I don’t know what happened, but at some point when I wasn’t looking, someone took away my baby and replaced her with a little girl. There are so many ways to define a very young child as a toddler, and all of a sudden Ramona seems to have hit the classic definition between the eyes.
The most obvious symptom is the fake tantrum. I fill a blue cup with water, and she flattens herself on the floor yelling “Nooo! Nooo! PINK CUP! MILK!” and then pertly looks over her shoulder to check if I’m impressed. She seems genuinely shocked when I say “Ramona, I know you’re not really sad, or crying” and, at the moment, seems to shrug and give up as if to say “well, it was worth a try”. I wonder how long before she starts digging in harder.
She’ll wander about whining “what’s wrong?!” until she gets asked, at which point it becomes evident that, in fact, nothing is. She keeps claiming to be hungry, which is a tricky one because I don’t like to ignore that, but I’m beginning to work out when it’s genuine and when it’s not.
Her memory is formidable. She can narrate the vast majority of The Tiger Who Came to Tea and could do after about the fourth reading. (And the tiger eating all the sandwiches in one big mouthful – OWP! – is the new supper wriggling away in terms of sheer hilarity.) She’s also really into building, which is nice. I get shanghaied into building wooden block “pyramits” more often than not, and then we take turns trying to balance blocks one on top of the other in a tower. If we succeed, it goes something like this:
Ramona: “WE DID IT WE DID IT!”
Me: “Well done, Pickle.”
Ramona: “Is gonna fall over?”
Me: “When you knock it over, yes.”
Ramona: (knocking it over) “It fall over. Oh dear. Try again!”
My mother’s taught her to say “Oh dear, how sad, nevermind” in a dreadful echo of that proud bastion of appallingly offensive sitcoms, It Ain’t Half Hot, Mum. I pretend I can’t hear it.
But the best bit is how brilliantly her singing is coming along. She brings home another song from nursery or a grandparent every week, and then proceeds to mash them all together and, if we’re not quick enough on the uptake, congratulate herself loudly on her, erm, tunefulness. We’ve been playing Laura Veirs’ lovely Tumble Bee* in the car, and today I sang a bit of one of the songs for her at which point she insisted “we can play music now?” and then, when Prairie Lullaby had finished, added “maybe Because, Because, Because now?”, which was her way of requesting Veirs’ lovely version of Woody Guthrie’s Why Oh Why?
That’s worth an Incy-Wincy-Spider-Goodbye-Song-from-Something-Special-Old-MacDonald mashup any day.
*I gotta admit, I did not see myself liking kiddie folk music. I blame Ash entirely.