Memo to Dessy: 35 Months

Odessa.

You're almost 3. In 4T clothes with a sassafrass 'tude that's equal parts vinegar and sweet. You are the umami of toddlers. Like a spicy Cheetoh. I have to keep snacking on you because if I stop, the burn sets in. You are relentless in your independence but you're also a snugglebug. Mostly with Daddy. I feel like I went through this same thing with Emmy but she wasn't quite as obstinate. You are both your daddy's girls at this age. He's understandably way more jungle-gymmy and fun and doesn't care quite as much when you wipe a ketchup mustache onto his pants. Mommy's also not as strong or tall or long armed Gumby, so I don't hold it against you.

However. You are just a little dragon baby at times.

Me: "Odessa, let's go brush your teeth."

You: "Uh uh."

Me: "Time to take a bath."

You: "Uh uh."

Me: "Odessa."

You: "Uh uh."

You're so funny though that it's just impossible to actually get mad. I have to just stifle my laughter and joy to pretend to teach you some sort of lesson. Mostly you've taught me to be a master distracter. "Oh I know! We're going to read the new library book for bedtime afteryoujustocmeoverhereandlet'sgopottyrealquickandletmeflossyourteethwhileyou'resitting

onthetoiletbeforeyourealizeIjustdidthatyesIdid." 

I am kind of proud of that new skill I've learned. Somehow I need to find a real world application for it. You and Emmy are suddenly mostly BFFs. That is thoroughly, thoroughly, easily one of my favorite milestones as a parent. To hear the two of you chattering and playing and Emmy explaining things and you asking why 17 times until she stops explaining or says "Because, Odessa, I already told you why." It's the most innocent, sweet interaction between two small human beings and I look for any chance I can eavesdrop while holding my breath and waiting to see what each of you says and does next. It is parenting nirvana for me.

(Thanks to Jay Tsai for great family pics.)

Example:

Emmy: "You listen to the big sister."

Odessa: "You listen to the little sister."
Emmy: "Big sisters teach the little sisters, OK?"
Odessa: ... (processing)

 

Maybe because I was an only child and don't remember anything about friendships and discovery at this age? Sibling interaction this pure is intoxicating. 

Some of your favorite phrases right now: "Nevah myyyynnd." It's a variation of nevermind that I have no idea where you heard it. Like you're literally from Odessa, Texas and you stepped into the barn after wrangling some mustangs when you say it with such a long drawl.
Meantime, we try to keep it a little #freshofftheboat with your Santa visit.
And you know how some dudes people are always walking around in bars quoting random movie lines and asking if you've ever seen that film? You are that dude in the form of a little tyke who quotes from your books. At first I thought you were being totally out of pocket when you would just say "Don't ask me any questions." Completely unprovoked. "Don't ask me annnnnny questions." I mean, that's just so rude!
Then I realized, after weeks of thinking I've raised such an inconsiderate and discourteous 2 year old, that you're quoting from "I Want My Hat Back," an awesome book White Grandma gave you. One of your favorites. And the line, for the record, is "Don't ask me any more questions." But that's OK. I sing the wrong words to songs all the time. Like my current fave, "Blank Space." Call all my Starbucks lovers, they'll tell you I'm insane!
Wait, that's not the line?
 
Someone is seriously starting a slight princess complex. We never had that with Emmy. In fact, you guys are about 2 years behind in finally seeing Frozen. Of course, you're now in love with Princess Elsa. I don't know. I don't want to be all Tiger Mom about it, and I guess I can't now, not after Asian Grandma and Grandpa gave you ELEVEN Disney princesses took three Asian immigrants two pairs of scissors and 27 minutes to free from the gigantic box.

I just love you so much and you're so talkative and bright and spicy and tough. Like I never worry about you. You just have this "I got this" attitude and it's so hard to put into words but it's endearing and prompts endless head shaking from me. I just want you to like me and you make me work so hard for it. You LOVE your grandmas. You are just enamored with both of them. As you should be. It's like you're the neighbor's little dog that barks and tries to bite me but you're so, so cute like the $120 million Grumpy Cat and finally when I win you over it's so worth it to get the hug and have you say, "I love you too Mommy." Or when you grab me around the neck and give me that wet smackaroo on the cheek.
You're so unexpected and unpredictable and we're all addicted.

Love you,
Mama