Click. The dreadful sound of Betty locking herself in the bathroom. Again. It is futile to describe to her how to turn the old-fashioned lock on the other side. One inch away, yet so very far. So I don my imaginary cape and slip out Nadine’s bedroom window onto the steeper-than-I-remembered roof. Again. I’m sweating profusely in the January air. I really hope I don’t start to slide. Carefully, I crawl to the bathroom window, praying it’s not locked. It’s difficult to open, but not impossible. There she stands, in her baggy pink panties, yelling at her siblings through the door, oblivious to my presence behind her, climbing very awkwardly through the window. I think if I had a real cape on, it would have looked more impressive. I show her (again) how to turn the lock other other way, and we’re out in the hallway again!
Not a bad way to remember her 2nd birthday. Little miss has been strutting around in panties too big for her, held up by a giant safety-pin. She wants to sit on the potty all the time, but nothing comes out. Every few minutes: Mommy! Potty! Then nothing. Finally, about the fifty-third try: success! That chocolate chip never tasted sweeter. She loves to talk. She, like her two siblings preceding her, loves oats. Opes with bananas! She loves to help unload the dishwasher with Nadine. After they’re all finished, they bump the door closed with their bottoms. She laughs every time. We just love our Betty Ann. Happy birthday, darling Betty!
I’ve never liked the “terrible twos” title. I think it boxes them in to being a certain way. She has certainly found her voice and exerts her will, but are those terrible things to learn? I can’t allow a stereotypical label dictate how I perceive or train her. She is not trying to frustrate me, and I need to respond to her challenges with love and firmness. It’s an hourly, sometimes moment-by-moment work. It’s sweaty, tiring, and sometimes takes me away from my personal to-do’s.
We recently switched bedrooms around, and she is now sharing her little pink room with Elsie. They are both thrilled with the arrangement. Now the boys share the attic and Nadine has her own room. She has been craving her own space, and feeling the age gap between her little sisters very keenly. Other arrangements throughout the house have been an improvement on our space: switching the dining room table with the kitchen table, adding a shelf here or there, throwing more things away, doing a little tidying every day throughout the day. Sometimes I feel like I’m growing up.
Maybe one day I’ll get that cape.