Today you turn thirty-four months old.
You astound me every day with the things you say and, especially, the way you say them. Recently, the word "fubar" has entered your vocabulary, and I can't even describe the shock when I first heard you say it. "Where did she learn that from?" I asked your dad, who was just as clueless as I was. I heard you use it a few more times, but never with enough context to make it comprehensible. Then, last weekend, we were watching Curious George, one of your favourite movies. "Give me a hug, you little furball!" The Man in the Yellow Hat (aka Ted) enthused to his monkey friend, and you immediately echoed, "Give me a hug, you little fubar!" Ahhhh. Enlightenment! Furball, when translated into your particular accent, becomes fubar. This was confirmed when we looked after your grandparents' dog, Fritz, for a couple of days: you repeatedly referred to him as a "little fubar".
Speaking of Fritz, boy, you sure loved having him around. I think it's because you finally had someone in the household you outranked. You talked to him nonstop, and wore him out pretty darn well. Typical monologue: "Fritz! Fritzy. Fritz. Come! Come! Come come come come come! Fritz, come! Here! Right! Now! Fritz, you can do it! You can do it! You can do it! You can do it! Come on, Fritz! Come! Come! Come! Come here! Fritz! Come! Come on, Fritz!" (Repeat for approximately seven billion hours, or until bedtime, whichever is later.)
You are starting to get very interested in imaginative play, and will make your animals or dolls talk to each other. Strangely, their conversations always centre around one thing: the need for a tissue. It usually goes something like this:
Horse: Hello! I'm a horse!
Cow (in slightly different voice): And I'm a cow!
Horse: How are you today?
Cow: I'm fine! But I need a tissue! Will you get one for me?
Horse: Sure! (Goes and gets a tissue.)
Cow: (makes nose-blowing noises) Thank you!
Horse: You're welcome! Now I need a tissue! Will you get one for me?
Cow: Sure! (Goes and gets a tissue.)
Horse: (makes nose-blowing noises) Ahh, much better!
I have heard countless variations on this script from dozens of characters; the dialogue repeats endlessly, with a great many tissues being harmed in the process. Most curiously, I have never heard you, Gwen, in your own voice and speaking for your self, ask for a tissue or show any interest in one when it is offered. Your brain is a fascinating place.It's not only your animals that talk to each other. Recently, you have begun having dialogues with your own extremities as well. Your hands talk to each other in the manner of sock puppets, even when they are not adorned with an actual sock; your feet talk to each other, too, and you scrunch and unscrunch your toes to imply a moving mouth. After a meal, for example, as I fetch a wet cloth to clean you up, your right hand tells me, "Mama! I need to be cleaned!" and your left hand pipes up, "I need to be cleaned, too!"
Recently we went to visit your Grannie Maureen and Grandpa Ron in Powell River for a weekend, just you and I. We had a great time: it was a very relaxing and low-key trip, with no schedules, no big family gatherings, no obligatory commitments. You really enjoyed hanging out with your grandparents, and showing off all your skills to them. The high point of the trip, I think, was when Great Grandpa came to visit and we all had dinner together. He got such a kick out of you! At dinner, someone made Grandpa Ron laugh and he slapped the table with his hand. You were fascinated by the noise this made and tried to duplicate it yourself - but since your hand is a lot smaller than Grandpa's, it didn't quite work, so you asked Grandpa to do it again. He told you he would do it again if you made him laugh, so you decided to tell a knock-knock joke. Weirdly enough, you used to tell this joke pretty effectively, but it has morphed into something else in recent months.
Grandpa: Who's there?
Grandpa: Banana who?
Gwen: I didn't say CAKE!
The last word is always something different, usually some random item that your eyes fall on as you tell the joke, and the phrase is delivered in the same coy, sing-song voice every time. You obviously find it hilarious, and that makes your audience find it hilarious, just not for the reason you think.One of your current fascinations is with space, and planets. Your Grandpa Keith recently built you a rocketship out of a dishwasher box, and Grandma Karen decorated it with her usual flair. I've got to admit, I wish I was small enough to fit inside - it's a really cool rocketship! They even bought you a space suit to wear, though you're not too interested in that yet. You love to "blast off" into space, and talk a lot about the planets and their names and features. (You learned them from a song on Blue's Clues.) On the rare moments when you are out at night - for example, when we come home from a dinner at your grandparents' house - you are so excited to see the moon and stars. Your dad is pretty happy that you're interested in something so scientific - he calls you a junior astronomer.I can't believe that you're almost three years old. You seem really big to me these days - so competent, and independent, and such a full person. Contrary to the stereotype, I never found your babyhood all that intoxicating - I think I love you so much more, now, than I did then (and I loved you a LOT back then, too!). It's just so cool to get to know you as yourself, a person I can relate to and interact with and build a relationship with. I really do feel so incredibly lucky to be your Mama. And in the past few weeks, you've started telling me you love me too - the feeling I get when I hear you say that, well, it never gets old.