Saturday, May 31, 2008

52 Weeks

Well, here it is, the big 5-2. Her birthday is not until Monday, but I am writing this for today’s date anyway. I’m not sure how long to continue writing these weekly things. She’s always doing new stuff, and it hasn’t gotten any easier to capture it all. I still miss things, which is why it takes me so long to post these. There’s always something I want to go back and add, something funny she did that I remember later.

She’s obsessed with eyes. She pokes us in the eyes constantly saying “Eyes? Eyes? Eyes.” She pokes the cats in the eyes while saying it. She reaches for the corners of strangers’ eyes and tries to caress the eyelids of sleeping babies. When we stop to pet a friendly dog she pats its head a few times, then goes right for the eyes. She has a book featuring a crab with tentacled “wiggly eyes,” and she uses her fingers to investigate these while saying “Eyes? Eyes?” She reaches up for my glasses and yanks them off. “Eyes,” she says firmly while touching my eyelids. “Eyes.” She considers my glasses, fingering them and smearing the lenses with little fingerprints. “Eyes,” she says while poking mine. She tries to put my glasses back on my face. “Eyes. Eyes.” She takes them off again. “Eyes.” We do this for ten minutes before she spies a cat and goes to try and poke its eyes.

She carries things around the house when she walks, so I am constantly finding Babylegs in the bathroom, or toys under the computer desk, or dirty laundry in her bedroom, or my underwear stuffed into a kitchen drawer. Things disappear from where they should be and reappear elsewhere, as though spirited by elves.

Last night we went to the bookstore, to kill some time and get out of the house for a while. She was delighted to walk around, yanking things off shelves and saying “Book? Book? Book? Book!” She knocked over stacks of them and picked up one and carried it around and dropped it and picked up another and carried it and dropped it somewhere else, all while saying “Book? Book? BOOK? BOOK?” The word surprised both Ryan and me, it was plain as day, the fully-formed b, the round o, the sharp k. We are always a little taken aback when a new word comes out, because she talks and babbles and coos all the time, and we understand her words for things, but it’s a surprise to hear a real word thrown in there.

All her words have a limited life span, though. She’ll start saying a new one, and use it constantly for a week or two, then it will disappear, rarely to be heard from again. I think we are working away from that, though. Right now there is the constant “Eyes? Eyes? Eyes?” but she also says “Dada!” whenever Ryan walks through the door and carries around her books going “Book? Booook? Book?” But she doesn’t say things like “hi” or “yum” or “good” (or, um, “Mama”) that she said a lot when she was younger.

These days there is a lot of screeching to get things she wants. If I’m standing at the counter typing on my laptop, she will yank on my clothes and scream when she wants my attention. Sometimes she pinches me, too. If I’m sitting on the couch and she wants up there, she stands in front of me and grits her teeth and screeches until I pick her up. If she’s frustrated, if she can’t reach something she wants, if we pick her up and carry her down the cereal aisle because we’d like to get out of the grocery store some time before we have to register her for kindergarten, she screams. All day long, it’s screaming, screeching, and more screaming.

We have become the parents you see headed out of a store muttering to themselves while clutching a screaming, kicking child under one arm. Most people either stare blatantly or avert their eyes in these situations, but whenever we see this happening to someone else now, we catch the other parents’ eyes and offer a look of sympathy. Of course, when we are out of eyesight of the other parents, we look at each other and smile in relief because some kid is screaming and thank God it’s not ours this time.

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