One day not too long ago, my 2-year-old, Eliza, was having a very 2-year-old day. She said “no” more times than I could count. She stomped her feet and stuck out her lip. If I asked her to go this way, she went that way. If I asked her to go that way, she stood still. If I said, “Fine, then, stand still,” she would run at me and try to bite me.
I scooped her up in my arms, held her close and said, “Oh, Eliza, you’re my little wild child.”
“No! I not wild child. I Liza!” she yelled before taking off again.
She was right. She is a wild child, but she is still Eliza, the little girl who can frustrate me and still manage to make me smile.
I knew I had to get her out of the house, so I packed up the kids and hit the park. My son took off running through the dirt, not caring at all about the grass clippings sticking to his shoes or the bottom of his pants getting wet. My daughter, in her very 2-year-old mood, took one look at the dewy ground and demanded to be carried.
I scooped her up in my arms, held her close and said, “Oh, Eliza, you’re just a little princess, aren’t you?”
“No! I not the princess. I Liza!” she yelled before kicking out of my arms and onto the ground.
She was right. That girl is the furthest thing from a princess. She’s what I call a bruiser – rough, always ready to wrestle and a huge fan of tackling her big brother. She might be a little particular at times, but that’s only part of what makes her Eliza.
Shortly into our trip, my son came over to me whining because he didn’t remember to bring the toy he wanted to bring to the park. He simply COULDN’T enjoy his time at the park without this toy. Life IS GOING TO END because this toy, instead of being at the park, was lying neglected on the floor in our house.
My eyes drifted across the playground to my daughter, who had snapped out of her very 2-year-old mood and couldn’t care less that she didn’t have a toy with her. She ran over to me with a huge smile on her face.
I scooped her up in my arms, held her close and said, “Oh, Eliza, that’s why you’re my favorite.”
“No! I not the favorite. I Liza!”
She was right. She isn’t my favorite. My son isn’t my favorite, either. Once in a while, I’ll tell one of them that they are my favorite. In some moments, it’s true. There are times when one is being cool and the other is not. In that moment, one child is definitely not my favorite. When Eliza is having a very 2-year-old kind of day, she usually is not my favorite.
Not too long after that, I sat on a bench and watched my goofy girl chase her big brother up the ladders and down the slides. She marveled at the “big kids” who could pump their legs and swing “high as the sky.” Then she took a tumble and instantly ran to her momma.
I scooped her up in my arms, held her close and said, “Oh, Eliza, you’re still my little baby, aren’t you?”
“No! I not the baby. I Liza!” she yelled before brushing off her scraped knee and heading back to the jungle gym.
She was right. She isn’t a baby. She’ll always be my baby, of course, but she really isn’t a baby anymore. She is a toddler, and before I know it, she’ll be a teenager. She’ll be running away to parties and suffering broken hearts instead of scraped knees. I know this is coming, which is why I try to make the most of our little moments together now, while I can.
I started to feel overcome with emotion as I watched her scurry around the playground, her wild toddler hair sticking straight out of her head. How many more moments will I have like this? Those moments when you look at your baby and just KNOW that everything about that moment is perfection?
Before we left the playground, I scooped her up in my arms, gave her a kiss and said, “Oh, Eliza, you’re my sweet, crazy little Liza.”
“I not Liza! I poop!”
Yep, it was a very 2-year-old kind of day.