Thursday, May 03, 2007

Hole You

OK, OK, I'm posting, now can everyone from here to kingdom come (or at least My Lai) please stop hassling me?! Thank you!

I've found that I have much less to post when there's nothing to bitch about, and lately I've been just as happy as a clam, so it's a bit harder to mine material. I suppose I could spout off about various family problems, but my cousin's wife (hi Cathy!) sort of inadvertently spilled the beans to my mom that I'm posting again, so I don't want dear Mum turning me up through Google only to find my innermost thoughts about the machinations of our little nuclear unit online for all the world (meaning, my four anonymous readers) to see.

Meanwhile, I don't want to be one of those people who posts only to say "I'm not posting, and here's why." Therefore, I'm just going to have to subject you to what's been going on in my life lately which is, hanging out with a two-year-old. (And no, I'm not talking about the boyfriend I recently snatched from the cradle. He's acts at LEAST nine times two; on a good day, 10 times two!).

But back to the real two-year-old in my life: my niece Stella, with whom I just spent a nice five-day weekend in Minnesota, along with the rest of our family. She is why I'm going to go all "Dooce" on you. Dooce does it so much better, but I shall try.

All of this might come as old hat to anyone who's ever had a toddler, but I found her to be just a fascinating little character, and hilarious to boot. As my brother said every time she started wailing about something (which was often) -- "Life is tough when you're two." INDEED, there's a lot to wail about, I found out last weekend. Maybe your zipper fell down. It's time for tears. Maybe your sippy cup is getting low on expensive organic milk. Definitely calls for a good cry. Pooped your pants? Let out a yowl and someone's sure to come running to empty them. It's kind of like being 90 if you're demented and incontinent, only you're cute and cuddly and smell good and haven't pissed anyone off yet, so no one seems to mind as much attending to whatever it is you're screaming about at the moment.

With that said, here are some cute things I witnessed my two-year-old niece do this weekend.

"Hole you."

"Hole you" is what my niece would say whenever she wanted to be picked up. It's a version of "Hold you," and is derived, I'm quite sure, from her mother asking her, "Do you want me to hold you?" She's an independent little bugger, but occasionally her pudgy little legs would get tired or she'd feel a little needy, and all she'd have to do is say "Hole you" to the nearest adult, and she'd be swept up into a flurry of hugs and kisses and not have to walk under her own power for however long she wanted. If only it were that easy for the rest of us. "Hole you" are two words that will probably forever melt this auntie's heart. I don't think I ever understood why people wanted to have kids until my brother and sister had them, and when I hear those two words, it makes my whole being ache for every orphan out there who doesn't have anyone to say them to. We don't look happy in this picture, I guess, but I assure you we were right in the midst of a very sweet "hole you." And I finally figured out what my pleasantly curvy Norweigan peasant hips are specifically designed for: holding a toddler on.

"Poopy!"

My niece is ready to be potty-trained but her parents aren't ready to tackle that project until they get back to their normal routine lives in Germany. Being ready means she doesn't like the feeling of goop in her pants any more than you or I do, and I think she's getting to the point where she's nearly as embarassed of it. This led to lots of incidents -- sometimes in restaurants, sometimes in parks, but always around amused or horrified onlookers -- where she'd start squealing "POOPPPIIIIEEEEE!" at the top of her lungs and crying in ernest whenever her diaper needed to be changed (or if she farted, or if she was constipated, or if she thought she might poop....). Note to self: Teach own child to scream "Flowers" or "Unicorns" whenever she has to hit the head.

"Buffo."

Niece collects these little German plastic animals that are very realistic looking, and I'm sure by the time she's four she'll have every available species. This year I bought her a frog, a meerkat, a dog that looks like her family's dog (which is an Australian cattle dog, and is the best dog in the land), and my favorite -- a bison. I did a big (award winning!) project on the resurgence of buffalo on the Great Plains when I was in college and have had a fondness for the animals ever since. Stella, naturally, has never seen a buffalo, since they are indigenous only to North America, and had little idea what to call it once she unwrapped it during her birthday party at a zoo in St. Paul. I told her it was a Buffalo and we moved onto the next packages. Imagine my surprise when forty minutes later we ran across a pair of Bison bison in the flesh, laying down in their pen, and she looked at me and said "Buffo sleep!" She's a smart one!

Nighttime

The nicest niece time I had all weekend was on Saturday when she let me read her a book and put her to bed. We read "Blueberries for Sal" and she sat farting quietly in my lap while she cuddled against my chest. I never thought I'd be happy to have someone snuggle up to me and fart quietly into my lap for half an hour, but it was a really sweet time. Speaking of this, I've found that people with babies or young children spend far more time talking about bodily functions than any of the rest of us do. I got used to it. I think.

"Nurse!"

The last interaction I had with my niece was her poking her little index finger into my padded bra and shouting "Nurse!" Uh, that was a little weird.

Babies. I tell ya.

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