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.