"Mommy, me have go poopoo in potty."
"No, it's too late for that." This might sound like I'm prohibiting the potty-training. I can absolutely guarantee you that I am not. This is Ella's Stay-Awake Tactic #217. The ONLY time she wants to use the potty is when she's supposed to be sleeping. And whenever I let her try, nothing happens. It's all a trick. She plays around in there. She plays with the shower curtain, the toilet paper, whatever she can reach from the potty. She's even tried this in the past: "Mommy, I PROMISE I go potty!" And of course I gave in to that one. And, yes, it was a trick. Point: Ella.
"Ella, if you want to change your diaper, go ahead." It's barely even wet, but I know it will make her happy.
"Okay, Mama. Watch!" This is not unusual for her. She is a professional Self-Diaper Changer.
She rips off her diaper and makes it into a little ball. "Me throw it in trash."
"Okay, sweetie. Then go get a new diaper, okay?"
"Okay! Me do it! Watch my legs!" I watch as little naked girl runs as fast as she can to her room to get a diaper.
"Do you want me to help you?"
"No. Me do it." She pulls up her diaper. "Me need new jammas. Watch my legs!" She runs as fast as she can back to her room. She reappears with a pair of Peyton's old pajamas: blue with red firetrucks. Her wardrobe choices vacillate daily between extra girly and anything of Peyton's. "You help me?"
"Okay." I help her put on the pajamas and she crawls into my lap. "Mommy, me not like thunder."
"I know, sweetie, but there's no thunder now."
"I heard Boom-Boom!"
"That was the wind on the windows."
"Oh! Oh geez!" Laughs at herself for making such an assumption.
"It does sound like thunder sometimes, doesn't it?"
"Yeah! Mommy, me love you ever ever ever."
"I love you, too."
"Look! Mama ladybug!" Scoops up pretend ladybug and places it on my shoulder. "See?" Turns my head to make me look at my shoulder. "Don't eat it!"
It seems she has to give this warning every time she gives one of us an invisible creature:
"Here's caterpillar. Don't eat it!"
"Butterfly for you. It pink. Don't eat it!"
"Little kitty. Don't eat it!"
"Bun Bun (bunny). It for you. Don't eat it!"
She used to just scoop up these little things and pour them into our hands as a gift. We would pet them softly and care for them. One day, she gifted my husband with an invisible pink butterfly. They had been playing around and being silly, so he thought it would be funny to pop it in his mouth. She burst into tears. He felt terrible and took it out right away, but the damage was done.
The good news is that I get to use it as leverage against him. Don't mess with Ella's invisible animals. Seriously. Don't do it.
So now every time she gives the warning, I get to give James a big thumbs up and whisper, "Good job, Dad!" Because raising kids is sometimes like playing a crazy-fun version of Monopoly. Every time she says, "Don't eat it!" it's like I own Park Place and he just landed on it. Point: Darcy. James owns lots of properties on Parent Monopoly, too, I just can't think of any at the moment. Strange.
"Daddy ladybug, baby ladybug!" Places them on my shoulder. "Purple bouncy ball! They playing!"
"Ella, it's time to go to bed."
"Me not sleepy. See?" Looks up at the light to prove her point. "When me not sleepy, bird poop! Poop!" Throws her head back with laughter. "Me not like matoes (tomatoes) or poop or sammiches (sandwiches)! Look!" Turns my head to look at my other shoulder. "Daddy ladybug playing purple bouncy ball!"
I place my hand above her tummy and wiggle my fingers as if I'm about to tickle her. She brings her little hand up and wiggles it in front of mine and talks in her pretend voice. "Hi!"
"Hi! My name's Handy, what's your name?" I say in my pretend voice.
"Handy Manny! Wanna be my friend?"
"Okay!" We lock our fingers together. Yeah, I know, I could almost gag at the sweetness of it, too.
"Okay, time to go back to bed." I start to get up. She throws her arms around my neck and pulls me close to her sweet little face.
"Mommy, me not sleepy. Me keep you forever."
How do you mess with that kind of logic? You just can't.
And then my sweet little girl headed off to bed.