Friday, October 03, 2008

Dear Fern, part XXXII

Dear Fern,

Fern slideshow
Communing with a baby ladybug.

You turn two and two-thirds today and as you careen toward three, you seem to be daily more intent on controlling the world around you.

It started months ago with clothes -- you've always wanted to pick your own, but more and more, your need to create an outfit that's "just so" borders on obsessive. Pink, of course, is still in vogue, although you like to mix things up, too: just today you chose dark striped tights instead of pink pants. And some days nothing but a dress will do.

Your experiments with the world are not limited to the sartorial, though: you want to actively participate in nearly every aspect of daily life. We love that about you, of course, and sometimes it's even useful, like when you help load the dryer or whisk your own eggs for breakfast.

At other times, your independence can be challenging. When you make up your mind that you will be doing something by yourself, it's nearly impossible to offer you any help. Stuck inside a sweater with a sleeve the wrong way in, you still want to get it on by yourself and reject any obvious assistance. (We're getting pretty subtle about helping hands, though; as long as you don't notice us tug or pull, you can't object.)

Your self-reliance has made you a problem solver. We've struggled for months with washing your hair -- you don't like to be reclined into the tub, we don't have a sprayer, and when we use our special hair-washing rinse cup, you won't tilt your head back. So mom asked you a few times how you'd solve the problem of needing to look up at the ceiling during rinsing. "I can look up at a duck!" was your decision, and -- since you'd come up with it yourself -- it worked! One or two rubber duckies later and your hair was clean.

Not surprisingly, you like to control us, too. Dad told you the other day about how Mommy was coming home soon and you immediately responded, "Is her hair up?" If mom's hair is down, you're sure to demand that be fixed, and the same goes for ordering dad to "Put your hat on!"

We're really proud, though, of how you're convinced that pretty much everything in the world can be brought under your control, once you learn the trick. At the zoo one day this month, two goats were friskier than usual in their attempts to steal every bit of kibble we'd bought. The two started butting at each other fairly violently, like something out of a nature video. Adults were running off, but you grabbed one by the neck and whispered something (probably a threat) into its ear. Over and over, you pushed the brawling goats aside and insisted that they play nice. And amazingly they did, and what's most impressive, they stopped treating you like a lunch ticket and instead showed you the same deference a farm hand would deserve.

If you can master zoo goats, we guess you can accomplish just about anything. At least, that's what you seem to think, and if this month is any guide, you're probably right.

We love you very, very much,


Mommy & Daddy

Here's this month's slideshow. If you can't see the pictures below, click this link.