These days, we often say we are ready for a nap, insist on taking either Mommy or Daddy to nap "in the big bed", and then proceed to shriek laughter, jump up and down, and build forts with pillows until whichever parent is in there gives up and deposits her in her actual bed for actual naptime.
Of course, when this happens she proceeds to continue to fight for at least another hour by playing with literally every single toy in her room as she becomes progressively more exhausted, before she gives up and then sleeps way too late in the day and it's a whole big mess.
These days, they (mostly) sleep through the night, but when one of them doesn't, neither does the other one. I swear to God they take turns seeing who can make us the craziest.
These days, Ellie has (largely) stopped choking on literally every single teensy piece of food you give her, can sometimes wave, and her favorite game is shaking her head "no", pausing to laugh uproariously at her own cleverness, then shaking her head "no" again.
She's still in the 25th percentile, my wee little almost-a-preemie. Well... except for her head, which is gigantic. This is apparently a genetic trait my children share.
These days, Audra's innate stubbornness manifests in new and unpleasant battles in which she declares war over everything from not wanting to wear that T-shirt today to the cardinal sin I committed by giving her the banana she just asked me for, only it wasn't the right banana.
She has yet to gain the ability to discern when a battle is worth fighting.
Then again, I haven't really figured that out yet, either.
These days, Audra recognizes the letter A and knows it stands "for Audra", the letter M for Mommy, D for Daddy, P and N for Papa and Nana, G for Grandma, E for Ellie, and so on. We haven't quite got them all mastered but we're getting there.
She likes to point at signs and say "Look, it's you!" when she sees a letter she knows.
She asks me every single day when her birthday party is, and she is never happy with my answer. Although I imagine she'll be happier when I can finally tell her, "In about three hours."
These days, Audra loves the old Justice League show that I used to watch on Saturday mornings as a kid. It's her favorite show and Netflix is about to take it away and I am considering starting a petition or simply sending a pleading letter.
She loves Hawkgirl and Wonder Woman and superheroes in general and she also wears a lot of frilly pink skirts (except when she absolutely does not want to wear a skirt today — see earlier note about picking battles) and is definitely up for hitting each other with plastic foam swords I found at Target at any given opportunity.
These days, Ellie fulfills every inch the stereotype of the youngest child, largely content to watch her older sister's manic energy as long as an adult is either holding her or sitting nearby. She likes to grab our glasses and is surprisingly obsessed with feeling my teeth.
Audra likes to pile things around and on Ellie until it seems like only her little eyes are showing, and we have to step in to uncover her before she literally suffocates from her sister's adoration.
These days, I grab my Audra almost every weekend and take one-on-one time at a bookstore where she is content to force me to read every picture book in sight to her and I am content to do just that as long as it means I get to sip my iced coffee.
Reading with Audra is... intense. Every single detail must be questioned, picked apart. I must have an answer for every single line that's out of place. She cannot wait for the reading to tell her what is happening, I have to tell her what's happening in the picture and then read the text that usually says the exact same thing.
Her favorite book is "the in my heart book", which is good, because it's my favorite book of hers, too.
Audra informed me she was "a big kid and grown up now" a couple of days ago, and I jokingly asked, "So I guess you're ready for college then?" She replied, "Yes, Mom, I am," and I am still trying to figure out when Mama became Mommy became Mom and how she's grown into a lanky nearly-three-year-old while I was distracted by keeping her alive.
These days contain a lot of long days of small things and we do a lot of just trying to get to bedtime, but I try to remember too that I need moments here or there to just stop and focus on how they're little and they won't be so little ever again.
Then I talk wistfully about what if we had another baby and Jason replies with very sensible concerns, like "where would we put that baby" and "how would we pay for it" and "when would we ever, ever sleep" and he's got a point.
These days, we're sometimes treading water but we are treading water with our favorite tiny clones of ourselves, so it all works out in the end.
I'd still like to get more sleep, though.