Living in a house full of boys, sometimes it is nice to have some good old-fashioned girl time.
Sometimes I go out to dinner with my sisters. We might even spend an entire day together. Other times I meet a couple of friends at Starbucks for iced teas and conversation when we aren’t able to fit lunch out into our schedules. Occasionally we see a chick-flick or go shopping when we have more time. I might even meet a friend for a drink (of the adult-beverage variety), and I’ve also been known to get away on a girls weekend to a cabin in the woods. Regardless of how I fit it in or what we do, we are always in for a good time.
When we aren’t busy comparing ourselves to each other and competing with one another, girls can totally “get” each other, and there isn’t quite another connection like it.
Last Friday I had a different sort of Girl’s Day.
I asked my sister-in-law if I could hang out with my two and a half-year-old niece for the day. (She is not just two because if you say that she is, she will correct you very quickly with an emphatic “and a half!” so, be advised and keep it straight.) Being the mom of three with very little time to herself, my sister-in-law was happy to drop her off and run for the hills share her youngest child with me.
Samantha is one of the sweetest little girls, and for some reason often asks to come over to Aunt Candy’s house (if she thinks it is just my house, who am I to correct her?). Actually, I think she is just in it to play with Stella (the cat) and Obi (the dog)–she doesn’t have any pets at her house and is completely fascinated by ours, but I am going to go ahead and keep thinking that I am her chosen favorite aunt. Ahem.
We started our day out at the newly relocated and vastly improved Children’s Museum downtown. She had been there once before but I hadn’t, so when I asked her to show me around she made a bee-line straight for her favorite feature, the water-play area.
It’s been awhile (over three years!) since I shared my daily life with a two and a half-year-old, and I had nearly forgotten how much fun they are. Everything is so exciting! And so funny!
(And so… exhausting. You’ll notice I barely got a single non-blurry photo–two and a half-year-olds move quickly!)
I also nearly forgot how much toddlers like repetition.
After filling and emptying countless cups of water, and many, many reenactments of the shark jumping down the waterfall and landing on the “ockopus”, which is totally hilarious, every. single. time., they ended up hugging it out and being given to another little kid (that ending was a refreshing departure from what I’m used to. My boys would have had the shark devouring the octopus in a bloody battle, I am pretty sure). When her arms were completely drenched and her fingers were starting to look like raisins we got her dried off and ventured on to another area.
We counted and identified the rainbow of colors on some wooden fish. Little Miss Smartypants knows all her colors, and how to count already.
We played peek-a-boo on the carpeted ramp to the reading nook.
Up in the treehouse/loft we collected stuffed animals in a basket and then put them all down for a nap. I thought this was the best idea yet and was happy to snuggle up with a surely germ-infested, rock-shaped pillow and close my eyes–you know for the sake of pretend play. Sadly our naps only lasted six seconds or less and then it was “wake up time!” and “Aunt Candy, get up!”
Mr. Squirrel went for way more than several rides down the bucket-on-a-rope-pulley to the lower level and back. Sometimes there would be new stuffed friends in the bucket which was absolutely mind-blowing. “How he get in dere?!”
Later we were on high watch for Swiper the Fox. He was out to get us, apparently.
And then, we hit up the slide. The quite narrow tube-slide that I’m pretty sure I would have gotten stuck in, so at the risk of disappointing the cutest little girl, I had to graciously decline the invitation to “You do it too!”
When every corner of the museum had been sufficiently explored, we headed out in search of some lunch. When I asked her where she wanted to go she replied, “Starbucks and get some lemon bread.” Oookay. There was a Starbucks about four blocks away, and when I told her it was a loooong walk she assured me she could make it.
And she did. She walked the whole way, holding my hand.
We did take a little break as we passed the steps of a plaza, but I mean, those steps were just asking to be sat on.
We watched the cars drive by and Samantha was thrilled whenever she saw a red car. “Anoder one!” But the most exciting was when we saw The Link, the downtown light rail train that went past.
“Dere goes da Yink!”
Eventually, we made it to Starbucks. With her heart set on a pink doughnut, she settled on a pink cake pop when we discovered the doughnuts were all gone. As her self-proclaimed favorite aunt, I am entitled to buy her whatever she wants at Starbucks. But of course I couldn’t just let her have a sugar covered ball of sugar on a stick for lunch, so I rounded things out with a fruit cup, a string cheese and apple juice for her, and an iced green tea for me.
We chatted and ate and sipped. We decided the photos on the wall were of cups of hot cocoa, and not coffee even though there were coffee beans next to the cups. Don’t argue with a two and a half-year-old. You will not win.
Those big eyes will get her pretty much anything she wants from Aunt Candy anyway.
Pink cake pops are the best thing ever, in case you were wondering.
That is, until you spot the Link going by again, in which case you announce it for the entire coffee shop to hear, because that is some excitement right there! We wouldn’t want them to miss the Link!
Once she finished eating we took our drinks along for the walk back. Surely we would need some refreshment for the journey.
On our way back we visited the “really big girl”, a 22 foot wooden statue of a Native American woman.
We also got to see a marching band and a bunch of men walking “a mile in her shoes”–they all had pink high heels on to raise awareness for sexual assault. We danced to the music and waved to the walkers then she wanted to keep seeing the “prade” (parade) even though they were no longer in sight. She saw the letter P on a sign to indicate parking and pointed out that it indeed, was the letter P. She then broke into the ABC song, only needing reminding of “what come after G?” but knew the rest perfectly. Smartypants, I tell ya.
She walked the entire way back to the car (why was I so surprised by that?) and us girls partied on like only girls do. We went to Costco.
I offered to take her home first but she was super excited to go. I can’t blame her–I get that way about Costco too. (That is, when I’m not busy hating it.) She told me she always buys oranges at Costco.
I didn’t get any oranges, but I did get a ten pound box of sweet potatoes, some dish and laundry soap, and I just might have picked up a little something that caught her eye. I am entitled to indulge her–I am her favorite aunt, remember? She also got to sample some lemon cake. It wasn’t Starbucks lemon bread, but it was satisfactory, nevertheless.
I think she liked the smiley face the lady at the door drew on our receipt more than the Little People book though.
Oh well. In the car we sang toddler tunes at the top of our lungs. I can belt out a mean rendition of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, yo.
And she knew every word to Take Me Out to the Ball Game. Now that really brought me back because that was my boys’ very favorite when they were little(r). I used to sing it to Cameron every night over and over when he was about a year old–it was the only way I could get him to sleep without rocking him in the rocking chair.
Anyway, it was a really fun day spent with an amazing little girl.
I was glad to be reminded of the joys of experiencing life through the eyes of a two and a half-year-old again. I think we should all be reminded of that once in awhile.
Who is the cutest little girl around?