Ever since Nissa turned two (in May), she has started to create little collections of things. On most days this isn't a problem, unless the Collection Of The Day involves my measuring spoons, or the left shoe of every single pair in our front closet (aside: is it possible for my two year-old to know her left from her right?). Even then, the issue isn't that she's collecting things, because that's the way she learns about similarities and differences. The problem arises when she becomes attached to her little collections in a way that is not unlike a fiercely protective Daddy standing over his little girl as her first date comes walking up the driveway. Except that the Daddy also has a shotgun, a growling dog that is just itching to take a chunk out of your leg, and a machete. You know, just for good measure.
I know that it sounds as if I'm exaggerating, but this our new reality. If I even so much as think about relocating one of the stockpiles of stuff that threatens underfoot - well then, watch out world. Daddy's gonna come a-lookin' for me and he ain't gonna be happy. Except that Daddy in this case is a two year-old with the raging temper of the Tasmanian Devil (on a good day).
Lately, it's books. We have big piles and little piles and all sorts of in-between piles of books strewn all about the house. Nissa can't read yet, so she sorts all of her books according to size. She has "tiny books" and "baby books" (which are just tiny board books) and "big baby books" (regular sized board books), and that's just for starters. On any given day, there are subcategories within each of these main divisions and the best part is that they change. Frequently. Trying to keep it all straight is like trying to figure out the details of the debt ceiling agreement (ba dum tish!).
If Nissa was anything like Inara, we could just say, "Oh how cute. Another pile of crap!", pick it up and move along. But this is NOT Inara. This is a screaming banshee-person who has perfected the art of hysterical wailing combined with the rare full body taser-induced body writhe. Meanwhile, Inara is still trying to figure out why her Elmo doll has had broken batteries for four years.
This is to say, that if Nissa doesn't get what she wants when she wants it - the neighbors will hear about it. And it will sound as if I'm hurting her.
Nissa will also remember her weird little collections at the oddest times. Halfway through a diaper change she will all of a sudden pull a plank and scream bloody murder: "WHEZ MY BABY BOOKS? I WAN MY BAAAABY BOOOKS!!!!" And of course I've got an arm elbow deep in a pile of poop so NO, I cannot go get your baby books right now, child that I love with every fiber of my being.
This is of course immediately followed by Nissa turning into a humane hurricane - with poop added for extra dramatic effect.
So now, before we go up to change her diaper I will ask her if she wants her tiny books. Or her baby books. Or her big baby books. Sometimes she will say yes to one, but on most days she will want all three types of books. So then she grabs a pile, I grab a pile, and I throw the other pile up the steps ahead of us. And we're dropping books the whole way up the steps with a turd hanging out down low, but why rush to change a diaper when you've got make sure you have your TINY BOOKS???
WE MUST NOT FORGET THE TINY BOOKS OR ELSE SUFFER THE WRATH OF NISSA.
(This is actually my new mantra.)
You know how before you leave the house you check to make sure you have your wallet and cell phone? Well, we all check to make sure we have Nissa's books (Inara helps us to remember), because we have been burned too many times without them and let me tell you, getting caught with your proverbial pants around your ankles in this case IS NOT AN OPTION (is it ever an option?). Imagine the three of us in a car - Nissa, Inara, and I - arriving at our destination, all of us in tears. Nissa is flipping out for her books, Inara is inconsolable because Nissa is hysterical and "Why can't you HELP HER, MAMA? WHY CAN'T YOU JUST MAKE HER STOP?!?!" And I'm crying because what the hell, I might as well join in the fun from the comfort of the driver's seat. I'm sure that people see this kind of behavior all the time.
Yousuf and I don't know how to weather the tempest of Nissa's obsessive tendencies, other than to just hold on for dear life and pray that we make it out the other side in one piece. Surely this behavior can't go on forever, right? It's not like she's going to walk halfway across the stage at her college graduation, stop mid-stride and shriek at the top of her lungs, "WHERE ARE MY BIG BABY BOOKS?!?"
I keep trying to spin this in a positive way, I tell myself that maybe this is a reflection of her tenacity and determination and that it's a good thing...except that when its 5am and your baby wakes up wailing, "TIIIINYYYY BOOOOKS!!!" - well at that point it's hard to spin anything in a positive light.
Which is why Nissa now sleeps with her blankie, her lovie, and a pile of books in her crib.
This is your brain passed out on Tiny Books.