My two-year-old daughter Bridget has been trying really hard to talk lately. She goes on long monologues at the dinner table, flinging her arms around and shaking her fist to emphasize her point.
Frankly, I have no idea what she’s talking about. Whatever it is, she feels very passionate about it. Something about tacos and cats, which are apparently vital issues within the baby community.
I’m so glad she’s finally learning to talk, though, because she’s been at a major disadvantage when dealing with her big sister Brontë, who is four. Brontë literally talks nonstop from the crack of dawn until I’m tucking her into bed, which must be so intimidating.
Two years is a huge advantage in toddler time. Brontë is bigger and stronger and can reach more, say more, and knows more things. She constantly bosses Bridget around and muscles away her toys whenever my back is turned.
All Bridget can do in response is scream uncontrollably or hit Brontë in the head with a nearby object. And BOTH get her in trouble.
Brontë’s got the home field advantage. She’s even been convincing Bridget she can read. She grabs the bedtime story book when I’m finished and convincingly pretends to read every page to her sister, making up a story while pointing to words.
I didn’t fully grasp her motivations until last week, when Brontë grabbed my clock radio instructions, unfolded them, then walked over to Bridget.
“It says here,” Brontë began, while staring intently at the giant instruction square, “That the bedroom is Brontë’s and Bidgie is just allowed to sleep over.”
“And number 2,” Brontë pretended to read, “The toys are Brontë’s and Bidgie is not allowed to take them. Number 3 says Bidgie can’t close the door.”
“Psh,” said Bridget.
“I dunno, Bidgie. That’s what it says.”
But Bidgie’s not rolling over without a fight. What she lacks in verbiage, she more than makes up for in sheer bravada.
When Brontë dazzles everyone with adorable stories, for example, Bridget will stun the audience by picking up a bottle of hot sauce and drinking it.
Or, Bridget will aggravate her big sister by wreaking havoc on her pretend world. Like the other day, when Brontë took Princess Pink Ballerina and the Handsome Prince out for a joyride in the fantasy pink ballerina car.
The moment Brontë ran away, distracted by something or other, Bridget crept up to the car and replaced the prince with a giant green dinosaur:
And you’d be surprised by how much attitude Bridget can work into two- or three-word sentences. Yesterday, she had the following conversation with her sister:
Bidgie is sitting in the bathtub when Brontë wanders up…
Brontë: Hi, can I get some candy please?
Bridget (handing her pretend candy): Here!
Brontë: Thank you! This isn’t enough candy though. I come here all the time. Can I get more candy?
Brontë: Can I get some strawberry ice cream?
Brontë: Thanks! Do you have any chocolate ice cream?
Brontë: Can you make some?
Bridget (crossing arms): Buh-bye.
Honestly, I was a little relieved when this conversation ended. I thought it might take a turn down “around the corner fudge is made” street.
That’s such a likely scenario with my kids, I can only assume Bridget didn’t have the goods.