I can’t believe how incredibly belligerent, stubborn and demanding she can be, but at the same time be so endearing, loveable and sweet! She truly captures the essence of how she is feeling when she is feeling it - dare I call her a drama queen?!
And growing up with Josh as an older brother, I’m quite confident that Aves will be able to take care of herself. I used to worry that I needed to protect Aves because Josh is a typical boy and can be quite rough and physical, despite our constant nagging about being gentle. More and more, I’m seeing that I really don’t have to worry about Aves. In fact, soon I think I’ll have to start worrying about Josh!
It’s funny because Josh can be quite bossy and he often likes to tell Aves what to do. I used to sit there, biting my tongue, until the bossiness got either out of hand or too physical. Lately, I notice Aves will only put up with so much. When she is done with Josh’s bossiness, she will say no. At first, she will say a whiny, somewhat irritating, “Nooooo, Joshie!”. But if Josh continues whatever he’s doing, she will say an emphatic, ’NO, Joshie!”. And if Josh continues after that, she will wind up and hit him! Hard. My instinct is to say, “That’s right, Aves, you show him!” but then I remember that I’m the parent and must set boundaries. Damn.
Aves is showing so much independence, too. I am in awe at how she carves this path for herself despite being constantly surrounded by people. I still love, love, love that she will cling to me. I cherish this. But I notice in times where I usually do the letting go or putting down first, now she is the one who will unwrap her legs from my waist first as a sign that she no longer wants to be carried. Or she will let go of my hand or hug first. Then again, maybe it’s just me trying to hold on a little longer! It truly is a bittersweet feeling for me to watch this change.
With this independence also seems to come a release of some of her cautious nature. We were gung-ho parents with Josh, enrolling him in any and every course to see if he was interested/had an aptitude. We’ve since smartened up a bit and we haven’t really put Aves in any lessons or classes because it never felt…necessary. Even when we had her in parent and tot swimming, she seemed to just cling to us. So we figured she was fine without.
Josh just started his latest set of swimming lessons. I took Aves with me to his first lesson of the set and she cried when she realized she wasn’t going swimming too. I explained that she would be in a class without Mommy and Daddy and I even pointed to a class with a couple of kids as an example. She claimed that she still wanted to go, so I enrolled her. The next week, she went happily into the class and seemed to take to it. I guess the real test will be to see if she will be OK with the second class, in a few days!
We also enrolled Aves in her first set of ballet classes. This was only after we were at the community centre and we could not drag her away from the window, watching a pre-school ballet class! She insisted that she wanted to do ballet, so, after the same “Mommy or Daddy can’t be in the class with you” speech, we enrolled her. Her first class is on Sunday. Fingers crossed! This is all quite new to us, so we haven’t really figured out what we will do if she decides she wants to bail from her classes.
I should back up a bit and say that I don’t think Aves has completely thrown caution to the wind. She just got a run bike for her birthday and she refuses to sit on it. She couldn’t figure out how to get on it, so we “placed” her straddling the bike. We tried to show her how to walk with it, but she refused. She turned to me, looked me in the eye and said, “No, Mommy.”. Indeed, she knows what she wants, or doesn’t want!
Another sign of independence that Aves has been showing for quite awhile is that she HAS to pick her entire outfit. We are talking right down to the socks, shoes and even the pull-up that she wears! That is a battle that I’m just not willing to fight. Unfortunately, Aves loves patterns and colours so she will always pick the most colourful and patterned tops AND bottoms. I find myself constantly defending my own sense of style by making it known that she is the one that picks her own clothes!
Oh, and just so she can be clear that she IS my daughter, Aves is a shoe horse. She loves shoes and loves to have a selection of shoes. She calls Jack and Lola’s “the shoe store” because I took her there to get shoes when I had a groupon. And for her birthday, she asked for a pair of Dora shoes. Yes, she asked for shoes. And being her shoe-hoarding mother, I obliged!
But to know Aves is just to see her in action. There is something so completely irresistible about her nature (yeah, ok, I’m her mother so I’m biased! But it’s true!). I don’t post snippets of conversations I have with Aves because with her, it’s not what she says, it’s the way she says it. You just have to be there and talk with her. And then you also get to see glimpses of her carefree spirit - the way she is completely content to play on her own with a bucket of sand and a bucket of water, making mudpies (yes, that’s right! I said MUDPIES!) and talking to herself; the way she runs around on her tip toes, flitting like a butterfly (maybe that’s all part of the ballet thing!); the way she wants to picked up and flung around the room the minute music starts playing; and, the way she melts in your arms when she gives you a hug. It is all so wonderful.
Happy 3rd Birthday, Aves! You make our lives so much brighter and we love, love, love you!