Jon came home last night to find Lilly in her booster chair watching elmo, wearing a shirt and diaper but no pants (we had just had a potty experience and mommy was lazy about getting her completely dressed since she was about to get her pj's on), her hair was a mess (she was eating mac n cheese all by herself, so the cheese was throughout her hair), and she had her "spillproof" sippy cup upside down and the milk was pouring all over her shirt (not so spillproof after all). And his first words were "I forget how beautiful she is, and then I come home after a long day and she is so adorable!" And she gave him a big kiss (she kisses like a princess, pouts her lips out and bends her head back and waits for the prince - daddy - to complete the transaction), dances a little bit, and then shoos him away to continue watching elmo in peace. She's such a good little lady.
And then we got her ready for bed, and Jon read her a story, and then she took the book (Madeline - one of her favorites) and read the book to him. I'm not sure what language she read it in, but she has a little girl's voice now when she reads, even if it is somewhat babble. And she reads so seriously, and then she'll say something (sounding like abu daba ding dong ooh) and she starts laughing, because obviously there was a joke that happened in the plotline of the story. So we laugh along with her. She looks at each page, and then looks up while reading out loud, and sometimes turns the book around and holds it up, like a little teacher reading to her class. Storytime with Lilly is so much fun.
But not everything is fun, of course, because she's 2. I've learned that in Lilly's World, she is always correct and mommy is always wrong (if mommy disagrees with whatever Lilly wants). Lilly also always reserves the right to change her mind. Because, since she's 2, her first instinct is to say no, before she even knows what the question is. "Lilly, do you want some toast?" "No-no-no!" And then grabs the toast from me and starts eating it. Same with milk, playing, getting in the car, taking a bath, sitting on the potty. Everything is "No" and then most of the time she changes her mind a split second after thinking about it.
For the past 2 months, Lilly hasn't been eating very much. She's become extremely picky about the foods she does like. Every now and then she'll have a good appetite, but still only for certain foods (bread, melon, apple, crackers, cookies, and french fries). Then last night during dinner, for the first time I gave her the mac n cheese (with veggies mixed in) in a bowl with a spoon and gave her complete freedom with what to do with it. Typically we feed her, since she's not good with a spoon yet. But last night, after making peace with the fact that she & the dining room would end in a complete disaster, I decided to see what would happen. (She had eaten toast for dinner most of the past week - her choice after not wanting anything else we gave her.) All of a sudden, she was eating on her own, and got maybe 40% of the food in her mouth - but the key part - was that she was interested in eating. So was that really the problem for the past few months, that she just had that 2 year old "I do it" mentality, and she wasn't going to eat things unless she did it herself? I tried again this morning with breakfast. She hasn't wanted yogurt for 3 months, but I set it in front of her with a spoon, and she fed herself again. It may not seem like much to make me happy, but with her pickiness I was starting to get concerned, so maybe we've turned a corner here.
I'm also not above bribery with this little lady. I really wanted her to eat something besides toast a few nights ago, and she loves syrup and will usually eat french toast, but I wanted it to be more nutricious. So I took a whole egg and lathered one piece of toast with it, and fried it like french toast (except it was obviously caked on each side with the egg), and then put syrup on it, and she ate the whole thing. (Of course at first she said "nonono and then after forcing her to taste the syrup, she was happy.) We're also using bribery happily with our potty adventures. She's so good at going to the potty, but doesn't like the intitial sitting on the potty. She contorts her body so that we can't put her on it, and whines, and sometimes we wait her out, or just force her to sit - and then she's fine. In fact, sometimes she doesn't want to get off the potty. But two nights ago I knew she had to poop (she had actually signed "potty"), so I told her "Lilly, you can have an mnm if you sit on the potty." And she sat on the potty without major struggle. So I gave her the mnm, and then told her "Lilly, you can have another mnm if you go poopoo or peepee." And she immediately "went" and I gave her another mnm. Could it really be this easy? Turns out, it's not that easy - not because of her, but because of me. You see, I can't allow mnm's to remain in this house without eating every last one of them. So by the next afternoon I had eaten all of them and had nothing to bribe her with last night. :)
Jon and I talked last night about how life would be if we didn't have Lilly. Certainly 99% of the joy of our lives wouldn't exist without her. She adds such a beautiful dimension to all our situations, and constantly keeps us on our toes. I honestly can't remember a time without her. She is a wonderful companion and is certainly the heart and soul of our little family.
(But ask me again after this weekend - Jon's working all weekend and it's me and Lilly on our own.)