Just when I was thinking about the importance of family–and distance–I got a big old jolt of it in the form of a 2-year-old energizer bunny; my 17-years-old niece Z had dropped off (yikes, since when can my baby niece drive!) her baby sister M with me very early this morning. I know I had bed hair and no makeup on, but M’s shrieks upon looking at meÂ really gave me an inferiority complex. Well, the shrieks and also the clinging to Z for dear life. Do I look that bad in the morning?
Luckily, my furkids came out to sniff her and provided a great distraction so that Z could stealthily slip out the door before M could howl again. And right on cue, as I refilled the stray kitten’s bowl outside, he came bouncing toward us and magically M clung on to me, pulling my hair in excitement every time the kitten looked at her. Her shrieks of fear now turned into peals of laughter. Is there anything more delicious than the uncensored laughter of children?
If you’ve looked after a toddler, you’d laugh at me. You do that day after day like the superhero that you are, and I can barely change a diaper without being traumatized. How can something so cute and tiny make poop the size of their heads? And why can’t they sit still for like one second so you can get out of your pjs? Is it wrong to feed her watermelon and popcorn? In hindsight I would skip on the watermelon as that only made diaper changes more frequent.
M’s mom texted me about M’s nap time between 11am and 2pm. She’s joking, right? I texted back: how do I make her nap? By 12.30pm M had shown no sign of winding down, and she needed to be entertained constantly. Earlier we’d tried Skyping her grandparents and the novelty of that lasted about 3 minutes before she tossed my laptop aside and went barreling down the stairs. This is after we’d been running up and down the stairs for about 40 times. She also insisted on doing the stairs in these flip flops:
Finally I turned on some music from my phone and the dancing did the trick. Who knew Echo & the Bunnymen would be my lifesaver! We jumped up and down until her eyelids got heavy. I asked if she was ready to nap and she grabbed her stuffed penguin and did not resist when I put her in bed. I’m pooped; it’s me who needed the nap!
An hour later she popped right up, ready for round two. It’s not so much the boundless energy that wiped me out; it’s the swath of hurricane-like mess that she left behind in her fervor. I was chasing after her and tidying up in the same breath. Â I don’t remember being such a mess as a child; if you ask my parents they’d probably tell you I’ve always been neurotically OCD since childhood. Everything had to be neat and clean and placed just so or I’d have a fit. I was starting to wonder how M and I could be related…that is until she picked up this heavy shopping bag and gleefully dragged it all around the house…
But the clincher was that she threw a tantrum and pouted when I tried to take it out of her hands and then batted her lashes at me until I gave her the shopping bag back…
We areÂ totally related!