Six months after her second birthday, Nikki is showing few signs of being struck by the terrible twos. Then again, maybe after living through Katie's extended reign of terror, I'm immune.
But Katie's influence isn't without weight and the skills are still fresh in her mind. She's teaching her sister a few things.
"No" was the first. It's a word any self-respecting 2-year-old knows and knows how to use.
Between me telling them "no" and them saying it right back to me, it's a wonder we get out of the door in the morning.
An offshoot of that skill is the ability to tell you "no" without actually saying it.
The girls are learning to carry a little responsibility. Picking up their toys and clothes is about the extent of that lesson so far.
They're still little.
Putting their dishes in the sink is also part of the lesson, which is being met with varying degrees of success.
The first step was teaching Nikki the difference between the sink and the trash compactor. I'm was down to three spoons before I figured out that there was any confusion. I also lost two glasses and rescued a coffee cup that was saved from being crushed to shards because Nikki shoved it between two pizza boxes.
Did I mention that she finds it necessary to turn on the trash compactor every time she throws anything away, including Kleenex?
But even that fiasco meant progress compared to the backtracking she's doing as she gets into the spirit of being two. I thought we made some progress when I finished my dinner and she came and picked up my plate. I realized I was wrong when she took two steps and handed it to Katie, saying "kitchen Kaitily" (she thinks all "Y" sounds should be preceded an "L." That includes "daddily" and "kittly."
That was still progress over her new concept of being pushed into the kitchen one step at a time. You nudge her forward and she moves a couple of inches toward the goal and them comes to a complete stop until you nudge her again. Basically, you could've taken the plate yourself and vacuumed the living room in the time it takes her, and you don't run the risk of the plate being shattered when she heaves it into the sink.
I'm not sure if that's toddlerness or twoness.
What I'm sure is a symptom of the terrible twos is her, let's call it a misunderstanding, that all pain is funny.
Part of that is my fault. You know, when you say ouch and pretend a child hurt you so you can retaliate by tickling them breathless?
Well, that has some uncomfortable results.
In trying to get Katie to make a running jump into my arms for a hug, there was a little miscalculate that resulted in her jumping more into my nose.
As I sat crouched over with my hands over my face, waiting to feel the trickle of blood and trying to dodge the make-it-better kisses Katie was aiming at my aching nose, Nikki was laughing gleefully as she beat me over the back with a plastic golf club.
I don't know if it's a symptom of being a kid or being two.
Guess I have another six months to figure it out -- and figure how to live through it.
Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031, Ext. 210 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.