About a year ago, I wrote a post about my concern that Super Toddler (then Super Baby and not quite a year old) was rapidly becoming the friend character in a romantic comedy. You know, the friend of the beautiful ingenue. The one who doesn't get a boy, or if she does, their courting either takes place completely off-screen or in the last 5 minute wrap-up at the end of the movie. The second string one who is either fat, has glasses, or is a flamboyantly gay man. The friend character, you know. Well, my feelings about her being a friend character (which I have no actual problem with, mind you. We all know that the friend characters steal the movie and are really the only ones you remember afterward.) were based on her markedly passive infancy. Super Toddler was a dream baby. Kind, sweet, handing over toys to anyone who demanded them from her. Peaceful, gentle, sleeping through the night at 6 weeks. She was the baby to end all babies; seriously, I was thinking of sticking her in the manger during the Christmas pageant, she was that good.
Well, the transition from baby to toddler is a sneaky one. While Super Kindergartener and Super Preschooler are clearly identified by their school status, Super Toddler began the slow process toward toddlerhood shortly after I wrote my friend character post; she started to walk. That is what toddlers are named for, after all, their burgeoning ability to toddle around. So, the long process of leaving babyhood begins with 1 shaky little step, and it is still going on. Grandmas in the store still want to cuddle her. Big kids at the park scream to "watch out for the baby" as they race past her. She is still the youngest in the house, out of utero, that is, and thus, apt to be cooed at, forgiven for dumping all the toys on the floor, and encouraged to "give Mommy big kisses!" It is a slow gradual process that has allowed me to watch her full toddlerness unfold and dream about her eventual fully-bloomed personality.
Our super hero family has some firm archetypes. Super Kindergartener is a straight-up team leader. If we were the X-men, he would be the strong and steady Cyclops. In the Avengers, he is our rock solid Captain America. If you prefer a DC reference, he is a clear Superman, down to his all-American farm-boy looks and shy smile. In Star Wars, he is our Luke, from his shaggy blond hairdo to his tendency to whine.
Now, Super Preschooler is a bit more fun-loving and likes to fill the comedic, slightly roguish, side-character role. He doesn't mind being in the background because it gives him more time to goof off. Of our X-men, he is the mighty but witty Beast. Avengers? Full-on Iron Man; down to his luck with the ladies. Ladies love Super Preschooler. In DC, he is the generous and slightly silly Green Arrow. And in Star Wars, he is Han Solo; watch the boy grin, you need no further proof.
Now, over the past year, I have watched Super Toddler and I have pondered; will she be like Nightcrawler, the peaceful and charming teleporter? Susan Storm, with her maternal manner and incredible self-control? Will she be the silent but deadly Black Widow? The powerful, earth-loving Storm? Maybe she'll grow a couple feet and turn into Chewbacca. Turns out that Super Toddler has much higher aspirations.
Today, as I drag her, kicking and screaming, out of the Target, only to lose my grip on her when one of her particularly well-aimed kicks connects and she goes running and laughing into the parking lot, it dawns on me. As I trail this force of nature through a maze of carts and cars that she disregards with glee, I finally figure her out.
She is the Hulk.
She is Wolverine.
She is Batman.
And I am pretty sure she intends to be Darth Vader someday.
Super Toddler isn't entirely sure she wanted to be part of a Superhero team. In fact, I am not altogether sure she even wants to be a hero. There is a X-men character named Sebastian Shaw, who favors cravats and runs a secret organization called the Hellfire Club. He isn't very nice. Well, anyway, his mutation is that he absorbs energy and then turns it into super human strength that he, naturally, hurls at whomever he doesn't like. I have a feeling Super Toddler spent the first year and a half of her life absorbing energy and is now releasing it, a la Sebastian Shaw. If she established a Hellfire club tomorrow, I would not be terribly surprised.
If this is all too nerdy for you, here is all you need to know; Baby Girl's terrible twos have arrived. With a vengeance.
You may think that I am overwhelmed and horrified by this. Well, yes, perhaps a little overwhelmed, but I actually love it. She is the feistiest, boldest, most amazing person I have ever met. She has no fear. She takes no prisoners. She flies into every situation with passion and enthusiasm, even if she has no idea what she is doing. Sometimes while I am driving, I worry about getting into an accident because I let my eyes linger on the rearview mirror a bit too long; you see, I can see her back there in her seat, hurling her shoes to the floor and leaning toward the window so her hair will whip around her face while she shouts the ABCs to the wind. She is flawless. I could watch her race around the living room for hours; her walk is beautiful and her run is even better. I seriously have no idea how I lived 33 years of my life without her.
Even Super Villains have rare moments of reflection.
You know, to plot their next foray into world domination.
I get to spend 2 mornings a week just with Super Toddler now that Super Preschooler is in preschool. These girl-only mornings are quickly becoming hilarious, harrowing, and the highlights of my week. Monday, we go grocery shopping. We are all business and out of there in 20 minutes. We get to the car, and, as I strap her into her carseat, Super Toddler begins urgently waving at the bags and shouting. Her language skills are enthusiastic but mostly undecipherable. These bags contain, in no particular order, apples, a loaf of bread, a box of Cheez-its, animal crackers, cheese sticks, a can of cream of mushroom soup, oranges, and raisins. I offer her an apple, which she fastballs 2 parking spaces over and under a car, like the pint-sized Randy Johnson she is. I show her the raisins, which she waves off like they are an annoying fly. I open a cheese stick, but she sticks it in my mouth instead. No to the Cheez-its and the animal crackers, and people are starting to stare. I try an orange, only for it to go the way of the apple. I sigh and hand her the can of soup, maybe she just wants a toy to play with. She sets it next to her and gestures to the remaining bread.
Really? I hand her a slice of bread, and she takes a bite. Contented, the Carb Queen plucks the cheese stick back out of my mouth and nestles it in the corner of her mouth like a tiny Groucho Marx, before grinning (like a tiny Groucho Marx), hefting the can of mushroom soup in her left hand, and hurling what appears to be a knuckle ball all the way into the street. The Hulk, I tell you.