respect and obedience with adults. It frustrates the fool out of me when she just flat-dab won't listen or do what I ask! The only authority she seems to respect, currently, is the police. No joke. So you better believe I use the security guard at church to try to spur her on to obedience while she is at school on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Don't judge...desperate times. :)
Decorating her "reminder."
She is really an amazing girl. I love talking with her and hearing her thoughts. I love watching her sensitivity and inquisitiveness grow. She is spunky, fun and brave. We are so grateful to be her parents!