"Absolutely, and I can't wait to see you, but be aware that we're pretty much an old fogey house now. No toys, no kids books, no child-proofing."
"It's okay," she replied. "If you have pots and pans, we're fine."
She knew I wouldn't let her come if I didn't bring Parsley, who just turned two years old. (I've changed her name here, of course, to foil any crazy old ladies who might hunt her down just to pinch her squeezable cheeks. I'm looking in the mirror at you, MomQueenBee.)
I wasn't sure if I remembered how to act when there's a two-year-old in the house.
I had not forgotten that you don't swoop down and grab them out of their mother's arms, no matter how tempting that might be. No, you introduce yourself to two-year-olds slowly, sharing an old gardening hat and the pompoms that were left over from a conference a couple months ago.
When you make muffins, you bring out a second Tupperware bowl and spill a little flour into it for some companionable stirring.
You dig around in the cupboard over the desk for the crayons you stashed there after Boy#4 graduated from third grade 16 years ago, and even though the crayons have sat untouched so long they've melted into their wrappers, they still draw perfect trace-around-the-hand turkeys and occupy Parsley for hours.
(I am in awe at her concentration and the length of time she could spend coloring--I'm pretty sure all four of the Boys, in all of their childhoods combined, did not spend a full hour coloring. WHHHHYYYYY???)
I'm not just being a polite hostess when I say that Parsley was the best-behaved, most charming, most biddable two-year-old I've ever spent the weekend with. (Sorry, Boys. I'll love you forever and like you for always and all that other misguided-family-dynamics stuff, but you were largely un-biddable.) When she was told to not mess with the television wires, she did not mess with the television wires. She didn't stick forks in the outlets, she didn't empty out drawers, she didn't throw non-throwable objects. (Although she did love our slingshot cow and giggled uncontrollably when it hit the ground and MOOO-ed after a mighty toss.) Her mom and dad are doing a masterful job of instilling manners, and I had to smile every time she said "Tank-oo ma'am!"
But then, if I'm being totally honest, I had kind of forgotten how constant a two-year-old in the house can be. It was nice to have an hour or two of staring vacantly at the wall when Parsley and her adorable mother went to the festival for some bluegrass music, and I took a long nap Sunday afternoon when they were on their way home.
|A Parsley-sized washboard|
There's a reason God gives two-year-olds to young parents and naps to old fogeys but I'm still sad Parsley and her parents don't live closer. I've had my nap--now I'm ready to throw a cow to a toddler again.