Ah to be two and full of wonder. Watching our granddaughter Loulou, who is 27 months old, absorb her world is pure delight. I can only imagine the freedom of choosing a spring smocked dress to wear with your red and white striped Christmas tights and then selecting your gold shoes to make the perfect outfit.
As a true gourmet fish sticks are des re gere. Her ideal meal is green peas, Gouda cheese, scrambled eggs, and guacamole. One piece of candy corn - the gold standard - is the ultimate bribe, tastiest treat, and best thing ever (as a two year old she is unaware that a serving of the addictive candy corn is traditionally a hand full).
For some reason for a while she referred to herself in the third person as "Nunu". When she first moved into her big girl bed, she quickly named it "Nunu's Nest". Yes, from a child's mind . . . This was often heard in phrases like, "Nunu not go night night in Nunu's nest." However usually after reading 5 books (negotiated after an initial offer of 4) Nunu would settle into her nest for the night.
She quickly learned to sing the Happy Birthday song for her second birthday which was in August. Even now when you walk by her room you can here her singing "Happy Birthday to me". The rest us just enjoy one day a year, Loulou keeps the celebration going.
When we learned she was going to have a little sister, we all knew Loulou's world was getting ready to change. So we all tried to prepare her. "Mommy will have to spend time with your new little sister but you can help." "There will be a crying baby in the house, but that is OK - babies cry." "Lot's of people are going to visit to see your new little sister . . . and you." How do you prepare an 18 month old that the world that totally revolved around her is going to expand to add someone else?
So when little Bertie arrived 4 weeks early and was in the NICU, I went and stayed with Loulou. Her Dad was home each morning when she awoke. When her mother came home, they made an effort to keep her little world in sync. They would spend the night at the hospital with Bertie, come home each morning before Loulou got up, have breakfast with her, take her to school, then rest and go back to hospital. One of them would pick her up, as they did every afternoon before Bertie arrived. Then after she had her supper, her bath, and her bedtime routine, they would return to the hospital.
Loulou knew she had a new little sister. Mama and Daddy had new pictures of Bertie to show her every day. Neighbors and friends were extremely generous and excited at the new arrival. They were constantly stopping by the house to drop off gifts and food. They always asked Loulou if she was excited about being a big sister and always had a gift for her. She was taking it well.
Then it dawned on me. This big sister gig wasn't so bad after all. Mama and Daddy were still there for her. Nothing had changed. She did not have to share anything. She loved having all the company and attention. And, there was no crying baby. In her little mind I'm sure she was thinking, "What was all the fuss about?" Since the day Bertie came Loulou has adored her and shows her off as a prize. So far she has made room in her world for her little sister, but then Loulou is a loving and caring child.
When Halloween came around she decided she wanted to be Madeline, a character in one of her favorite books. Her mother was able to find a perfect costume. She looked exactly like the little girl in the book. When asked if she liked it, Loulou only said, "Where's the 'lellow hat? There's 'possed to be a 'lellow hat." And indeed that hat was missing. Her mother had ordered one and it had not arrived yet, but who knew that was the first thing a two year old would notice?
This is Loulou's world. One of being a super big sister, a child willing to try any food served to her. She has a tenacious will, a loving heart, and a strong sense of self. She is compassionate, curious, and smart. She is precocious and precious. I can say all this because as her Grancurrie, I revel in the age of Madeline.