Friday, April 13, 2012

Cruel Summer

It’s almost summer.  As the white, brown, and grey gives way to the green, changes are a happening.  Good changes, mostly.  There’s walks to be had, balls to be tossed, swings to be swung, but the yard doesn’t mow itself and that leaky roof just loves all that rain.  A winter’s worth of landscaping-to-do’s now require real effort, and Visa.

The kiddo changes too, way to fast. Faster than I can record, photograph, write down, or just remember.   I had grand plans to document her successful pacifier withdrawal or solo-sleeping in a big-girl bed but these all happened overnight. Literally.
Last summer’s back yard adventures entailed sitting in the grass, touching bugs, thieving tomatoes from the garden.  Now we side walk chalk or sprint for the neighbor’s swing, without holding daddy’s hand. 

Words are now words.  They mean things. Chide (outside), book (book), malk (milk), go (let’s get in the car and get out of here), poop (dirty diaper, wet diaper, improperly affixed diaper, get this damn diaper off me!). 

The tantrums now come without warning.  They’re triggered by the wrong food, the right food presented incorrectly, fatigue, acts of North Korean aggression, a slight change in air temperature. Anything, really.  They leave her parents with only questions.


Please, stop?
What the hell???

We are soon to cross the invisible threshold of twenty four months and into the terrible twos.[Insert spooky music] They say the tantrums are worse there. The air is colder. Food loses its taste. Your things become more broke and more lost.  Horrible things happen involving permanent markers and dog rectums.  For the record, I think we’re already there. At least I hope.

Car seats used to face backwards.  The occasional cries or tossed shoe the only reminder baby’s on board.  Now we face front, with cup holders.  She’s now a passenger chiming in on the choice of route or vehicle speed, or a dog passed by, not unlike her mother. 

The rearview mirror has an added role. 

What are you thinking little girl?  Your eyes now show thoughts and dad is dying to know what they are.

And there's the dancing. Boy, does she dance and no longer just the reflexive movements to the theme for Elmo’s World, but to actual music. First was the miming of dad’s antics to hair-metal: Def Leppard, Poison.  You squealed with delight as we air-drummed. Now, you dance to your own tunes.  Today’s was “Cruel Summer”*.  A peak in the rear view showed more than just the freaking adorable head-bobbing and hip-shaking.  There was a real little girl back there, who’s busy growing up way too fast.

I’m ready for this summer. I’ll take the bad to get to the good and there will be a whole mess of good. But I won’t lie, I’m already looking forward to next summer too.

* “Cruel Summer” by Banarama. A timeless classic that you have undoubtedly shaken your own hip at one point. Don't lie! Or you remember it as pivotal theme music to The Karate Kid. But I honestly have no idea what bananas, a fake Boss Hog from the Dukes of Hazard, and a Mack truck have to do with summer.  Regardless, we’ll being dancing to it tonight.


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