Aria always seems to have her own plans in mind.

For example, yesterday she stood by the stairs, pulled off her pull-up, went up the stairs, was moving her step stool in front of the toilet when I got there, climbed up, sat down.. waited approximately 3 seconds, climbed back down, went back down stairs, tried to put on her pull-up, managed to waddle across the room with it around her ankles to her father so he could help her get it back on, then went back about her playing.

Why upstairs and not the little training potty in the kitchen or the bathroom on the main floor? Why did the diaper have to come off before she went up? Only Aria knows.

Tuesday I was working from home and sitting in the kitchenette. She was getting antsy while Eric was in the kitchen talking to me, so he suggested she go get a puzzle and bring it in there for them to play together. She ran into the living room.. but didn’t come back. We heard her talking away in there so let her be, but after 15-20 minutes I was getting really curious as to what she was up to, and was about to go see, when she finally reappeared in the kitchen door.. holding a puzzle. We both looked at each other and, chuckling, said almost in unison that we couldn’t believe she remembered what she was originally sent to do. And she looked so nonchalant about it.

It only took one time, but she was being fickle about what she wanted to read one night, so I kept pulling books out of the basket, showing them to her to a very firm, “nonono” and then I would neatly tuck the rejected book back away in the basket so they all stayed nicely lined up and easy to see the spine. Every night since she goes over to the basket, pulls out a book, shows it to me, I exclaim, “oh let’s read that!” to which she pulls the book away from my reaching hand with a “nonono” and spends a million years trying her darndest to tuck it back neatly away, all organized. Some of the books have taken a beating as she tries desperately to cram them together, and it has made the whole routine take several times longer, with many fewer books actually read. I’ve started to just pick up books myself and read them, to which she either completely ignores me, or gradually finds her way into my lap to hear it out, or yanks it away from me and stuffs it into the basket, often with her “nonono”.

I will say, as trying as it may be, her little “nonono” is actually really adorable. She says it in a soft singsong kind of way, with a lot of inflection on the o’s, and so although you’re being chastised by a not-quite-two-year-old you can’t help but have heart-melt.

One other thing she’s started doing that is worrisome is this “Aria bad” thing. I have no idea where she got it, we have asked around and what she’s doing, no one has done to her. She’ll be perfectly happy running around and playing, then all of a sudden she stops, hits her side and says, “Aria bad!” Then goes about her merry way. I can tell you I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve actually spanked her, and the last one was several months ago, well before she started this. Usually I just threaten a spanking and it’s enough to straighten her out, and we use timeout or take-away-offending-object or remove-Aria-from-offending-scenario as our primary means of stopping bad behavior. Eric doesn’t spank her either. And neither of us yells in her face and says she’s bad. We say, “no, that’s not nice, we don’t do that” and I have told her, after she said, “Aria bad” that “no, Aria’s not bad, but that was a bad thing to do.” So I’m not sure why she’s doing it, where it came from, but I will say I’m terrified of her doing it in public. In fact, I actually frequently tell her what a good sweet girl she is, because honestly she is about 85% of the time. She has her moments, but usually they’re fueled by the usual suspects, tired and hungry, and the rest of the time she’s cooperative, silly, playful, loves to share, and is in general a very sweet child (as her aunt describes her, Sweet But Not Gentle). And per all the stuff I read, I want to encourage good behavior, so I give more attention to the good stuff than the bad. I just hope she’s not doing permanent damage to her own self-esteem by telling herself she’s bad… and I guess the other day she and her little cousin were playing in the dog’s water, were told by grandpap to knock it off, and she pulled Lucas aside, bopped him on the bottom and told him “no, bad.” Pappy had to remind her that she was just as guilty. But what 1.9 year old spanks their little cousin?? We have much to worry about with this little sister on the way..

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