Lately whenever I come into a room where Ivy has been playing on her own for a while, I find a perfect little row of something: robot blocks arranged neatly, side-by-side, according to color. Tiny plastic pigs standing in an expectant row. A stuffed-animal kick-line.
She's in no hurry to be a "big girl" (if you use that phrase with her, you're likely to hear, "No, I'm a baby!"), and when you ask her to do something for herself, she comes back with, "Can you do it?" On the other hand, she's more than happy to help me with my work: she unloads the dishwasher, puts the soap in for the next load, and pushes the "Start" button. She can set the table, and even remembers to put the forks and napkins on the left, knifes and spoons on the right. Her idea of making the big bed is flopping down in the middle of it and rolling around while giggling. Her idea of making her brother's bed is gathering up as many of his stuffed things as she can carry and making a beeline for the living room.
Ivy's favorite thing in the whole wide world is mothers and babies. If there is a Big Something and a Little Something, Big is the mama and Little is the baby. And she is Mama's baby. Always.
She's in a Storyteller Phase. Everything she says and does, she narrates. It's a little bizarre, this tiny human walking around and talking about herself in the third person: "'Can I have some milk?' said Ivy. Ivy is askin' to nurse." (She still nurses. Frequently and fervently.) And then, lying across my lap: "Ivy is lookin' up to her mama!"
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On Friday, she will be three. I want to say "time flies," but it hasn't. This past year has stretched out to twice its rightful length. Ivy has been two forever, you guys! I know threes are supposed to be more challenging than twos, but I'm not so sure that will be true with this girl. From the very beginning, I feel like I've known some things about her for sure, but I've been surprised (and often blindsided) by so much more. My intellect, my gut, my memory all say "three is hard." I'm holding out hope that three, with this child, will be awesome. Regardless, I know she'll surprise me. In fact, I can't shake the feeling that she has something up her sleeve.
Whatever it is, I'm ready. And I know she is, too.