We are headed into the toddler testing zone, the cusp of the terrible twos, the "no,no,no!"/ "I do it!" phase...
Which is essentially the realization that we are no longer a baby; we want to express some independence and push some boundaries. Bear isn't really naughty though, which is why I say we're on the cusp -- just some simple naughty attempts - running away from mommy, fighting me when it's time to change, or touching everything in the house that we know we're not suppose to touch.
Our days have certainly become more chaotic but I am also finding these little moments just as sweet as our non-naughty-ish moments. What sparks this blog is more than just a glimpse of the terrible twos, It's that I am seeing bear turn more into her own self. She is becoming very independent lately and she does not hesitate to show me that she can manage pretty well on her own. Bear is not demanding in this regard though, she'll use her words and tell me, or just simply change her plans if I try to initiate some help without her requesting it.
"No. No." she told me the other day at the park when I suggested that she say hi to a little boy, with whom she was stuck-- mid-stare down-- with, both unsure of what step to take next. She then quickly ran off to another section of the playground, as if to say-- "never mind, I'm not interested anymore, now that you've ruined this moment, mommy..."
Following my mommy mistake, I stepped back and gave bear some space when she later approached an older girl (probably about 3 years old) who was sitting at a small kids table. Bear walked up to the girl slowly, a little reserved, taking slow step after slow step, before fully approaching the girl. Actually, the girls little brother came crashing into the table and then took off again which was an instant catalyst for bear. Once the boy was out of site bear lost her timidness and comfortably leaned up against the table and began to babbled some baby gibberish at the girl, though for her this was no gibberish at all. Bear then sat herself down across from the girl and continued to babble, with some coherent words mixed in with other sweet baby non-sense. Following their conversation, they began to pick up wood chips and poured them on to the table, as if to make it rain. I sat down and watched in wonder. I was so proud of bear, she is so sweet and welcoming, she really doesn't need me.
Five minutes passed and the girl took off for the swings. Bear then contently moved on to the trees. I slowly followed behind, struck with amazement. I was so impressed with her, she went right over and played with another kid on her own. Being shy myself I just assumed that I would have to help bear when it came to meeting new kids or interacting with them on the playground, but she seemed to already know what to do. This is just another reminder that bear is who she is, she is not me, and though she is part of me, she may be much more comfortable chatting it up with the world as compared to her mommy. And the more I just let her be and take a back seat, the better she just might be at it.
So I followed this motto again, the next day, when we visited the same park. I waited for bear to approach me and let her go off on her own, and to my surprise she made another friend, whom she played with for a fairly decent amount of time, in baby time any how. While playing under the large jungle-gym-slide-doohickey-structure-thing, a little boy, about bear's age, sat down near her. He appeared curious in his movements and gazed at bear, awaiting her response. They both stared at each other for another few moments, until bear broke the baby silence and offered her handful of wood chips to the little boy. He reached out for the chips but stopped himself just short of the pile, with what seemed to be a shy hesitation. Bear then began to drop the chips, in a rain-like style, as if to show the boy how to play. He then began joining in and the two played for a few more minutes.
A short while later, bear saw the same boy playing in the sand box. She ran (toddled I should say) to join him and began imitating the circles he was making around the sand box, until she got distracted by the pretty statue in the center of the box. Bear then pointed to the pretty tiles on the statue to show me what she had found. The boy then joined in and they pointed and tapped away on the statue. Following the sandbox, they continued to play baby Simon Says for a fairly good amount of time. All the while, the boy's mother and I sat back with beaming smiles, proud of our little munchkins for finding a friend to play with.
Friday morning came along, we had a late start to the day because daddy was finally home when we woke up for a change. He was able to go in to work late so we lounged around in our PJ's, ate breakfast all together, and then lounged around some more. With just about an hour left for the park before lunch time bear and I quickly scooted over to the park after we said goodbye to daddy. And what do you know-- during our third trip to the park, the same little boy was there again. Bear and the little boy both exchanged a "hi" to one another and began playing until it was time for us to take off.
Sweet innocent friendship. I can only hope that it will always stay this way!
While watching bear breakout into this bit of independence on the playground, I've noticed that she has so much sweetness about her. Perhaps it's a toddler thing, but she just seems to wander around with no ill intention; she shares her sandbox toys willingly and greets new kiddos when they come over to play. She is genuinely interested in meeting all the new kids who cross her toddling path. And, without even realizing it, she's teaching me how to be more warm and welcoming, too!
Oh sweet bear of mine! I love you!