I was promised that when my daughter finally started walking that I’d regret it because she would become independent and get into things. And oh, these mothers promised epic messes and death-defying toddler feats that would have me longing for the proto-walking days. And if by “death defying” toddler feats they meant, tenuously standing on the couch only to sit right back down when ordered to, then yes, we have that in spades.
Instead, Ellis has become my little shadow. Clinging to my legs and insisting that whatever mommy does “Elyis do dat.” Whether it’s sweeping, cooking, typing or drinking coffee and reading about serial killers, Elyis wants to do dat. And I don’t really mind. In the same way you don’t mind that a temperamental, co-dependent monkey, clings to your back and screams in your ear because someone has failed to wipe that dried bean off the floor and is that a broccoli on mommy’s cheek, oh the humanity! Really, it’s sweet.
So, I’ve found myself in the strange position of trying to encourage my daughter to get into things. On Tuesday, I handed her an open box of Rigatoni. “Just play with it,” I said. “Go to town.”
She picked on piece of dried pasta out of the box and put it on her finger. She smiled. Reached for another piece and dropped it. “OH NO!” She said and threw her hands over her head in anguish, knocking over the entire box. She looked up at me and began to cry.
“Sorry, mama! Sorrwy!”
Never in her short 19 months of existence have I ever been mad at Ellis for spilling. But girlfriend is all going into shell shock because some pasta hit the floor and I have to console her that it’s okay to make a mess. I imagine Ellis sipping coffee with her friends at a playdate, saying things like, “Ugh, my mom, she runs away from me and just makes all these messes. Like the other day, she went away and I found her ‘doing her hair’ which really means getting yucky hairspray on the floor and leaving her straightener on. Moms, you have to keep your eyes on them always.”
And in case you don’t believe me, here are 6 things that turned Ellis into a sobbing mess of anxiety. These examples are taken from the past 48 hours.
1. Taking away a cookie.
2. Giving her a cookie.
3. When I showed her my black toenail that died during my half marathon training. “Mommy yucky toes. NO YUCKY TOES!”
4. That time she got marker on her face.
5. When I offered to wash the marker off her face.
6. That time a crumb got stuck to her foot, because the floor was messy and she threw herself on the ground and screamed. “YUCKY YUUUUUUCKKKY!!” Then, I threw myself on the floor screaming, “YOU CLEAN IT! YOOOOOUUU CLEAN IT!”