If someone asked me to describe a two-year old in three words, I would say: Independent. Determined. Fun. Watching Elly's mind develop and observing her piecing together the world around her has been an incredible and rewarding experience. With each successful task her confidence builds. This is always followed by a proclamation of "Elly do it!"
Elly's determination is fierce. At times, she strikes me as an old soul. She is a precocious little gal and often wants to do things on her own. Totally. Without being shown. Elly will often approach a task like someone who has done it before, but just not in a long while. Some things she does manage to figure out, other things can be trickier. Take for example, trying to zipper a jacket before the two sides have been connected. Knowing that she is unlikely to figure it out without instruction, I suggest showing her how to zip it and then letting her do it. And then her independence kicks in. "Beep, beep Daddy. Elly show you!" If we're just playing, how long it takes doesn't matter. But when I'm trying to get out the door, it can require some extra patience.
Take this common soundtrack, for example:
"Elly, do you want to go to the park with Betty?"
"Ok then, let's get your shoes on."
"No, no shoes! Bye-bye? Walk?"
"Yup, we're going to go to the park but we have to put shoes on first" I say as I begin to chase her around the house.
"No. No shoes! Bye-bye? Walk? Park? Hold the leash?"
"If we put your shoes on, we can go bye-bye to the park."
"Bye-bye? Walk? Park? Hold the leash?..."
Note that this is merely an excerpt of the five-minute dialogue that ensues. And while Elly and I are engaged in this Paso Doble, Betty starts up her concerto of whining. And honestly, who can blame the dog? The poor thing has been tormented by hearing an endless repetition of many of her favorite words: "walk", "park" and "leash" while also seeing a flurry of activity indicating that some activity seems quite likely. So to the corralling of Elly and the wrestling to get shoes on, we add Betty trotting in circles, whining and then ultimately howling, concerned that this somehow this trek is going to go down without her. By this time, I have about as much desire to leave the house as I do to hear any Taylor Swift song ever again.
And it doesn't end there. When I finally have Elly clad in what she needsto wear then begins her accessorizing routine. This generally includes a pocketbook or three, a hat, a necklace and a winter scarf. Occasionally, Daddy has had to put down his pump and veto one of her choices like the day she insisted on wearing Crocs out though we were blanketed in two feet of February snow. But in order to forego another ten minutes of chasing, I have adopted a new rule of thumb: as long as her ensemble looks less ridiculous than Little Edie from Grey Gardens or Princess Beatrice at William and Kate's wedding, then I let it slide. Because God willing, we'll get to the park by sundown. "Elly push the stroller?"