Philomena is at *such* a great age. I know I have probably said this about every stage, but well, so be it. Sometimes I just want to bottle up her two-almost-three-year-old-ness and keep it forever in my heart.
I can’t do that, so a blog post will have to do.
– Mena is still introverted and shy, but I find that very sweet. And she is definitely becoming more and more sensitive. Philomena is starting to feel emotions more deeply, but she also gets over them quickly too. And yet, her attention span is seriously longer than mine.
– Contrary to what you might think and much to my dismay, she is really into bugs and all things creepy-crawly. [Except bees. She’s dramatically afraid of them. Thank you, Winnie the Pooh.] Nothing excites her more than holding a caterpillar or digging for “wormies.” And this is awful for me, because I have to pretend not to be totally freaked out. I am terrible at pretending.
– She’s kind of klutzy like her Mommy. Like, she can’t catch a ball for the life of her. She just kind of hold her hands there, and when the ball inevitably falls to the ground, she gleefully picks it off the ground and throws it back. [Yes, I realize this is a pretty important gross motor skill. We’re working on it. I promise!]
– One of Philomena’s most beautiful traits that I pray she never loses is her extraordinary empathy. I was in the hospital for three weeks [Long blog post to come! Sorry! However, I’m almost all better now.], so Mena’s world was completely turned upside down. Instead of tantrums or defiance, she faced this awful situation with mind-boggling flexibility and compassion. Every time she visited the hospital, she would give me so many “gentle pats,” because she knew I couldn’t hug. If I ever winced in pain (which was a lot), she would exclaim, “I love you sooooo much, Mommy!” Without anyone telling her to do so, she began “helping” me get out of bed, go the bathroom, etc. She would refuse to let anyone else bring me my slippers or water. The sweet nurses began referring to her as “Nurse Philomena,” a reality with which she was quite proud. She would often remind me, “I make you so happy, Mommy.” Indeed.
– About six months ago I remember complaining quite a bit about how she wouldn’t play independently for very long. Oh, how times have changed. Now she is a classic only child who will play by herself in her own little world for significant periods of time. She creates these weird and convoluted scenarios with whatever toys are in front of her. She talks and talks, but usually we have no idea what’s going on in her mind. She pretends certain people are with her (like friends or cousins), and they take trips to the zoo or Aldi or to church to pray for Mommy [we live such an exotic life].
– Since every Mommy blog must have some words about potty training [wink!], I suppose I should mention that Philomena is about 85% potty trained. She still wears a diaper during nap and bedtime, and we don’t plan on changing that anytime soon [sleep is just too precious for that kind of work]. Other than that, accidents are rare nowadays. The credit for this endeavor goes completely to my Mom. We kinda-sorta potty trained all summer, but three weeks with Grandma and bam! that’s it. [I am in denial about how much sugar was used for this feat.]
– I don’t want to pretend it’s all champagne and roses around here. [Is that the right expression?] I mean, Mena’s a toddler, so things have to be *just so* or she gets very upset. Like most toddlers, routine and method are so important to her. It’s infuriating at times, but it also is interesting to see her develop her own little world of logic and rules. And when her expectations *are* interrupted, she usually gets over her dismay very quickly. She outwardly reassures herself with such self-directed promises as, “SOMEDAY I will get to watch Curious George. Maybe after naptime.” Or, “SOMEDAY I will get some candy. Maybe tomorrow.” I refrain from pointing out that “someday” rarely comes about. That life lesson is for another day.
People often say [by “people” I mean random strangers], “oh, she’s sweet now, but just wait until she’s THREE! Three is so much worse than two.” Maybe they’re right, maybe not. Regardless, Ryan and I still are struck almost-daily by just how madly in love we are with this special girl. Our gratitude runs so deep for the gift of her life.