“I’m two,” she proclaims, holding up all five fingers because she hasn’t quite figured out how to hold down those other three just yet.
It’s tough to pick the moments that best represent Ali as she is right now, but these are a few of my favorites. This is Ali at two.
Ali-isms – Words & Phrases
“I need it!” / “I need more” / “It’s otay!” – When we have to enforce boundaries with Ali or tell her no, one of these three phrases is always her first response. For example, after five minutes of hand washing…. Me: Your hands are clean. Let’s dry them. Ali: I need more!
“Mommy’s bed” – She angles to sleep in “mommy’s bed” every. single. night. Sometimes she does this just by suggesting it. “Mommy’s bed?” she’ll say animatedly with a big, fat smile, hoping her cuteness will win me over. Other nights she’ll crawl under the covers and rest her head on my pillow while I grab her toothbrush. How did this fun little habit begin? When she’s sick, she sleeps with me and gets it in her little head that this is the new normal. (Michael usually vacates to the guest room to give us a better chance of having at least one fully healthy family member, which is how the bed became “mommy’s” rather than “mommy and daddy’s.”) We’ve recently reframed that she “gets to sleep in mommy’s bed” when her light turns green in the morning (she has one of those OK to wake clocks), and that seems to put her off the scent in the evenings.
“I do it!” – The biggest and truest toddler cliche.
“Dee-lish-ous!” – The most grown-up thing she says.
“Raspppery” – The kid gives good ones. Usually on my belly. They make me full-body laugh.
“Walk the bench” – She’s not as into gymnastics as I hoped she’d be, but she’s very into walking on balance beam-like objects. The top of the couch. The top of the fence. Actual balance beams. Hey, it’s something.
“Poop!” – Pretty much a favorite topic since we potty trained a month ago. We went on our first pony ride at Garrod Farms a couple weekends back, and the main highlight was all the horse poop on the ground. (That and the helmet. But not really the pony.) There was also a huge pile of poop on the sidewalk when we went to gymnastics a while back (hopefully dog, probably human… because San Francisco). She was kind of devastated when it wasn’t there the following week… and she’s still talking about it.
“Anda” – Ali’s nanny and one of the best people we’ve brought into our family. When Andrea opens our front gate in the morning, Ali rushes to the door to open it for her. When Andrea leaves in the evening, she gives her hugs and waves as she watches her drive away in her car. The woman is a saint and we’re so grateful to have her helping us raise our kid.
“I no feel well.” – Her response to the question, “how are you?” Even when she’s clearly feeling super awesome, she’ll momentarily pause her playing, put on a fake sad face, and with a hint of a hispanic accent proclaim, “I no feel well.”
“Feed dogs.” – Her favorite activity. A few times a week, she’ll FaceTime with Grammy just so she can watch my mom feed the dogs. She knows which bucket is Bubba’s and which is Shasta’s. Knows to tell them to sit (“good boy!”), stay, and to say “otay” to let them know it’s time to eat.
“Happy birthday to you!” – Since her uncle Cody’s birthday back in April, Ali has been all about birthdays. After Cody’s birthday, her buddy Brooke turned two. Then her buddy Finty. And now it’s her turn. She likes to wear her leftover party hat (which she can put on by herself thankyouverymuch) and sing “happy birthday to you” in a deep monster voice. It’s weird and hilarious.
“My nose running!” – One of the ways she tries to get me to come back to her after I’ve put her down for the night.
“I d(r)ive.” – She will sit in the car and pretend to drive for hours if you let her. Driving “Papa’s car” is possibly the highlight of his weekly visits. She mostly sits in the front seat, buckles and unbuckles her seat belt, puts the keys in the ignition, turns on the flashers, and fucks with a few key settings (air conditioning, mirrors, windshield wipers… always something important). She protests with her entire little body when you try to pull her out of the car, no matter how long she’s been in there.
“Mommy” & “Daddy” & “Grammy” (silent “g”) & “Pop-bear” & “Papa” & “Oma” & “Unc Tody” & “Unc Kiss” – That’s me, and Michael, and my mom, and my dad (Papa Bear), and Michael’s dad, and Michael’s mom, and my brother (Uncle Cody), and Michael’s brother (Uncle Chris). A few of her favorite people.
“Holdch” – Sometimes she reaches her arms up and wants to be my baby again. I always oblige.
Foods: Salmon nigiri (“sushi!”), watermelon, pistachios (“stashews”) dark chocolate (“chokate”), blueberries (“booeys” but also sometimes “booberries”), steak, pasta bolognese (“noodles”), olives (“ovos”), yogurt, avocado (“vocado”), pancakes, green smoothies, salami, macadamia nuts (“nuts” not to be confused with “stashews” or “tashews”), seaweed, and pretty much any other fruit previously unmentioned that’s in season.
On-Screen Entertainment: Peppa Pig (“pe-pit”), Moana (“wana”), Aladdin (“magic tarpet”), Finding Dory (“dory”), Pocahontas (“hontas”). Side note: We started watching a few shows and films here and there when I got pregnant with baby #2 and didn’t have the energy for much else. My conclusion: I don’t know what the big deal is about screen time and why millennial parents are so freaked out about it. The kid genuinely enjoys a little downtime now and then (don’t we all?) and I enjoy an effortless snuggle. I also only show her things that I don’t mind watching a million times myself, that don’t offend my morals, and have stories to which she can relate. A little TV is a wonderful thing!
Books: Madeline, The Little Yellow Bee, Bear Snores On, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, All the World, The Little Train, Biscuit, I Was So Mad, Triangle, Hey, Duck!, Goodnight Moon, The Story of the Little Mole Who Went in Search of Whodunit, The Pout-Pout Fish, Happy Hanukkah, Corduroy! (I finally put this one away with the Christmas stuff so I don’t have to read about latkes in June), this fricken fairytale book where each fairytale is like nine pages of solid text and she gets bored by page two and every time she brings me the book I sigh and say, “ugh, that one is so long” so now she calls that book “So Long”. Sometimes she’ll grab books out of her book cabinet, sit down quietly and read by herself. She likes to flip through the pages and tell the story based on the pictures she sees. “I read it!” she exclaims, if you try to read it to her when she’s in the middle of her own renditions.
Toys: Depends on the day, but she’s very into pushing her baby around in the little doll stroller, shooting her bubble gun, crawling around and hiding in her fort/teepee, riding her scooter, assembling her little train puzzle, and some old favorites, like stacking blocks and knocking them down, pulling along her pull toys, and playing her harmonica. When she’s at friends’ houses, she loves to drive those plastic Flintstone cars and becomes pretty proprietary about them. I’m sincerely hoping her preschool has one so I don’t have to cave and get one for the house.
Because Everyone Asks…
Does she get that she’s about to be a big sister? Now that my belly is getting bigger, it’s clear to her that something is going on. When we talk about her sister, sometimes she’ll kiss my belly or give my belly a wet raspberry. In the same way we have no idea how baby #2 is going to change our world, Ali doesn’t either. That said, she is aware that something is happening and it’s all feeling very positive.