So I get why people have kids now.

Ok, maybe not why they have kids, but a major joy of having kids, to help offset all of the crazy.

So that you can see through their eyes, and relive your childhood through them. That look of awe at something new, that magical wonderful giddiness they get when something is awesome. Experiencing the mundane in a fun childlike way, like cooking or cleaning dishes. It’s just so amazing.

Aria has most assuredly become her own person with her own opinions and ways of doing things. She still sometimes observes what everyone else is doing, to get an idea of what she may be wanting to do herself, but mostly she marches to her own beat. For instance, often when Eric calls her into another room with, “Aria! Aria, come here please” she’ll yell back, “no Aria. No daddy, no Aria.”

She makes up her mind for herself before anyone else can assist, “Aria color. Yeah, color,” or she lets me know before she does something by holding up an object and asking, “Aria throw this?” with a look of, Pleeeeeease can I do this thing that I want to do without getting yelled at?

She’s all about coloring now, or mimicking me at whatever I’m doing. I’ll catch her watching me intently, then she goes and does it herself. So while I’m cooking dinner I’m asking, “what are you making Aria?” I used to be so worried when she’d disappear and it would be all quiet. Now I usually find her sitting at a table somewhere coloring or stickering. And I decide that the cons of stickers stuck to things they shouldn’t be stuck to don’t outweigh the benefits of me having a chance to focus on Avery or whatever else I may be working on. My new motto is, ‘As long as she isn’t killing herself or someone else, I’ll survive whatever she’s doing.’

Thanksgiving was so neat. She was placed at the table before anyone else, and sat there waiting eagerly, watching all of the dishes accumulate on the table. When I gave her a plate and started putting small helpings, she took her giant spoon and started shoveling. Of course, being a toddler who isn’t much into growing anymore, she wasn’t much into eating a whole lot and was much more interested in climbing down from her seat and running a muck. But she did pretty good.

She also spent a great deal of time leading around someone’s dog who was wearing a bit of rope for a leash. She just dragged him around, occasionally grabbing me or someone else with a, “‘mon Mommy. Mommy, ‘mon!” such that the dog leash was in one hand, mine in the other, and her leading us around like a mini parade.

Cooking is fascinating, and she loves to get to help dump stuff into pots. I see her stirring things sometimes, a bit wildly, and am grateful that it’s imaginary so it’s not everywhere.

I love how she reads to herself or to Avery, or to me, now. The other night she read the entire 5 Minute Bedtime Stories book to me. You could tell the ones she wasn’t as familiar with, because they mostly went, “weeda dooda fummina dooda mumna…” but then ones she knew included familiar parts like, “WAIT! weeda dooda fummina WAIT!” And then Piggies. Her favorite story a few months ago, and apparently still cherished though we’re not allowed to read it anymore. She did the hand gestures and everything as she read about her little finger piggies. I had to do it too while she read. And she would yell the parts she knew so well, “HOT PIDDIES! TOOOOLD PIDDIES! DIRTY PIDDIES! fumina meembla Dance on Toes!”

So I was so proud of how she now takes her plate when we’re done eating, and scrapes the leftovers into the garbage then puts her plate in the dishwasher or sink. However, it has recently occurred to me how much this can backfire. She most recently very much did not enjoy what I had made for dinner and proceeded to say “Aria done” and rushed her plate to the garbage to scrape her uneaten meal into it. Another time she told me she wanted more, then by the time I had brought her more she had either changed her mind, or had managed to dupe me, and proceeded to dump the second helping into the trash.

Not only does she change her own diaper now, but also her clothes, and apparently her cousins’ clothes as well. I don’t even really help much anymore, I just tell her to go change her diaper and as long as she’s feeling helpful, it goes off without a hitch. It’s those days that she’s feeling mischievous that end up being problematic.

She apparently also knows how to get into the freezer in the basement if the door down to the basement is left open. And will reappear with things like frozen juice freezer pop things.

Somehow her blanket is always taking a bath when she checks on it too. Incidentally, there were several consecutive occasions in which Aria had gone looking for her blanket in the washing machine and Eric had told her it wasn’t there, and yet lo and behold it was there whenever she went looking. I’m not sure how it all aligned so perfectly, but those happened to be the days that I really was giving blanket a bath. So I think she believes that any time she checks the washing machine, Blanket will be there. It’s not unheard of for Blanket to be in two places at once though, because somehow Blanket is both at home and at daycare every day.

Halloween was fun and catastrophic at the same time. She embraced being Piglet, had a blast running around and collecting candy or playing at Halloween parties, enjoyed being grossed out and then eventually immersing herself in gutting and carving pumpkins, and just seemed to really enjoy the whole season. But then the candy monster emerged. To this day still, when she gets home the first thing out of her mouth is a high pitched, “CAAAAAANNNDYYYYY??!!” before anyone ever has a chance to tell her no, which we do. Oh, and every small piece of candy is Jelly Beans. Including M&Ms, candy corn, etc. They’re all “telly peens.”

What’s funny is that I always hated the Chicken Dance. It was so dumb and annoying when played at weddings. .. and now I love it. Because Aria loves it. I started singing it and doing the dance one day and now she asks me, “mommy, duh duh duh?” And I tell her to say Chicken Dance, and she does, then, “mommy, chicken dance?” Her dance moves are sooooo cute too.

I think I just love putting her in a scenario, like something new, or taking her to the playground, or letting her experience a holiday, and just watching her face light up, or watching her watch others, and just absorbing her absorbing it all. She’s just so adorable to watch. You really do get to reexperience childhood.

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