At this moment, she's sitting on the floor playing by herself. She drags her Pooh bear around and says, "Come on, Pooh." She walks up to me and asks for water in her favorite cup. (Not in the babyish way of crying and saying, "Wah-wah," but actually saying, "Water, please.") She builds towers with her blocks. Right now she's putting her number flash cards back in the box after having read though them all and told me what each says. (She just brought the box to me and said, "Mama, box self, Yaya," which translates roughly to, "Mama, I put them back in the box myself!")
But it's not the large vocabulary or the physical developments that are the most striking proof that she's a kid now—it's the realization that she is not completely under my thumb as she's been for the last 24 months.
About a week ago, she started calling me Mother—"No, Mother," "Yes, Mother," "More, please, Mother." Nobody knows where she even learned the word. Neither of her grandmothers (who are her only babysitter) ever use the word. None of the cartoons she watches even have children in them, but we're assuming that there's a story line or episode that we're just not thinking of.
Even more mysterious is where she learned the birthday song. She recently started singing "Happy Birthday" at home. As far as we can tell, she's only heard the song twice in her life at the two birthdays she's ever attended. Once again, we've quizzed anyone she's spent any time with, right down to her Sunday School teachers, and none of them claim to have ever sung the song around her. It's baffling.
I am puzzled by these new bits of knowledge she's come home with, but obviously not upset. It could have been much worse—she's not saying cuss words or singing Katy Perry songs—but it definitely makes me feel out of control of her life. And I guess this is the beginning the process of losing control. From now until I drop her off in her dorm room, I'm going to hear her say things I didn't teach her, talk about friends I don't know, and about places I've never been. *sigh*
But for right now, I've got her sitting at my side, leaning on my arm, and playing with my phone and I am not taking it for granted.