Hey, how’s it going? It’s been a while, but I’m back for a bit. And you’re looking pretty awesome–did you lose weight?

I had the following conversation with my daughter this morning:

“I have idea, Mommy.”
“What’s that?”
“I get two pennies.” (This for a job that usually only earns her one: helping feed the dogs.)
“That’s your idea? That you should get two pennies for a one-penny job?”
“Yes. I did work.” (Because she’s long since learned that work = money.)
“Intriguing. And why’s that? What’s your logic?”
She thinks for a second. But as I hold a poker face, she starts to crumble. She is, after all, only two.
“One penny please.”

She gets these negotiation skills from me. DIRECTLY from me. Obviously bargaining will not be a personal strength.

On the other hand, I am happy to see that she’s at least reinforcing the base line, forcing me to at least agree to the original price–as opposed to me being like, “Oh yeah? Well how about nothing?”

It’s interesting to see which traits she’s developed (or learned) from either of us and the way who she favors changes by the day. In personality, she seems to favor me, preferring to hang back in social situations and watch the scene before jumping in, for noticing small details often overlooked by others, for wanting to be cuddled instead of left alone when she’s sick, the quick way she mastered the Super Pout, and loving books over blocks. But make no mistake–she still loves blocks.

Mentally, she seems to favor Clayton from the way she savors the liberty of detail one can take when building something; showing abnormal patience with getting it just right, even when you’re telling her to stop, to drop it, to not touch that; in her strong sense of self-confidence and incredulity when you show her she’s wrong; for having to touch it just one more time simply because you warned her not to. (But the mischievous look she gives you while she does it is all me.)

She has his strong desire to “fix” situations and my eagerness to be needed, be useful–this is especially helpful after meals, when you don’t feel like picking up the dishes, or when she’s running away when it’s time to put on her shoes and the only way she’ll come near you is to help hold the sock you offer. Given all the things we need her “help” to hold, she must think we’re ridiculously weak.

She can go from serious contemplation of her fork to a goofy song in the span it takes to remember the lyrics to “Hey Diddle Diddle.” And she always expects you to join in.

I can also see in her certain traits common to only children, traits I shared when I was young: the unwillingness to share (that she may not grow out of) and to not just enjoy being but expecting to be the center of attention when she wants it (this, again, she may not grow out of). It’s particularly obvious when she throws you that certain sly grin after doing a small gesture she’s proud of. It’s 100% “Did you see how clever I was just then?” And like the parent of an only child, I absolutely did because I’m fascinated with everything she does.

Right now her favorite things are books about going potty, carrying around favored stuffed characters (a birthday doll, DeeDee; a Dr. Seuss character she calls Sleepyhead, and Kermit the frog), and seeing how far she can get with shrill screams when she’s unhappy, like the kids at daycare do. She’s showing a more active independence of thought, anticipating things we’ll need for dinner (napkins, cups), and making inquiries into the well-being of others (“Do you want more water, Mommy?” or “What’s the matter with [whoever’s showing distress]?”), and praying for her daycare teachers by name. We’ve got to let her pray at meals, otherwise the prayer doesn’t work, and woe to us if we don’t ask her if she wants two blankets when she goes to bed at night, just so she can turn us down with “Only one, please.” But she’d love the opportunity of telling you, “Good DAY to you, sir!” in her best British accent.

I’m sure it’s personal parental bias that makes me think that she’s largely showing the best characteristics of both of us and only a few of the lesser favored ones. Certainly none of the actively bad ones–or maybe I’ve just convinced myself those are just natural two year old qualities that she’ll grow out of. Maybe. Or maybe she’ll show an entirely new set of characteristics tomorrow, a rash of one or two things she’s been sitting on, perfecting the look or sound of until they’re perfect. And that’s how I know that two year olds are related, however far down the evolutionary line, from magician’s hats. What they pull out of themselves on a daily or even hourly basis is amazing. (Though if she starts pooping a never-ending stream of colored handkerchiefs, we’re headed to the ER.)

(After she gets some money from the change jar. Because that would definitely be a two-penny job.)

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