Naomi is now two and a half years old, in the stage many parents refer to as “The Terrible Twos,” although they haven’t been that bad for us, there is a big difference in Naomi’s willingness to obey. A few months ago, noticing her increasingly complex methods of disobedience, I remarked, “Your brain is getting bigger: You’re learning to sin in more elaborate ways.” She promptly reached up and felt around on her head. I had no idea she knew where her brain was. I wonder when she absorbed that. (We did teach her where her spleen is, because we have a friend who likes to tease the little ones by asking the location of the spleen, after the more traditional nose, ears, etc.)
Among the many things that amaze me is Naomi’s ability to completely ignore the commands we give her. She does so without giving the slightest inidication that she actually heard us say anything. She does this without regard to the urgency or volume of the command given. It’s amazing. I remember the other kids having “selective hearing,” but had forgotten how extreme it can be.
Not long after age two, NaNi announced when I got home, “My spankings all done, Daddy.” I was amazed. “You’re all done getting spankings?” “Yes.” “You mean, you’ve decided to choose to be obedient?” She replied in her sweetest, most singsong voice, as if to tell me how silly I was, “Oh, noooo.”
Another time, David was being verbally corrected for something he’d been told to do but neglected. NaNi grabbed a wooden spoon out of the drawer, held it in one hand while tapping her other hand with it, and announced with glee, “Spankin’ time!”
“By myself” and “I did it myself” have become her new mantras. She wants to do everything she can herself. She can crack and cook eggs (with supervision), helps out with the laundry, and pushes to do everything from pour a full container of juice (not a good idea) to dress herself (which she does very well, with about the same propensity of getting things inside-out as David exhibits).
She also likes to quote movies and other things we watch. Before her second birthday, she’d run around saying, “Demon llama! Aaaaaaaaaaah!” from The Emperor’s New Groove. Now she will come up with, “I’m a dirty skunk?!” (from Buggs Bunny), or “You little rascal!” and she can even do the entire “Niagara Falls” dialog from The Three Stooges. (Of course, she won’t do this on command, so I haven’t gotten it on tape yet. :: sigh ::)
She loves to sing. I am always moved when she sings, “I Stand in Awe of You,” a worship song. She’ll often be heard singing Sunday school songs or the songs in Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang, which seems to be a particular favorite of late. NaNi dances, too. She loves to mimic the dances in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or the “Me Old Bamboo” song from Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang. She also makes up her own dances, including a beautiful one she does to the credit music of Finding Nemo. Her favorite thing to do is pirouette, and we have to keep a dress or two on hand that she can put on because she loves the way the skirt flares out when she does that.
One time when NaNi was preventing me from working at the computer, I asked her to go bother Isaac instead. She was very, very skilled at this. She started with sticking out her tongue at him a few times, with appropriate sound effects. When that didn’t produce the desired result, she walked over to him and started slapping him all over. Then she tried to push him out of his chair. This skill must be instinctive in little sisters.
Whenever we’re in the car, NaNi urges me to, “Do Burnout, Dad. Crash the cars!” (Referring to the style of driving in one of our favorite games for the Xbox.) Then she’ll add, “Pleeeeeeeease. Pretty pleeeeeeeeeeeease.” I can imagine the result, “But, officer, she asked so nicely …”
Before Isaac’s birthday, I was asking Isaac about who he was going to invite. I teased him about Amy, a girl who follows him around constantly. I asked Isaac if he was going to invite her, and NaNi interjected, “Amy not come, Amy’s a slacker!”
Naomi has also learned to use the computer mouse effectively, at exactly the same age Isaac and David did.
She nearly completely potty-trained herself mostly before her second birthday. (she still wets a bit, so she gets Pull-Ups; we’re not pushing the issue, especially as she can change her own Pull-Up.) And for some reason, she prefers to flush the toilet with her foot.
Someone taught her to ask, “Are we there yet?” That person will be found and punished appropriately. (For the record, NaNi claims to have taught herself that particular clause.) Generally, though, she merely asks, “Where are we going?” repeatedly while we are out.
She’s been riding a bike with training wheels for many months now, and has taken it on short trips (about a block). Saturday she wanted to ride it to the park, so I accompanied her. She actually rode the entire 1.11 miles all by herself, only stopping to throw some rocks in a puddle. Then she spent the next hour and a half playing in the park, and climbing like a monkey on a spider-web-resembling 7-foot-high climbing thing. Her upper body and arm strength has improved rapidly in the past few months, and it really shows in the things she is able to do while climbing. She can also now climb into the treehouse on our swingset, and is trying very hard to master the monkey bars.
I love all her jokes. Tonight she had a blue tongue (from drinking a blue-colored soft drink), and Nichelle commented, “You have a blue tongue, what have you been drinking?” NaNi’s laughing response: “Bath water.”
One of the things that most impressed and intrigued me of late was when she and Nichelle were talking about her third birthday (not until October). Naomi said that she wanted to invite Cody. Cody is Isaac’s friend, but NaNi is in love with him. Nichelle said that Cody was a little too old to invite to her birthday party, so NaNi suggested, “I’ll take off my head, and put Isaac’s head on. Then Cody can come.” She also tried to pull off her head, and later that night asked Nichelle, “Mommy, [will] you cut my head off?” What simple brilliance!
I shouldn’t be surprised at all this, though; after all, she is Naomi Wilcox.