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Twenty months February 9, 2010

Posted by Erin F. Wasinger in Letters to Alice.

Dear Alice,

You’re beginning to act 20 months old.

The “no”s are out in full effect — no, you don’t want to brush your teeth, go to bed, change clothes, eat breakfast (OK, yes you do, you were just kidding), pick up toys, go to the store — and the fake tears aren’t far behind when Mean Mama reminds you who actually has the final say here (it’s me, if you didn’t catch on).

Your “no”s are posed to us, as questions: “No?” you say, shaking your head. As if by asking instead of telling, you might have more success.

More maddening to us are the little traps you set for us, in your one-track mind. We have to hide the broom — of all things, really? the broom? that’s what you’re going to be obsessed with? — because you want to sweep ALL DAY. Carpets, linoleum — doesn’t matter. Sweep! O, glorious sweeping! Likewise, we can’t say “Up,” because then you toddle-slash-run to the TV, hand us the remote and wait for us to put in the DVD of “Up.” (To which Mama shakes her head and lies, “Oh, bummer — it’s broken! We can’t watch it now. It has to rest! It’s broken.”) I’m definitely more OK with lying now.

This same one-track mind also saves us though. In Target we can lure you away from the displays by saying “Let’s go eat!” Eat? You’re in! Is there a hot dog involved? KETCHUP! On Saturday mornings we can get you to change clothes willingly by promising to go to the library and get MORE BOOKS.

AMEN TO BOOKS, which leads me to my newfound crutch: the pile of books we keep by your bed, which seem to have replaced your binky. Read all you want, Alice. You’ve not cried yourself to sleep in a week since I figured out I could pry myself away from your bedside by tossing in a copy of “Knuffle Bunny.” God bless Knuffle Bunny.

The countdown to the baby has begun; 11 1/2 weeks from now you can stop pointing at my belly when you hear “baby” and start resenting your sister for all these complicated emotions you didn’t know you had and you’re not sure what to do with. Last week I spent a few hours digging out onesies and cramming them in a drawer in your dresser for her.

Your dresser, in her room. Because it doesn’t fit in yours. This is starting to be a common theme for us, and a constant source of “what comes next” for your dad and I. One viewing of “Away We Go” and suddenly we’re panicked. This is exciting for us, because I’m terrified of getting old and stagnant (something you can feel like if you’re suddenly 20-some pounds heavier and using the verb “nesting”). I really have no idea what comes next.

I don’t even have a name for this baby yet.

But, that’s where you come in. You’re the stability. You’re my Playdoh date after dinner. You’re my obsessive-compulsive sweeper. Who has no idea what’s coming.





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