Wednesday, April 02, 2008


Thor turned two years old today. The day started out like most any other day these days. She wakes up crying at about 6:50 or so. Her father and I went in, opened the shades a bit (not too much), and wished her a Happy Birthday. We then gave her a couple of books and left her in the crib while I went back in the bathroom to continue getting ready for work and her Dad went downstairs to get her breakfast ready. After finishing up, I went back to her cribside. She was playing and chatting with her stuffed animals...quite content. I asked her if she wanted to get up and she pointed at her bottom and said “poo-poo” in the sweetest voice you’ve ever heard. So I scooped her up. But before rushing off to the potty, I took a little moment with her. I held her in my arms, bouncing gently, and sang “Happy Birthday” to her...for the first time ever. Just then a starling came and perched in the tree outside her window and I explained that he had come to sing her “Happy Birthday” as well and she said “Yea!”.

Reluctantly, she let me dress her all in pink. A sweet little jumper that Nana and Grandpa bought her before we went to China and the pair of pink and flowered Mary Janes that we bought at a little shop on Shamian Island. She was a vision. A little pink cream puff of a vision. I say reluctantly not because of the pink but because anything you want her to do, she will refuse to do....apparently on principal. Sometimes we reason with her (don’t you judge me), sometimes we divert her and sometimes we just wait it out. It all depends on the situation. I’d like to think we’ve got a few tools in our toolbox, but that’s just plain foolish. She hid our toolbox a long time ago.

We were reflecting this evening how it was just four days ago that we estimated about 10% of her responses were “no” and this evening we seem to be up around 98%. It would’ve been 100% were it not for presents and cupcakes. Somebody must’ve slipped her the two-year olds instruction manual when we weren’t looking.

For breakfast she ate ½ an apple, ½ of my banana, some soy yogurt, half a piece of toast and some juice with her medicine mixed into it. She still enjoys her breakfast just like she still enjoys most foods; however, she’s definitely becoming pickier. She’s turned from fish (bummer), only picks at green things (normal), and is just plain fickle with everything else...except for rice. She LOVES the rice. Can’t get enough of it. Wild rice, brown rice, jasmine rice, Arborio rice, clumped in the bottom of the pan cold white rice...shoving it by the fist-full into her gaping mouth. She’s quite adept at the use of utensils; however, we haven’t found a utensil yet that is both safe enough and large enough to shovel it the way our girl likes it. Does Williams-Sonoma make a table-top front-end loader? The picture here is of Thor enjoying her berry smoothie. Scrumptious, non?

After breakfast we headed out. Papa’s sick so he stayed at home, while Thor and I headed downtown. Mornings are pretty easy. She gets in the car seat without a problem, she’s excited to go to “school” to hang out with her friends, whom she calls by name, she sits and stares out the window at the bicyclists, the river, the buses, the cars, naming things and chatting away. She’s now talking quite a bit. Of course, never when you want her to (remember – she’s training us, not the other way around). She’s used a few four word sentences so far. Her last one was “No more mammo tookies” (translation: no more animal cookies), which she said in a despairing way. She mimics everything we say now, so no more cursing. And she remembers words....from days ago. We have to listen hard because many of her words don’t sound like how we would pronounce them, but we’re getting better at it. Conversations often go like this:
Thor: “Deeda meemo car.”
Me: “Is that an animal car?”
Thor: “Nooooooo.....”
Me: “See the movie star?”
Thor: “Noooooo.....”

...and so on.

When we get to her daycare I’m in a huge rush because if I dillydally I’m going to be late for a meeting so, of course, she decides that now would be a good time to go to the potty. Sigh. So I take her to the bathroom where she decides, after inspecting each stall, that she definitely does not want to go potty. So I take her back to her room, where she decides that she definitely does not want me to leave and that she definitely needs ME to take her to the potty. Sigh. So we head back to the bathroom, set her down on the wee-size potty, and she pees in the a champ. Papa and I haven’t changed a poopy diaper in well over a week now. In fact, Papa’s giving her a bath and putting her to bed as I type this and I just heard the ecstatic “Yea Thor!!!!” that lets the neighborhood know that our daughter has just gone poo-poo in the potty. She’s even taken to congratulating us on our similar accomplishments. It makes for a happy household.

As I leave her at daycare she’s hugging one of her many friends. She still the tough girl and will sometimes shove a kid or steal a toy, but now I can say, “Gosh Thor, that wasn’t nice. Maybe you can give Nicolas a hug to make him feel better.” And she’ll do it. Big hug too. Not one of those fakey, pat on the back kind of hugs. Mother Effin Teresa I tell ya.

So I get to the office, make my meeting, make millions of dollars for my company, and I’m back to pick Thor up after her nap. She, of course, was the only one up. Every other child was sleeping like a log and Thor was tossing about contentedly. When she saw me at the window, her face lit up like a kid who’s really really happy to see her Mama. And having that face made in response to seeing me? Phew. It makes me feel a way that I will never ever be able to describe. So I pick her up and, like when she’s really happy to see me, she held the sides of my face, gave me a good look, a big smile, and began patting the sides of my head. She’s got a way of making me feel pretty darn good.

Then we’re off to the zoo. It was a rare, crisp and sunny day. I bought Thor some alligator sunglasses. We saw sea lions, and hippos, and we shared an elephant ear on the grass. She had sugar and cinnamon all over her face. I almost licked it off, but decided against it. I think it was a combination of the number of people around us and the de rigueur wire of snot that’s usually lurking about.

As would be expected, things kind of went downhill after the sugar bomb. She climbed in and out of the stroller, ran like a cheetah with her Mama chasing after her dragging the shitty Chinese stroller, and grabbed handfuls of the pebbles lining the floor of the African aviary.

At closing time we headed back into town, bought some candles and “mammo tookies” at the grocery store and stopped at our favorite Chinese restaurant in Chinatown. Papa and I were going to make Chinese food, but we realized that our evening would then be spent cooking dinner rather than spending it with Thor. So, instead, we ate nummy Mandarin eggplant, kung pao chicken, stir fried green beans and mounds of sticky rice. This could be the makings of a tradition.

When I asked Thor if she was ready to open presents she looked at me and said, emphatically, “Yes!” (first affirmative of the day I believe) and she sat down on the rug in her “ready to open presents” position (she’s been getting a few presents over the last six months – I’m thinking it’ll let up after this). We videotaped a relatively stoic present unwrapping session. You see we hit a little snag when we got a cool toy that was lacking batteries, then the batteries we put in didn’t work and then...yea, the moment was lost.

But we regained momentum when it was time for the cupcakes. That was when I heard the second affirmative of the day (btw - when did she learn the word cupcake?). Anyhoo... we sang “Happy Birthday” and presented her with the glowing flames representing her last two years on this planet...and she blew them out. How did she know to blow them out?! She was with us when I blew out candles on my birthday in China, but, man, there was a lot going on at the time and I can’t imagine she’d remember that. I think we’ve been to one other birthday party where she watched somebody else blow out candles...maybe?....or maybe automatically extinguishing a flame is one of those beneficial traits passed down from our ancestors on the Serengeti. Who knows...

But then she put her face down in the cupcake. And that was about when the evening ended.

Our little girl is two. She can no longer go in the “under two” section at the children’s museum. I’m glad she was already bored with it. It’s one of life’s little milestones, after which there’s no turning back. She’s sleeping soundly now. I hope she had a good day.

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Blogger 3D said...

Happy Birthday Thor!

She is precious. Your shared glimpse of motherhood...heavenly.

Keep smilin!

2:22 PM  
Blogger Steph said...

There never are enough batteries, eh?
Glad she (and you) had a pretty wonderful day.
And who wouldn't remember blowing out candles? And cupcakes? Seriously, that's quite an impressive mind vault she's got going. Just wait until she REALLY starts talking and using it (0: But Mom YOU SAID......

3:43 PM  
Blogger You Know Where You Are With said...

I had to laugh...I could have written most all of this about Lulu. Particularly the word "no"--but also the pebbles and the mind vault. My girl actually says "no" when you ask her if she wants a piece of Easter candy (we're still going through)...and only THEN realizes what she's just said. :)

Thor's such a lovely girl!!

4:55 PM  
Blogger atomic mama said...

Happy Birthday, miss Thor, and here's to new celebratory traditions!

5:17 PM  
Blogger kris said...

It reads like a best selling collection of short stories, a beautiful blip of life at Different Dirt, with Thor turning 2. Happy Birthday sweet girl. Your mom's one helluva a writer. Felt like I was with you all day :)

7:10 PM  
Blogger FDChief said...

You guys are sooooo cool. I wish I could have been both of you in another life.

Congratulations to the newest two-year-old. And her Mom and Dad, who are just beginning to be bent by their own twig into the trees who she dreams of.

A 2-Year-Old’s Advice to a 23-Month-Old by J. Kevin Wolfe

"Ask for more
when your plate is still full
and you’re done eating

Keep a pocketful of dirt
After they wash you
wipe your face with it
They’ll never get
your magic trick

Hold your plate upside down
If food falls off
gravity still works
and the world is safe
so smile

Ask why? until they shout
‘just because!’

The moment the macaroni
hits the disposal
you want it back

Don’t say you need
to go to the bathroom
or ask ‘are we there yet?’
They’re copyright
by three-year-olds

Smear dinner on your face
to cool it
so it doesn’t burn your tongue
Then lick it off

If your eyes get
big enough around puppies
they let you pull ears

Fill your mouth with food
slowly dribble it down your chin
It takes practice"

Love to all of you from all of us.

8:00 PM  
Blogger walternatives said...

Happy (belated) birthday, Thor! That expression with the smoothy - those EYES! And how about that tiara? Lovely.

Thank you for such a delightful, engaging, descriptive post - all in chronilogical order (my preference). I feel like I spent some quality time with y'all. And man oh man, I've been jonesing for time with all you P-town peeps.
love love love from TX

3:48 AM  
Blogger walternatives said...

p.s. Hoping Papa feels better by now...

3:48 AM  
Anonymous Pam said...

Happy Belated Birthday Thor!
Loved the cupcake faceplant... I think I'll copy that for my next birthday!
So glad to hear about the big #2. Thank you for sharing. Miss y'all so much!

1:56 PM  
Blogger Jessi said...

Sorry I'm late, but happy, happy birthday!

She is beautiful.

E. does the face patting thing, too, when she is particularly happy to see me. I melt. Every time.

7:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Thor. You sound like the most perfect two year old!

11:22 AM  

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