A few days ago Chris helped Mallory paint her face like a clown. "Aren't you surprised to see me like this?" she said to me. I said I was. "Mommy, I really really want to be a real clown," she continued. "But I don't mean when I'm a grownup. I just mean when I'm still a little kid. So can I go to the circus and be a clown, can I?"
I said I wasn't sure if the circus was in town. "Well, they can just come to our house, right?"
To divert her from this line of questioning, I asked what her clown name was. "Bingo!" she said. "No, Molly. Molly the Clown. No...you can just call me Mallory."
Tuesday night when she emerged from the bathroom -- where she was supposed to be brushing her teeth -- with lip gloss smeared all over her cheeks, in an attempt to recreate the clown look. "I hope we can get that cleaned off before you go to school tomorrow," I said.
"Well," she said. "If we can't, can you just call Miss Suzanne and tell her I can't come to school because I have clown face?"
The other night Mallory asked to play the rhyme game. "Pop," I supplied.
Hm. Mar is a word, but I didn't think it was a word Mallory knew. I was sensing a trend. "Cup," I said.
"Mup is not a word."
"But it rhymes!"
"Yes, the sound rhymes, but you have to use a real word. Try again...Couch."
Phoebe -- incidentally, what am I going to do with the child's hair? -- is in to sorting and naming lately. She'll choose a crayon, hold it up, and proclaim, "It's geen!"
"No, it's orange," I'll say.
"Oh. Arsh." The orange crayon discarded, she'll pick another and say, "It's geen!"
"No, it's purple."
"Oh. Pupple." Another crayon. "It's geen!"
"No, it's yellow."
Similarly, she'll choose a magnetic letter. "It's a Bee!"
"No, it's an S."
"Oh. Ess." Another one. "It's a Bee!"
"No, it's an H."
"Oh. Aish." Another one. "It's a Bee!"
"No, that's a seven."
Phoebe is constantly asking us to open things. "Ope it," she'll say, bringing me a box of crayons. "Ope it," she'll say, handing me a bag of fruit snacks. She's also asked me to "Ope" an orange and a cucumber. "I can't open the cucumber," I said. "Ope it!" she commanded. So I peeled and sliced it and darned if she didn't eat almost half of the thing. (She also eats raw celery. Not my child!)
Her attention span has become, at times, disturbingly long. The other night she spent, and I am not kidding, a solid hour playing with a washcloth and a Barbie boot. With the boot stuck firmly on her thumb, she picked up and spread out the washcloth over and over and over again, murmuring to it all the while. It was mostly babbling interspersed with plenty of "Okay"s and a few "I put soap"s and "I dry"s. She finally gave up the washcloth when she spied a box of baby wipes. "Trash!" she said disdainfully of the washcloth, and then spent about twenty minutes "cleaning" the kitchen with her wipe. (Every surface under 33 inches looks really nice!) At one point I was standing in her way, so she placed both hands on my leg and said, "Push! Push!" until I moved.
Homer Simpson was right when he said of children, "The sooner they talk, the sooner they talk back." Phoebe has started to counter everything we say with, "No, I want _____!" For example:
"Phoebe, it's time to go to bed."
"No, I want to sit. No, I want to play."
"Phoebe, please close the refrigerator."
"No, I want i-keem."
"Phoebe, don't drink the bathwater, it's yucky."
"No, I want drink!"
"Phoebe, let's not play with the fingernail clippers, they're sharp."
"No, I want sharp!"
My kids are pretty delicious.