Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Sweet Contradictions: Notes to My Daughter at 16 Months

1. You do not want anyone to help you. You want to climb the stairs, put away groceries (even gallons of milk too heavy for you to lift), sort your toys, and read books without assistance. While walking down the sidewalk, you sometimes throw yourself to the ground when the hindrance of held hands becomes too great of a compromise to your free spirit. You manage to make every muscle go simultaneously limp. You would be an excellent non-violent protestor. At the park, you climb the stairs, deftly moving between kids four times your size to get to the slide, then you throw yourself onto it head first as I catch the back of your shirt and right you for the descent. You are not pleased.

And yet, there are times, particularly in the evening, in the calm after dinner, in the waning sunlight, when you will not leave my side. I sit on the floor to play with you, and you climb into my lap, toss your little arms around my neck, and cling, burrowing your face into my shoulder, giggling. You want to be close. You want to be held.

2. Your clothes are a contradiction all their own. Your father insists (and is probably right) that socks are just extra and therefore do not need to match the rest of the outfit. He sometimes sends you to daycare with green polka-dotted socks in a pink striped outfit. And your shoes. Man, your shoes. Little girls shoes are ridiculous. They are all strappy and ill-fitting. They do not stay on your feet. You love your sneakers, these "boys shoes." They are bright orange and blue and clunky. They match just about nothing. But you can run, run, run in them. We put you in a cute spring dress the other day with some matching purple sandals. You walked like you had bricks on your feet, went into your bedroom, and emerged carrying your sneakers, which you promptly handed to me, looking at me with one eyebrow raised. "I thought we were going on a walk," you seemed to say. "Use your brain, mom."

3. You have learned to say "no." It is a very powerful word. You know that it means to stop, and--as you've seen us tell the dogs to stop wrestling or barking several times--you now tell them "no" just about every time they move. They don't listen to you any better than us, though, so it's probably okay. You answer questions, but sometimes the power of the "no" seems to trick you.

"Do you want ice cream?" "No," you say, shaking your head from side to side for emphasis. Fine, more ice cream for me. Then you start wailing and grabbing my hand as I eat the last of it. "Consequences," I tell you. "Words have consequences." You are not impressed. I get more ice cream. This is a lesson best learned slowly.


  1. You love your sneakers, these "boys shoes." They are bright orange and blue and clunky.

    She is, of course, gearing up to go running. ;)

    1. :) Well, she certainly has the energy for it!