Nico came back from Spain talking up a storm. All in Spanish. It’s like I’d put a toddler on the plane two months ago and I got back a little girl, a little Madridleña. Here are a few things she’s said lately that’s cracked me up:
1. About a week ago, we went to my office to drop off some papers. We walked over in the stroller and as we approached the building Nico commented that it was really “alto,” which is tall. It’s four stories, but we are in Lubbock–land of ranch houses and flat open land–so I guess that made sense. When we entered the building and started walking up the stairs, Nico continued to be impressed.
“Que alto, hombre!” she said as we reached the second floor, basically the equivalent of saying “It’s so tall, man!”
2. Today we were driving and she started calling me Mommy again. She’s been trying to change my preferred name, “Mom,” to “Mommy” for a couple weeks now and I usually correct her. “Is there a mommy here?” I’ll ask. “I only see a mom.”
Or sometimes I’m more direct: “Nico, I’m mom.”
But when I tried that tonight she wouldn’t budge.
“Tu eres valiente y tu eres mayor y tu eres una mommy” (You’re strong, and you’re older, and you’re a mommy), she said.
“Tu eres una manipuladora” (You’re a manipulator), I said, but she cracked me up so much I capitulated. I’m now mommy.
3. A few nights ago I gave Nico a bath and washed her hair. She’s really been resisting the whole hair-washing thing because the water and soap gets in her eyes, so I tried to reason with her. I told her that Marta and I wash our hair every day while she only has to wash hers every three days and isn’t that great, but she wasn’t buying it. We finally washed her hair, but she cried the whole time. Afterwards Marta was brushing her hair while I was cleaning up the kitchen and she called out: “Why did you tell Nico that if she didn’t wash her hair it would fall out?”
“What!?” I said. “I didn’t say that.”
“Nico says you did,” Marta said.
And it was true. My child, at two, is already lying about me.
Things like this happen all the time now. It’s like living with a avant garde poet or a pathological liar whose diaper you also have to change, which is to say I really like it. I (mostly) enjoyed motherhood before, but these past couple weeks that Nico’s been back, I’ve loved it. I love that we sit down to breakfast and she tells me that Curious George wants to hold a star in his hand but he can’t because his mom isn’t there. And I love that today she sat in the driveway for ten minutes talking to the ants. This, I think, is why people procreate. Babies are nice and all, but two year olds are the bomb. Or, as Nico would say, “Molan” (They’re cool)
Here she is with her best non-living friend, “Go-Go,” a giant stuffed bear that the previous tenants left for us in our old house when they heard we had a baby: