Lila Discovers Steeleye Span

“Mama,” Lila said this morning at breakfast, waving around the flimsy plastic cover of her YoBaby, which was the only part of the product she was interested in. “This is carrot cake.”
“Because you like it so much?”
“Mmm hmmm. Also I like chocolate cake.”
“Maybe we will have chocolate cake or carrot cake for your birthday,” I said. “Hey, Lila, how old are you?”
“Two in May,” she replied immediately, her response hard-wired into her last year at this time.
“No-ooo-ooo…” I said. “Try again.”
“Sixteen?”

In fact, she will be three in May. Three. For completely arbitrary reasons, I believe this means she should go to school this September. Those reasons are: I went to school at age three in September. So did my two sisters and so did their kids. I could keep her home. After all, I love having her around, even when I’m mostly ignoring her and letting her watch “Elmo’s World.” I like our parallel play. I like the way she races around the downstairs bare-bottomed and shrieks with glee whenever she pees on the potty. Best of all, I love when she and Johnny make each other giggle. She takes his face in her hands and squeaks, “Johnny, oh, Johnny Moaney!” Whatever that means.

Lila has just begun her Everything Poop phase. I blame her cousins. She inserts the word “poop” into sentences, followed by squeals of laughter on every occasion, and mostly I ignore it. Today, she made some poopy/raspberry sounds with her mouth, then turned her back and stuck her butt in my face and shouted, “I poop you!” and shrieked and ran around in circles. At first I rolled my eyes and said, “That’s not nice, Lila,” all prissy-like. But six-month-old Johnny, who was nursing, pulled off my breast and cackled. This encouraged Lila, who repeated, “I pooped you!” complete with wiggling butt several times, each time being rewarded with that most divine of all sounds, a baby’s laughter. So I joined in, of course, making poopy sounds and laughing too. I regard this as recovery and a great personal evolution.

She’s so delicious. Today as we were snuggling, she whispered, “I love you.” Tonight as I was cooking up my red cabbage and Brussels sprouts and singing “All Around My Hat,” she said, “I like that song, Mama. Mama, let’s sing that song in HooteNanny.”

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