The New Year has ushered in a New Bear.  Although she is about four months from officially entering those “Terrible” or “Terrific Twos” (depending on your viewpoint), she’s always been an overachiever.

The disruption brought by successive holidays has caused Bear to refuse to fall asleep at night or at nap time.  She refuses to have her diaper changed.  She refuses to go to daycare in the morning, and she refuses to leave daycare at night.

On Monday evening, I arrived at daycare to pick her up, and I heard a teacher ask Bear if she was ready to go with Mommy.  I heard Bear quickly respond, “No.”  After I signed her out in her classroom, I walked next door where she was darting back and forth between a plastic swing and a slide.  She did her best to completely ignore my presence as she climbed to the top of the slide, slid quickly down, and ran to the swing.  The teacher observing all of this just shrugged her shoulders at the situation that clearly was about to unfold.

After watching Bear run the “circuit” a few times, I announced that it was time to go home and scooped her into my arms.  She stiffened, arched her back, and immediately swung her arms around to grab my hair.  A loud wail filled the room.  Carrying her back to her classroom, I held her on my lap and did my best to slip her arms into her coat.  She fought me and wound up on the floor with my hand beneath her head to cushion the impact of the carpet below.

Indignantly, I carried her to the car.  The swift chill of the air outside softened her resolve, and she pushed her body closer to mine.  Once I got her into and buckled into her car seat, she became silent.

On the way home, I called my husband to tell him about Bear’s reaction.  From the backseat, Bear began mumbling quietly – under her breath – as though she was saying something that she didn’t want me to hear.  Her grumbling continued and her words became a little louder and a little clearer, and her tone was pointed.

“No, Mommy.  No.  No, Mommy.  No.”

She would mumble something intelligible and then repeat her tirade of “No, Mommy.  No.”  She was chastising me, I think.  By the time we reached home, my transgressions had been forgotten, at least until bedtime when the battle began once more.

I am afraid that it may be a long road to three.

This increase in tantrums means Bear is asserting her newly realized individual self, I suppose.  She is leaving babyhood and becoming a little girl.  This afternoon, she discovered a soft baby doll in the bottom of her toy chest.  I showed her how to rock it, but she had no interest.  Then I retrieved one of her old receiving blankets and pulled out a nearby footstool and showed her how to put the baby to bed.  She spent half an hour folding the blanket, rearranging it, and adjusting baby, until she looked up at me and said something.  I asked her to repeat it.  “Bwinky.”  “A binky?” I asked.  “Yes.  Bwinky.”  So, I searched for a binky.  It had never been used except the handful of times Bear shot it out of her newborn mouth until we got the idea that she didn’t want a binky.   I am amused that her baby does want a binky.

We have also spent hours building towers with her new Christmas blocks and playing mail carrier with “pretend” mail.  She loves to dance with me throughout the house on silly mornings, and she picks up my purse, which is nearly as big as she is, and says, “Bye bye.”

It may be a glorious road to three, too.

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