Millie turns two years old tomorrow. From the moment she arrived, she has been the life of our party.
When we knew that Millie was going to be a Millie, the well-meaning advice from others began to roll in. The general consensus from parents of daughters was that girls are so much easier than boys. At the beginning at least, they said. Sure, they may be a bit more dramatic but they’re not as rough and tumble as boys. They are gentler. Quieter even. More studious.
I’m not quite sure where those moms and dads got their model of baby girl but ours arrived with a different set of attributes. There is nothing quiet, gentle or easy about Amelia.
Millie is full of fun, full of joy, full of laughter but totally, completely mischievous. She is the reason that, after having two kids already, we finally had to baby-proof the kitchen cabinets. The half-bathroom cabinets as well. Actually, all of the cabinets. We had to baby-proof everything and then install a gate at the bottom of the stairs as a stop gap measure.
I didn’t know that kids came this way. The boys were always so full-on entranced by their toys, that deviating to off-limit items never really was a consideration. Why play with Tupperware or mom’s fine china when I could be destroying this tower of blocks with this giant bulldozer? Or, they simply obeyed when we told them “NO.”
Millie has no time for our admonitions. She has no time for “NO.” She’s way too busy throwing my serving platters and cutlery in the garbage can. Or, figuring out just how cat-like our reflexes are by unlocking the side door and racing down the driveway. Or, seeing what happens when you cover every inch of your limbs with your brother’s NINJAGO sticker collection.
And, she is so much more curious than the boys ever were as toddlers. Because Millie finds sleeping to be a giant waste of time, she plays in her crib at nap time instead of sensibly resting. Since I try not to let anything interfere with what I consider to be the Holy Hours of mid-day alone time, I generally let her goof around instead of enforcing sleep.
But, when you have a curious child and you confine her and she gets bored, turns out she’ll play with whatever is around. I walked in one horrific afternoon to find she had removed her clothing, removed her diaper, pooped in her crib and then… well, I can’t go into further detail. I will say that a part of my soul died that very minute. I froze in place completely unsure of what my next move should be. There was poop everywhere. Where do you begin? The kid? The sheets? The books? The stuffed animals? Will my neighbors hear my muffled screaming through the open window?
Aware of her penchant for disrobing, we had wanted to promote her to her big girl bed thinking the new setting would stop all of the stripping but in a rare show of fear, it appears Millie is terrified of a larger sleeping space. We’ve tried tucking her in to the covers ever so gently, reading stories to ease the transition and even sleeping with her but she gets, oddly, as stiff as a board. She freezes in place. As if the twin mattress has rendered her paralyzed. It’s kind of hilarious actually. Until she starts crying.
So, for now, she remains in her crib and we’ve had to pull it away from the wall (after a paint-chipping incident, of course) while removing most of the contents. Now, it just floats in the middle of the space. Sort of like that scene in Silence of the Lambs where they’re keeping Hannibel Lecter in a cage for transport right in the center of that giant hotel room. Like that. But with less cannibalism.
We also had to cut the feet off of her pajamas so we could place them on her backwards to prevent access to the zipper. If she can’t get the clothes off, she can’t get the diaper off, was how my Facebook friends helpfully explained it. I was reluctant to destroy such cute pj’s but after that fateful feces-filled day, I think I knocked a couple of kids down in my haste to get to the drawer where we keep the scissors.
Mealtime is always dicey because Millie has developed quite a palate. You simply cannot satiate her with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. In contrast to the boys, she wants effort put into her meals. She likes variety and new flavors. She is an adventurous eater.
Whenever I put her dinner in front of her, there is always this dramatic pause where she’s studying the contents of her plate, judging if what I have served her is sufficiently different and unique from what she had for lunch. Or, breakfast. Or, from the night before. I just stand there, awkwardly, waiting for her reaction. Half the time, she looks up at me and I swear if she could talk she would be saying, “I thought I asked for a little drizzle of truffle oil.”
I can remember, when I was about 20 weeks pregnant with Millie, heading to a sonogram with Bob. Around the mid-point of pregnancy is the ideal time to check the development of the baby and determine the gender. The technician performing our sonogram didn’t want to confirm if we were having a girl or a boy. She wanted the doctor to make the final announcement but, knowing that we already had two boys at home, I can recall her leaving to fetch the physician while exclaiming, “You’re going to be so happy!” At the time, I thought that was such a presumptive statement. After all, we love having boys. I could see myself as the parent of three boys. I already had all of the clothes! All of the trucks! But now, more than two years later, I imagine that technician must have known. She must have known how amazing our life would be with this little girl in it. How this baby would just radiate pure joy. How her incredible spirit and sense of adventure would guide us. How her laughter would surround us. And, ultimately, that technician was right. We are just so happy.