Except for the fact that she is still pretty much a mute, Scarlett has embraced this whole toddler phase heart and soul. She would still prefer to be held over anything else, but we have on our hands, ladies and gentleman, a bonafide walker.
Albeit a pretty rickety commencement, the girl puts a resolve into each and every cautious step she takes on -- that I have to say, for her, is surprising. For a kid who typically whimpers at even the slightest discomfort, she puts an impressive tenacity into keeping upright to get around. Last night I counted somewhere around forty bottom-crashing thumps to the floor in between the time she woke up from her second nap, and bed. She must average somewhere close to seventy in any given day. Still, time and time again she gets back up to teeter on those two, little thunder-thigh legs scarcely long enough to make it just another few steps.
It is adorable.
It’s not her fault that she doesn’t get far. If it weren’t for Matthew thundering through the house with wild-eyed inhibition like only three years of testosterone can, she’d probably be just fine getting around at the slow and steady pace she likes to keep. But, much to her chagrin sometimes, Matthew exists. And therefore, her getting very far does not.
He doesn’t usually (USUALLY) bump into her, but all it really takes to knock her off course is getting close enough to send her long, thin lashes flickering nervously over her eyes. And that, he does pretty often.
Sunday night we put almost all of our living room furniture out on the curb to make room for the new suit we’re getting handed down from my in-laws today. It ended up raining for the past few days which stopped us from being able to get it sooner, so our living room -- except for a Christmas tree, a fireplace, a set of end, and coffee tables, and a basket of books that’ll sit on the floor next to our new reading chair -- is pretty barren. I.e. perfect stomping grounds for a girl like Scarlett! And when we put her down in the newly emptied room, that’s what her thoughts were, exactly. She immediately squealed, and went scampering off (at least as fast as she possibly could) into the vacant space wielding a great big, bunny-toothed grin.
And for about three and a half minutes she played in a rapture of independence, turning in all different directions just to see how it feels to walk a little bit over here compared to over there, or over there compared to by the window, taking eight, nine, even ten steps at a time without being knocked to the ground!… Before he came in… running, as per usual, at a reckless, absurd speed in her direction. He threw himself headfirst into the pile of throw pillows left in the center of the area rug, leaving the rest of his body to flip heels over head. He didn’t touch Scarlett, but a pillow did. And so she fell to the floor, and she looked up at me, and she cried.
“Lovey,” I said, pulling her together; Matthew apologizing sincerely in the background. “You are gonna have to grow some gonads if you are ever to survive siblinghood with a brother like him and a sister like Mary. I don’t know what else to tell you. You’re kind of stuck with them at this point.”
Well, I guess I can assume that for once, my words did not fall on deaf ears. Because yesterday, when I left my children’s side to grab a load of laundry, I was called back (AS PER USUAL) by a shrill, blood-curdling shriek that sounded like it was coming from my daughter -- and my son? Not half a second later, I turn the corner just in time to find them yowling battle cries at top volume, and running directly at each other on a frantic blur of hands and knees as fast as they can -- before, BOOM! Scarlett lowers her head, Matthew raises himself up just a bit, and the two of them plow into each other like a couple of drunk motorists playing chicken, falling to the floor in a heap and bubbling with laughter.
It was adorable.
Matthew helped her up and made sure she was okay before running a few feet away, meeting her with a mischievous gaze, and doing it all over again. Scarlett shrieked, feigning terror, but smiling so wide her eyes disappeared behind bulging cheeks. She tossed her head barbarically from side to side and charged at him just as fast as he charged at her.
They did it a good four or five times before I finally pulled them apart, and even though they both took with them a few good bumps, not once did either one of them stop to cry.
“Well look who’s come out of her shell!” I said, scooping her up with a playful swing and suspending her over my head. “Letting our hair down a bit, are we?”