My daughter asked me to keep our two-year-old granddaughter while she and my son-in-law went on a overnight business trip. With visions of tea parties and playing dress up, I happily agreed. That was my first mistake; not the agreeing to keep her, but the visions. I had very good intentions but in my excitement, I failed to recall that it was during the work week, and well, I had to work. I am self-employed and since my schedule is a little more flexible, felt up to the task (mistake number two). I was surprised how challenging such a small person could be while running errands. I had also forgotten how much baggage small children come with. While she has passed the diaper bag stage, there are still several items that must accompany us every time we get into the car; those items include, but are not limited to: the “Belle” blanket that is large enough for three grown people to sleep under, “Ella” the elephant who is wonderfully soft but quite bulky and the “Elsa” Barbie doll whose hair is a hot mess because it stays tangled in the straps of the car seat. This brings me to my third mistake: thinking I could pick the baby up and put her in her car seat. I have a midsized SUV, not nearly big enough for the monstrous contraption that I must legally place the baby in to make the five minute trip down the road.
After pulling the cute hair bow out of her hair, not to mention hitting her head every time I tried to put her in the seat, I finally asked her, before we loaded up for another five minute trip, if she could just climb into the seat herself. It is amazing that children come into the world unable to speak, spell their names, or housebroken, but if you ask one to climb something, it’s like they have been doing it their whole lives. I watched in amazement as she wrapped her little hands around something higher and pulled herself up several times into the monstrous car seat. On one attempt, she misjudged her pull-to-step ratio and did a face plant in the seat of the car seat with her mid-section hung on the arm rest of the car seat and her legs sticking straight up in the air. Just as I was about to help her, she says in a muffled voice “Girl, can you help me now?” Did I mention she was two years old?
While we did not have a tea party or play dress up, we did paint our fingernails and toenails, took bubble baths, ate ice cream and snuggled together under the too-big-for-a-small-child “Belle” blanket until this LiLi fell asleep next to the sweetest little angel on the planet and all her baggage.