When you become a parent, one of the first things you learn (besides how to function on inhuman levels of sleep) is that everything is a phase. That cute noise they make after they sneeze, that little expression they make when their eyes are open, the habits they have as infants all change as rapidly as they grow. One of my favorite things Isobel used to do before she really got talking was to say “Wow! Wow! Wow!” over and over and over. Anthony and I took it for granted, somehow assuming that she’d be saying “Wow!” adorably forever, but then one day, she stopped, and real words took their place. We’ve learned over and over that everything’s a phase, the good, the bad, the annoying, it’s all a stage of growth on their way to becoming toddlers, becoming children, becoming adults.
Isobel’s current hobbies include organizing things by type, color, and size (she’s going to make an excellent librarian, don’t you think?) and more recently, hoarding. I often see her struggling to push her overloaded stroller, filled with goodies and festooned with overflowing purses, down the hallway like some diminutive bag lady. It doesn’t help that she’s usually wearing an outfit she picked out herself and that she’s speaking in a near undecipherable toddler pidgin-language made up of Spanish, English and colloquialisms specific to our family. Lately when I walk down the hall and she’s a bit behind me she’ll yell, “Mama! Wait up!”
Whenever we leave the house we inevitably engage in negotiation for how much stuff she can bring with her. Sometimes she gets away with two purses, but we usually narrow it down to one.
All of this stuff is important to her. She sees value in everything.
When we go outside she picks flowers, and later we’ll find petals she surreptitiously stuck into purses or her pockets, or at the bottom of her baby doll stroller seat. Usually by the time they are discovered they have withered into crunchy wads.
But this is just a phase. Someday this will all be junk to her, and I’ll be sad because I’ll know that childlike part of her that saw the potential in everything, including a crumpled receipt, will be gone. But by that time. there will be some wonderful new thing to take its place.