Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Happy Birthday, Thing #2

A couple of people informed me that my posts don't seem to provide much in the way of detail about my younger daughter, what's-her-name. Yes, the now-three-year-old, sweet and lovable, exceptionally opinionated toddler that currently rules the toy room with an iron fist. So, in an effort to provide equal airtime, here's a Jessica update.

As mentioned above, she has reached the golden age of three, today in fact. I'm currently traveling in Minneapolis and attempted to wish her a happy birthday when I called home earlier, but being three years old she had no real interest in speaking with the disembodied voice coming from the telephone handset as she was too busy arranging her Fisher-Price farm animals by order of date obtained.

Last Saturday was her party. For six months before the event, if you asked her where her party was going to be, she would authoritatively proclaim, "I'm going to see Chucky!" That'd be Chuck E. Cheese. Ah yes, Chuck E. Cheese. Processed, overpriced, high-fat fun for kids of all ages. There's nothing that makes me itch more than spending an hour at Chuck E. Cheese. But I seem to remember that when I was a kid, my parents never took me to CEC's, and I only dreamed that it was some sort of Taj Mahal, a magical place on the order of the Wonka Chocolate Factory, where animatronic wild creatures smothered you in piles of magical gold coins that made all of your dreams come true. And I'm sure that's how Jessica sees it now. Either that, or she sees it as "the place with the ball pit". Frankly, in our circle of families it's well known as the place where your kid gets to catch her first cold of the season.

Jessica is definitely the second kid. She will spend hours playing by herself, unsupervised, with a set of blocks. She graciously accepts hand-me-downs, and doesn't insist on having the pink Dora plate with her afternoon snack. Unlike her sister she hasn't been read every book in our vast library seventeen times. Sometimes I wonder if we've been unfair, having spent countless hours paying focused attention to her older sister, educating her on everything from the alphabet to power tool recognition, only to not have time for the same effort with our second child. But Jessica's no slouch. She already knows the important stuff, such as how to manipulate her father, how to tantrum until we give in, and how to wait until the very moment we sit down to ask for a second helping of raisins.

Here's a perfect example from a while back. After dinner, I was tossing dishes into the dishwasher when she pitter-pattered up to me and asked, "Um, dad? Daddy? Daddy? Dad? Um...dad?"

"Yes?" I responded.

"Can you play with us?"

"Not right now, I'm washing dishes."

She then waddled back into the playroom to proclaim to her sister, "He said YES!!!"

This is true. If you reread the above, you will see I did, in fact, say yes. Not to the question she asked, but that doesn't matter now, does it? She got me on semantics.

Happy third birthday, Jessica. It's gonna be a big year. Preschool, separation from Mommy, and being forced to poop in designated locations are all part of your to-do list. So enjoy it while you can!

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