We had a celebrity sighting today.
Penelope has a ladybug suitcase, that came with a ladybug purse. She loves her ladybug. She talks to her, carries her around, hugs her and says "Geeeze!" (translation=squeeze, which is what we say when we hug sometimes). She also has a ladybug plate, bowl and bib. So when she saw the actual real live ladybug on her bedroom wall today, she was ecstatic.
"OH! HIII, ladybug!" she exclaimed. "Hi! mmmmMMA!" She made a kissy noise, but luckily did not actually inhale the bug that was frozen on her wall, probably wondering if its death was imminent. Penelope ran and got her stuffed penguin, to show the ladybug. "Pengin!" she told the ladybug, holding it up to the wall. "Dance!" She said and began to make her penguin dance for the ladybug.
This episode, along with hearing her say 'Ohma goodness" for the first time, were the two biggest events of my day.
I am trying to avoid saying it, because it's so cliche and obvious but it's so insane how fast she's growing. Just a few months ago, she had an identity crisis.
Penelope's grandma has a Betty Boop figurine in a glass cabinet.
"Do you see Betty Boop?" We all asked Penelope, pointing at the little character staring at us sweetly from behind the glass.
"Boop!" Penelope confirmed with pointing. A couple days later when she proclaimed "Boop!" I noticed she was patting on her own chest, motioning to herself. And then I noticed that she wasn't looking at Betty, in the cabinet but slightly above the statue's head- at her own face reflecting in the glass. And that was when I realized this whole time she'd been staring at herself, and now thought she was Betty Boop.
Then that night as we were getting ready for bed, Penelope was shivering from her bath. "Want some lotion?" I offered the bottle up as a distraction. She held up her little hands toward it. "BOOP!" was the sound effect I used as I dropped it onto her chest.
"Boop!" she said, seemingly excited that she recognized the language. "Boop!" she repeated, tapping her chest and nodding as if saying "Yes, I am Boop. If there was ever a doubt about who I am, and if these big people were trying to teach me something. It's that I am named Boop."
What have we done? We taught her that she's a 1930s cartoon character! She's going to start kindergarten in just 4 years! By then it will be so deeply ingrained there will be no stopping it.
Now she knows she is "Pen-a-me". She knows the entire alphabet, at least 100 words, numbers, songs and even random animals like 'porcupine', 'newt', or 'xoona moth'.
She's obsessed with flossing. "Fossy??" She begs if she sees floss. If you give her a string she keeps it in her mouth, the ends dangling from both sides of her lips and walks around, going about her business. "Mm! good foss!" She nods as if I've cooked it for her, or maybe like a fine cigar.
I think I love Penelope more than ever. I know I said that before but I think I almost have to. It's as though my love has to keep growing and stretching because that's what she's doing. It's no longer as simple as loving a little baby who stays wherever you put her, eats whatever you place in her toothless mouth, wears whatever shirt you thread her tiny arms through. Now my love has to be strong and malleable enough to cover the personality that is growing as fast as her curly hair. From the parts that are easy to love- like her interest in music that makes her stand up even to the Subway $5 footlong song, as if she's at a Beyoncé concert--shaking her hips and holding her hands in the air-- to the harder parts like how she stubbornly wants things that I don't want for her. Like eating the outside of a kiwi, or wanting to walk on her own through a public place saying "Hi" to EVERYONE- even the teenagers who are snickering menacingly at the world. Probably making fun of everyone they see, these older kids see the world populated by idiots. I remember those days. It's like you're wearing special teenage glasses where everyone else looks and sounds like a fool. But Penelope doesn't know that. She just flashes her smile as she walks by narrowly missing a sharp table corner. "Hi!" she says for the 4,324,590,293th time.
Not only does my love for her continue growing, but I'm finding another transformation in myself-- that I'm loving and finding empathy for all creatures. Other babies for sure, but also older people, even the cranky ones, and animals. It's as if my love for Penelope has helped me to love all of Creation. I almost felt bad when I peeked at the bottom of the pink crate that holds all her Carebears and saw 7 dead ladybugs at the bottom. "Ew." I said out loud, without realizing it. Penelope ran over and peered inside.
"Oh! HII ladybug!" She exclaimed excitedly.