Because I don't want ever to forget any of Helena's two-and-a-half-year-old charms.
(Excuse my French. I'm trying to replicate her toddler speak, in addition to which I make my own grammatical mistakes. When she addresses me in French, I often find that even just moments later I'm unable to recall her precise words, as I've already translated them in my head.)
When counting or listing things, Helena asks me "Tu veux en français or in English?"
Last week, out of the blue, she says to me, "Tu s'appeles Mommy," saying "Mommy" with big lazy English vowels. She's never called me "Mommy."
She's learning our actual names: "Ja-Fwafwa Fourmi" and "Zabibella Kratiskititi." Eh, close enough.
I thought she should know her surname, in case — God forbid — she gets lost or something. The poor thing is hyphenated, but she's been choosing to identify herself as a "Kratiskititi," "comme toi, Mama!"
To me: "Apres vous madame Mama."
To J-F: "Apres vous madame Papa."
Sitting by the pool this weekend, "1, 2, 3, enleve ton chandail, Mama." ("Take off your shirt.")
The way she cups her face in her hands, when she stops to remember something. My mom does that. I do that too.
"Tous mes choses," as she gathers her things about her, blanket, pillow, teddybear, book. There's delight and pride in her face.
"Touches pas!" Not because she doesn't want to share, but because she's in the middle of executing a very complicated plan that cannot be interrupted.
She runs out of imaginary food when she's hosting a tea party. (How can you run out of imaginary food?) She accuses me of swiping imaginary food off her plate.
She favours vanilla and strawberry ice cream over chocolate.
I've coached her in solving jigsaw puzzles: "What about if we try this other piece on the edge — look, the colours are similar." The way she puzzles through on her own now: "What about... ici!"
Yesterday morning was the first morning I've been woken by the pitter-patter of little feet approaching my bed, looking to climb in. She still prefers to be retrieved from her bed in the morning.
The way she says "oui, oui" and "non, non" so sweetly, to emphasize my silliness in questioning the obvious.
The way she thinks really, really, really hard about choosing one of the outfits I offer for her to wear.
How, when we go to the park, she wants me to sit in the swing, she wants to push.
She has an imaginary horse (the size of a small dog) in her bedroom. There's an imaginary photo of her imaginary horse hanging on the wall.
The way everything must stop when she hears church bells in the distance. ("Ecoute! Les ding-dongs!") Or when they're close by (just down the street) and she must out-peal them: "Ding-dong! Ding-dong!" at the top of her lungs. I love bells.
Playing hide and seek with the sun: "Le soleil cache dans les nuages! Kookoo, soleil!"