Now you are 2 3/4. You practiced saying that for a whole day, stopping again and again as you worked out the order of the words. “I three and two…no…I TWO and THREE QUARTERS!” In honor of this milestone, you grew almost an inch and finally started breaking your last set of molars.
For months and months, you have been fascinated with drawing and painting. While Ezra never wanted to do anything like that when he was your age, you can sit for long stretches with markers or a brush and work on projects. And in the last few weeks, you have discovered coloring. With a vengeance. I’ve had a few coloring books around the house for years, and neither of you had ever shown an interest. Suddenly, it’s all you want to do. On Sunday, while the yearly puzzle hunt swirled around you, you sat for close to an hour, just scrubbing colors onto a printed picture of a cat. You don’t stay inside the lines exactly, but you do stay shockingly close to the lines, showing a clear understanding of what spaces they delineate. When you don’t have a drawing to color, you carefully color arrays of spots on paper, like rorschach blots. “This is a cat,” you tell me. “This one is Ingy.”
You are a hard worker when you set your mind to things. At gymnastics class, you have been laser focused on figuring out how to get upside down on the bar. For a few weeks you worked on getting your toes up to your hands. Now, using some blocks for height, you can get your feet up, through, and over in a complete flip with no help. And you are brave. The class features a giant pit of foam blocks, and after a few times scooting on your butt to the edge and then sliding in, and a few times holding my hand while you jumped, you now scramble up onto the jump-off point and leap, sometimes face-first, into the pit. There’s a slide the teacher has created out of a big mat leaned up against a high pommel horse, and the routine is for the teacher to seat you at the top and give you a gentle push to slide down. When she’s not looking, you race to the top and leap off, flying halfway down before your butt hits the slide at all.
You have always been fascinated with clothes and patterns, and it’s only increasing as you get older. You keep track of the source of all your hand-me-downs, requesting Ingy shirts and Miriam pants, and carefully select whole outfits. You favor polka-dots above all other patterns, but you’re also a sucker for a good jumper, even if it just has flowers on it. I used to be able to coax you into certain items of clothes just by telling you they were from Ingy, but now I have to tell you they’re for a party. “This is my PARTY jumper!” you yell. You love your sequined party shoes, and a few weeks ago, aggressively went after some hand-me-down light-up shoes that I had carefully tried to decline. I shouldn’t have; they are perfectly matched to your personality. You wore them on Halloween, delighting with each sparkly step in the darkness.
Ezra chose your Halloween costumes this year (E for Elephant, Z for Zebra) and you happily played along. You love playing along with his dress-up schemes. The other day, Ezra declared that he was Sergeant Murphy, Busytown’s police officer, and you piped up, “I’m GIRL Sergeant Murphy.” Then you decided you could both be regular Sergeant Murphy. Then you were both Snow White. You told me you were both going “to the fancy party,” and then you got on top of the dining room table and covered each other with placemats and pretended to go to sleep.
But listen, Zella, we need to talk about the whining. Oh, the whining. It is bone-chilling. And all the worse because your regular voice is so wonderful and expressive. Recently you’ve taken to saying phrases over and over again in many different voices, experimenting with loud and soft, growly and smooth. The whole way to Ezra’s school the other day, you repeated “pick up Ezra” in different voices.
And you have faces to go with the voices. We can’t even imitate the amazing things you can do with your eyes. You have these expressions of disdain, mischief, surprise, joking, with eyes narrowed or widened, cast down or up. They are amazing.
So, put on your party jumper and your party shoes, grab a marker, do a silly voice, and let’s get ready to leap into three!
Love and kisses,
Mama Sergeant Murphy