A tail of two ponies

The moment every mother waits for has finally arrived. (Well, not my mother, since she didn’t have to wait for it with me!) No, silly, not university graduation, although we will shouting it from the rooftops and dancing in the street when that day comes. The day when a mommy is first able to corral those fine baby hairs into her daughter’s very first ponytails.

Maddi, unlike yours truly, was not blessed with a full head of hair at birth. For the first many months of her life, she bore a striking resemblance to the old man from the Monopoly game (and occasionally to the albino mouse of “Pinky and the Brain”). Slowly but surely, however, our little daughter has managed to grow herself a nice — if spotty — head of hair. It went from baby mohawk to baby mullet almost overnight, and in the two months since we cut it, it’s already gotten shaggy again (except on the sides, which remain mysteriously baldish).

My first attempts at twisting her hair into wee ponytails were less than successful, as the first ponytail came out before the second was completed. However, through trial and error and a hint from a mom in Maddi’s playgroup, I perfected the process by twisting the elastic a few extra times and voila! We have ponytails!

Now, on mornings when I have time before the gym, Maddi sits patiently on the bathroom counter for her hairdressing appointment, playing with faucets and hairbrushes and toothpaste and contact lens cases and scissors I have foolishly left where I thought she couldn’t reach them. I must say that the ponytails make her neat, tidy and very girly-girly. And, for reasons I will never know but certainly won’t question, she actually enjoys having me tug and yank and torture her strands with elastic bands as I force her hair into unnaturally spiky little “bunny ears” or a single “alien antenna.” Yes, I’m not sure why, but there is no styling her hair into anything non-spiky unless it’s sopping wet. It’s like Alfalfa’s cowlick — you can’t keep a good ‘do down! Luckily, she looks adorable in pretty much any coiffure, so “bunny ears” will suit her just fine for now.

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In other news, just as I was beginning to consider having our once-loquacious little one evaluated for a hearing or autistic spectrum disorder, Maddi regained all the vocabulary words that had previously been rejected for “ball.” Not only that, but in the past week or so, she’s come up with all kinds of new words, some with hardly any exposure beforehand, and put together a few new sentences. New words include “shoes,” “cheese,” “yogurt” (or ghoo-gut, as she calls it), “doodle” (for her Magnadoodle), “snow,” “juice,” “Mum-Mum” (a brand of baby crackers) and isolated but fairly competent attempts at “granola” and “Newton” (the fig cookie, not the mathematician and physicist). During one of the rare days when I was able to read more than a few paragraphs at a time, I was thumbing through “What to Expect in the Toddler Years” and came upon a portion stating that big life changes (such as our recent move) can contribute to speech regressions. Woulda been nice to know …

She also has — after a mere eight months or so — taken to kissing people and things other than her stuffed kitten. Maddi will now pucker up for dolls, parents and caregivers, her pet pumpkin, and even a large and, quite frankly, terrifying sea snail she saw on the television screen while we were watching “Blue Planet” while I vegetated and let vegetate during my legendary sinus infection last week. (Don’t worry, she doesn’t get to watch TV unless I am practically on my deathbed!)
And here, for your viewing pleasure, are some recent pics of our 17-and-a-half-month-old cutie:

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