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Thirty-One Months

Through the Gate

Dear Persephone,

Somewhere in the last month your temper has taken a turn for the worse. Don’t get me wrong, you are still sweet and cute — much of the time — but you are also more prone than ever to tantrums and meltdowns and fits of pique. Perhaps it’s because you’ve been fighting off a bacterial infection for much of the last month, but I suspect it has more to do with being two and a half years old. One pediatrician calls your age “The First Adolescence,” and that makes a lot of sense to me. You are establishing yourself as a person.

It’s all about opposition. Sometimes you oppose us, sometimes you oppose yourself. You will often switch gears suddenly and without warning. You’ll be happily eating some pasta or hugging a stuffed animal one moment, and the next you will be pushing your bowl away or throwing the animal down on the floor and saying “I don’t like that pasta” or “I don’t like that rabbit.” Indeed, the list of things you “don’t like” is lengthy. This morning you told me you didn’t like my bed, and told me to “take it away.”

Often these little upsets don’t escalate into anything further, but sometimes they do. Sometimes they evolve into full-scale weeping and wailing. Sometimes the source of your frustration is comprehensible, even if it doesn’t really make sense to my adult mind. Other times it’s completely mysterious.

Usually a short “time out” is all that’s needed to get you back in a fairly cheerful mood.

I don’t want to make it seem like you are throwing fits all the time, because you’re not. But neither do I want to paint an overly rosy portrait of your early childhood. You are behaving like a toddler, which is to be expected.

I suppose as long as I’m discussing things that may be embarrassing to you later, I should note that your toilet training is coming along well, but you still haven’t learned to dress yourself.

Your linguistic development continues to amaze me. You recently “got” personal pronouns. It was one of those sudden lightbulb revelations. Instead of saying “Dada and Sephie,” you started saying “you and me,” and your delight in this breakthrough was manifestly evident, as you kept repeating it with greater enthusiasm each time. Now you use “you” and “me” all the time without even blinking.

(I hesitate to even mention that you seem to have develop a stutter over this past weekend. I spoke to a colleague who is a speech pathologist, and she indicated at your age there’s nothing to do but watch and wait. She also noted that such aberrations often crop up after rapid spurts of development, and usually go away of themselves.)

Another important concept you recently mastered: “I don’t know.” You used to say, “Hmm!” when you didn’t know the answer to a question, which was fairly adorable, but “I don’t know” is obviously more sophisticated. It has become one of your favorite expressions. I take that as a good sign; knowing our limits is a prerequisite to wisdom.

You fascination with princesses and fairy tales continues. Yesterday you asked me for a “poisoned apple.”

Finally, I just wanted to note the funniest thing I think you’ve said over the past month, while banging a brush and comb together: “I’m making music with a crazy purple beat.”

Published inLetters to PersephonePix


  1. Lee Lee

    My eldest daughter, Taylor had a speech impediment that we were worried about at that age. She took speech classes at IU for a year or so, but it didn’t change dramatically. In the end it just went away with time, so your colleague is right.

    She used to call the cats, “tat”. There was big tat (Furby) and oes (Oreo). When we got another cat whose name was Baby, she called her baby tat, and we left it at that. From that point on her name was baby tat.

    If the speech issue doesn’t start turning around when she starts school, that’s when I would seek help.

    Off subject, my 11 month old is saying “who dat” at random intervals. I thought you’d enjoy that.

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