Ivy Lyn, age 2.5, is a very busy lady. When there’s a lot of activity around her, she’s very self-contained and invents dozens of little games. But here’s what happens if I try to sit down and read a book in her presence for, say, five minutes.
“I need to pee really bad!”
I get up, get the potty, sit back down.
I get up, wipe Ivy’s bottom, empty the potty, and sit back down.
“Mama, I want to ride my balance bike!”
“Great Idea! Can you get your helmet, and I’ll put it on for you?”
“No, I can’t. It inside, high up.”
“How about you try?”
Ivy returns in ten seconds with the helmet. I put it on her head. I admire her insanely cute curls poking out from under the straps.
Moments later, she’s astride the balance bike, and ramming it into my chair.
“Ivy, please ride your bike over there.”
“Why?” Ram, bam, BAM.
“Because I don’t want you bumping into my chair!” BAM! “Stop it, please! Go that way. Or any way that’s not into my chair!”
“Oh.” Looking disappointed, Ivy gets off the bike, drops it on the ground, and says, “I want my helmet off!”
It takes her about three seconds to find a new activity. Straddling a long stick like a hobby-horse, she gallops gently: “A horsa horsa horsa!” Scratch! goes the stick against my chair.
“Ivy! Please take the stick away from my chair.”
Ivy points the long stick into the sky. “It not bumping you, it up in the SKY!”
For about four seconds there is peace. Then, the stick gently scrapes against my skin.
“Ivy! Please take the stick away. That was my face!”
She backs up. “It not bumpin’ you! It goin’ up in the sky!”
Scrape, bump, scrape. “Ivy, I want you to put that stick far away from people.”
“Oh.” A short pause, then, “Where my bally?”
“Under the camper.”
In another moment, the nice bouncy ball has been shoved purposefully out of the campsite and down the hill. I leap up, race after it, and retrieve it from the road.
But she’s done with the ball. “Mama, where my koalie? My cutie koalie?”
“Well, we’ll have dinner soon.”
“Have some water!”
Ivy excitedly heads in to grab a cup of water, which she removes from the counter sideways, so that all of the contents spill onto the floor.
“Argh!” I race inside to mop up the water.
“Cleaning up the water you spilled!”
“So it doesn’t stay on the floor.”
“Oh. Sorry! I didna mean to.”
She goes outside and returns in three seconds.
“Mama, you can make me a ring for my wrist-finger out this?” Ivy holds up the stem of a flower.
“I…well, I don’t know how to do that. How about you ask Jem?”
“…Jemmie, can you make me a little ring? A ring for my finger?” Jem is listening to an audiobook with noise-blocking headphones, and can’t hear a thing.
“Ivy, you may have to pat him on the arm to get his attention. He can’t hear you.”
Ivy carefully takes aim, and whacks Jem surprisingly hard on his arm. Smack smack smack!! “Jemmer!! Do it a ME!”
“What is it, Ivy?” Jem says courteously. “Why are you hitting me? …Oh, you want a ring? Sure!”
Moments later, Ivy is back by my side. “I want to go for a walk, Mama. Please? To the amme pheeto [amphitheater]!”
“Sorry, darling, I want to sit and relax. But sometime soon…”
Sometime soon, baby, your curly head will be grown up and you will ignore all the stick horsas on the forest floor and you won’t need your mama to come with you on your adventures - and I will be so sad, and I will miss your babyness, and I will also spend a lot more time sitting on my ass.