Children are exhausting. I clearly do not have my own children, but my sweet niece Reagan was here all weekend and she made me tired. Reagan is funny and clever and creative and two. She is very, very two. She is not one of those kids who dumps out the trash, unrolls entire rolls of toilet paper, or plays in toilet water. She is not mischievous in any way. But she is still two. She whines when she doesn't get her own way. She cries "But I'm not sleepy!" when she is tired and someone suggests bedtime. But she is easily amused, and she plays by herself nicely. She loves bathtime, and she makes a hilarious "cheese" face (that does not resemble a smile at all) when she is preparing to have her picture taken. She helped me bake a cake, and she cried when the cake wasn't done as soon as we put it into the oven. She is still learning delay of gratification. She knows every character from every cartoon on television, and she knows exactly two songs- Jingle Bell Rock and the theme song from Barney- and she sings the parts that she knows to the top of her lungs. She loves listening to music, and she giggles when she hears the Chipmunks or Dora come on the Toddler radio station on Slacker Radio.
She loves my iPhone, and she always has. She learned at an early age that you have to turn the phone around to take a picture (using Hipstamatic, anyway), and she knows that on Aunt Julie's phone there are games. And she knows that I can almost always be persuaded to let her play them. Her favorite is Tozzle, or the "puzzle game", as she calls it. It has little scenes with little silhouettes, and one by one the pictures pop up and you have to decide which picture goes with which silhouette. She is excellent at this game. And there are fun, kid-like sounds that accompany each picture, and when the scene is complete, there is cheering and confetti and a John Phillip Sousa-like song that she loves. She also loves the cupcake-maker game, although she insists on clicking on the premium cupcake toppings that you have to purchase, sending her to another screen and inevitably frustrating her (and sometimes me) to the point of tears. But she still chooses them. And while I would like to yell "then stop choosing the rainbow frosting!", I realize that sometimes even I make decisions based solely on what I want to do, even though I already know how it will turn out. So I just get her back to the cupcake decorating screen and tell her for the thirty-fourth time which toppings she can use for free and hope that she remembers (and pray to God for someone to create a cupcake app that doesn't include things that little people can accidentally purchase).
She is a fan of all things Disney, including Mickey and Minnie. I am glad she knows more of Disney than the dumb princesses. She was Flounder and she let me be Ariel in her imaginary game, for which I am thankful. I was just happy to not have to be Ursula. She loves books, and she loves to be read to. She makes a reasonably authentic monkey sound, but when you ask her what the elephant says, she yells "Roll Tide!". And this is one more reason why we love her. I don't think the actual sound an elephant makes is all that impressive anyway.
So after a weekend spent with Reagan and my fun sister-in-law Stephanie, I can tell you that I am looking forward to motherhood just as much as I was before (one of these days... I am not making any kind of announcement with this statement). But honestly, in the meantime, I can patiently wait. And I will enjoy my easy lifestyle that doesn't include car seats and diaper bags. Where I can sleep in. Where I can go to the gym and not worry about childcare. Where I can literally run into Target and be back out in ten minutes. Oh, who am I kidding? No one can do that in Target (I blame the clearance clothing racks and all of the little orange stickers). But Wal-Mart, I can do that in Wal-Mart. And I will take a shower and be thankful that no one is banging on the door, trying to get in. And I will enjoy not having to watch Caillou or Dora or Yo Gabba Gabba, which might be part of an international plot to drive all parents to the insane asylum. I seriously hate that show.
So Reagan, because you
let me be Ariel are so cute and fun, you are welcome to return anytime*. And by anytime, I mean in a few weeks when Aunt Julie has had a chance to detox from the children's shows we watched. And you can come back and drink your bathwater (which I think is disgusting but you clearly love), and eat grits and/or cheesy popcorn for every meal (because those seem to be the only foods you like). I will be happy to see you again.
*Reagan is super smart, but she can't actually read yet. So Stephanie, feel free to read this to her.