Wednesday, October 28, 2009


This morning we looked out over the Seine from between the green metal bars of a bridge's sidewalk. I crouched beside the stroller and counted out loud the trains that sped across a nearby railroad bridge, and le Petit laughed with joy each time one disappeared behind the buildings on the far bank. I pointed out the barges that passed below us.

"Trains and trucks and boats all at once. And look, there's a crane!" I felt like a hero, the coolest mom in the world, even as passersby stared as they stepped around us.

I reminded myself to write down how much I love age two.

When le Petit brings me a book and tugs me over to the couch; when I hear him shouting with joy "C'est maman!" behind the door when I arrive home from work; when I listen to him repeating stories and songs in his crib just after he wakes up, I'm certain: there's no better age than age two.

Then there are the objects strewn on the floor. The food dumped from the high chair, then eaten off the floor before I can manage to sweep it up. The protests at mealtime, at bathtime, at potty time, when five minutes later he's perfectly happy and protesting the next transition. Drinking glasses are dumped with precision on the floor the second I'm not looking. Bathwater is gulped down in the instant I turn my head. There are crashes and bumps and screams of refusal from seven or eight in the morning to around nine-thirty at night, when (with luck) we close the door of his bedroom for the night. Some days there is two hours' respite at nap time. Some days, like today, there isn't.

This is as it should be. It is hard work, just hard enough that I'm always demanded just a little more than I think I can handle with grace. I'm lucky to have a husband who does more than his share, so the rare week like this one, when he's away on business for three nights, feels especially hard. But I got le Petit fed, bathed, and off to bed in good order three nights in a row, so I'm in good shape.

And it is so fun watching le Petit start to understand his world as a child instead of as a baby. After the bridge, we went to the park and watched two men with a cherry picker hang Christmas lights in the trees. Le Petit never would have been so interested before. He constantly comments on what he's seen (although to my great frustration, I don't always understand). We're still treated to monologues on our adventures on vacation this summer.

So here's to two: to screams of joy and dismay, to abandoned naps, to I-must-do-it-all-by-myself, to pulling the refrigerator door open with purpose and running off with the milk bottle, to counting new things, to singing new songs, and to tossing an entire bowl of lentils on the floor with gusto.


Mom in France said...

How cheerful! I keep wondering when the two-ness will ease. Some days are just so fun with Boo so capable and funny. These moments are usually the ones where there are no other pressing outside issues ("time to do/go...") and he can just be himself and I'm not distracted with Little Guy or other things.

That's about 1% of the time. Adding on top of the transition pain is a new era of testing the limits with a whole new psychological component. Where now he knows the rules, repeats the rules and then gleeful breaks the rules. Or he willfully ignores me when I ask him either to do something or to stop doing something. Usually at least twice a day I'm at my wit's end with him and I thank my lucky stars that he's not at all a willful or difficult child in general.

This too shall pass. This too shall pass. This too shall pass.

Inki said...

Thank you for the wonderful description of the two-year-old! I love this age too :-)

Cloud said...

You've completely captured the wonder of two!

I love this age, too, despite the tantrums that make me feel like a mothering failure.

paola said...

So that's what that contraption is called. I've been calling it a 'crane' forever!

Parisienne Mais Presque said...

@Mom in France - I hear ya. I only have one kid, so I think the pressure is eased and I get to enjoy some of the two-ness more than I would if, like you, I had an infant as well!

@Cloud - I always tell myself that if I can keep from throwing a tantrum myself simultaneously (which isn't always the case), I'm not failing!

@Paola - I dug the term up from the bottom of my brain, then actually double-checked on the web to make sure I wasn't giving le Petit incorrect vocabulary. Sure enough, he remember it and talked about "bye bye cherry picker" today, so I'm glad I was precise. We also love cranes... there's one we can see from the window of our apartment building at the moment.

caramama said...

What a beautiful, poetic tribute to Two! I love it!

I'm having a lot of fun with this age too, dispite the tantrums.