-- pretend she’s a dinosaur.
-- stomp her right foot in place of saying ‘no.’
-- make everyone in the room kiss her baby doll.
-- point to colors we ask her to find.
-- Compulsively stop crying, no matter how upset she is, when someone starts to sing.
-- Hold my hand when she walks somewhere. (I.E. is actually willing to walk next to me as an alternative to being in my arms. I LIKE THIS ABOUT HER.)
-- Go positively ape shit when you say, “I’m-a gonna get you-u!”
-- Laugh so hard that a screeching noise comes out when she tries to breath back in.
-- Drink from a regular cup without a lid.
(She has been practicing this one for MONTHS, much to my chagrin.)
-- Get SO EXCITED when I get her up in the morning or after a nap that she bounces up and down at the rails of her crib, shrieking. (I might love this about her most of all.)
-- Feed off of anyone’s excitement tenfold with a cherry on top. (Or this.)
-- Walk around with both her thumbs pressed into her armpits. I couldn’t tell you why, but it has got to be the cutest damned thing I have ever seen a baby do without knowing it was cute.
-- Prefer to play with gender opposite things like keys and cars, dump trucks and dinosaurs… She’s your basic tomboy, that way. Even her baby doll, whom she loves dearly, spends half it’s stage-time getting battered and abused by siblings in the name of making Scarlett laugh. Sure, kissing baby dolls is fun. But throwing them against a window? Now THAT is entertainment.
-- Mimic words beyond “binky” and “bottle” to say small phrases like, “what’s-at?” or “Where’da go?”
-- Hold a shrug while she looks around when she’s trying to find something.
-- Mimic singing, which is especially amusing because of the fact that she can’t actually say any of the words yet. (Even better: she looks around the room while she’s doing it like she’s trying to play it off, hoping no one will notice that she’s basically just mumbling if she bobs her head a lot and doesn’t look directly at anyone.)
-- Laugh. At. EVERYTHING.
-- Ask to brush her teeth exactly 300 times a day.
-- Unlike her brother at this age, not scare easily.**
-- Dip her face into bathtub bubbles and then look up with a beard and squeal, MOMMA!! at the top of her lungs so that I’ll take a picture.
-- Want to be passed from Spencer to me, to Spencer, to me, to Spencer, to me because she JUST. CAN’T. DECIDE. between us.
-- Point to her body parts. You can even make her fall over if you want to by asking her to point to her foot while she’s standing. It is hilarious. You have my permission.
-- Bring me (or point to) letters, chanting their sounds.
-- Pretend to read stories to herself in LIEU OF getting into and/or totally destroying stuff. (THIS ONE IS PRETTY COOL, TOO.)
-- Pull clothes out of her bottom two drawers and try to (I.E. fail completely at) putting them on herself.
-- Pat her belly whenever she’s naked.
-- Hold her hands behind her back and pace the room.
-- Blow on food - even food that’s supposed to be cold, before she takes a bite.
-- Throw herself to floor when she doesn’t get her way five minutes prior to, or following, a nap.
-- Say HI DADA!! Whenever she sees a trash truck.
-- Say HI POP-POP!! whenever she sees a man (whether he’s 25 or a 106; a hundred pounds sopping wet or as big around as a shopping mall Santa) with a white beard and a mustache. That is apparently the only prerequisite there is for being a pop-pop. (There are a lot of pop-pops in our bible stories. I have a hard time correcting her about it. That’s okay though.. Matthew thought our pastor was God until he was two.) J
-- Blow kisses whenever somebody says I love you, no matter how many times they say it.
-- Learn that if she sucks momma into an unassuming game of peek-a-boo before she leaves the room at bedtime, SHE IS TRAPPED. This damn kid is so quick to hide again that I’m always left with the only option of sneaking out when her face is under the blanket, anxiously waiting to pop-out -- and come on, that’s just mean.
-- Put her binky into another person’s mouth and then take it out backward using only her teeth. And then, of course, laugh so hard with the binky in her teeth that she falls backward, and laughs more.
**Okay, so, Scarlett fell down the stairs the other day, which I’m thinking is probably not a very big shock to anyone whose ever met a seventeen month old. We have done everything within our jurisdiction to keep this child off of those steps, but I swear it’s like she has the iron will of a teenager. If she wants to do it, SHE WILL FIND A WAY. Anyway, there was blood, like, everywhere. It looked so bad. As soon as I cleaned all of it away I touched her nose to see how tender it was, and she laughed so hard I could see all of her teeth. I was already starting to think she had a pretty sick sense of humor, but that put me over the edge.
(It’s cool though, I like that about her, too.)
Speaking of Scarlett’s sick sense of humor, a few days later, Mary dressed Matthew up in his army fatigue costume and the both of them used Halloween face paint to make themselves up like war zombies. (Only my kids, right?) Mary woke Scarlett up from her nap that way, and all Scarlett did was point to her gothed-out face in this drunken state of sleepiness and chirp: MAR-MIE! no less cheerily than she always does. When Matthew leapt at her a second later (with a plastic dagger, no less), roaring so loudly it hurt MY throat, Scarlett just laughed and roared back. Tough nut, that kid…
On that note, I realized recently that I’ve officially lost the ability to fathom what life must have been like before Scarlett was a part of our family. I know that it used to be that way -- that our family hugs had a different shape; that what we envisioned when we thought of love - of family - was smaller, less than what it is now; and that the energy of our home was a far cry from the kaleidoscopic entanglement of personality and mood and color that it is with her thrown into the mix… but I don’t see it anymore. It’s like it’s painted over completely by what we are now. If I try, I can remember that it used to be another color, our life, and I can even look at pictures of what it used to look like back then, but I’m forgetting. And when I do look back anymore, I think of every point in time in terms of before or after loving her happened to us.
She magnifies us, this little piece of sunshine we have now. Each one of us, so that everything about us is bigger, louder and brighter than it used to be. She bounces from one of us to the other, like light piercing glass. She took something that was beautiful just the way that it was and she made us somehow better. She reflects these little pieces of our personalities and she turns them into something of her own, so that we see it in a rainbow of colors on the wall. Accidentally perfect. She makes us take notice of each other a little more that way, forces us see each other a little more clearly, to appreciate each other for what it is exactly - good, bad, and unintentional - that we bring to the circle.
She is this quietly brilliant, incredible force among us. I love that about her.