I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while now, leaving my long blog hibernation to mark the wonderful occasion of your second birthday. Its title was going to be ‘Happy New Kitchen Day!’ as that’s what we gave you as a gift, and on the day itself we managed to exhaust you with endless questions about your age and your presents, so that you ended up answering What day is it today? by saying New Kitchen! (and you’ve only recently stopped saying two, when someone asks your name!)
But more than a month has passed and I am still struggling with how to answer the question ‘What are you like as a two year old?’, with how to put you into words (of which you have so many now to string together like bright beads making necklace sentences, all the colours of the rainbow).
So I will stop trying to find the right answer, and tell you about today. It is just an ordinary Thursday, but not so ordinarily, it is just the two of us, all day. No plans, no play-dates, no playgrounds. Something which used to terrify me, but now I treasure.
It has been a day of naming things, which is very important to you right now. You are no longer satisfied with generic answers like toy or flower when you ask what’s that? Now you insist what’s its name?
First we named one of your dolls, who has always been just Baby, calling her Sophie (which you say in the sweetest way, as s isn’t easy for you) after the little girl in your current favourite book ‘The Tiger who came to tea’.
Next I taught you one of the only flower names I know, lantana, when we walked past it, as we have done so many times, on our way out for morning coffee. On our way home we picked one each, and carried them home, leaving a trail of little flame coloured flowers and the scent of guava.
And then, we decided to name the day too: five-pairs-of-trousers day.
The first pale pink pair pair had to be changed when you slipped outside on the terrace wearing your purple boots, not while jumping in puddles or pushing your buggy, but while trying to sweep away last night’s rain down the drain.
The second purple-grey pair had to be changed when we didn’t quite make it to the ‘big big toilet’ in time for you to ‘do a wee-wee in it’, which usually we do, numerous times a day, as it’s currently one of your favourite activities.
The third denim-blue pair had to be changed when you managed to open the bottle of orange juice all by yourself and spill some on the Starbucks armchair you were sitting on (and for perhaps the first time in 2 years I didn’t have a change of clothes for you in my bag- having already used it in the morning and not believing you could possibly need another pair of trousers today!)
Back at home the fourth bright pink pair, a birthday gift from the concierge, had to be changed after a matter of minutes when we had another little accident, my fault this time, misjudging your position when I put you on our crazy blue broken toilet seat. (It’s a miracle that you are even willing to sit on it- but it has become normal for you- so much so that you are always surprised when other toilets in other places are not broken!)
And the fifth (and hopefully final) pair-a pretty pink gift from an Italian fairy godmother-you are wearing now as you nap (although I’m not sure they’ll survive the painting and cooking I have planned for the afternoon!).
When you wake shortly, I will ask what you dreamed of, as I often do, and I’m sure you’ll reply niente! (nothing), one of the words you always say in Italian and with a smile, in answer to all manner of questions (What do you want for breakfast? What’s in your tummy? What are you thinking about on the swing?). It always makes me think of the Italian expression, ‘dolce far niente’ -it’s sweet to do nothing.
Today has been like that, a sweet day with my sweet girl, that I want to remember forever. Like all of them.
Taken shortly after your 2nd birthday. Today you wore the same top, with all five pairs of trousers!