D may be an accessories thief... but she's a cute one! All that's missing are some rings...
I've spent so much time fretting about Diana lately - Is the nap era coming to an end? Is she going to start pointing out my skin issues to strangers? - that I've lost sight of the bigger, rather more wonderful picture: the unbelievable cuteness of living with an almost two-year-old.
The past couple of weeks, D has been a cuddling, smiling, giggling delight, and I'm finding that things that used to stress me out - D coming into my room to drape herself in my jewellery and stomp out in my shoes used to be a big one - have now become a source of serious enjoyment.
Take her thieving habits. Now, when she steals my friend's sunglasses (see above pic), I can appreciate how completely adorable she looks in them, how much fun D is having dressing up like a 'big girl,' and how sweet it is that all she needs to put a smile on her face is access to mummy (and mummy's pals') accessories. Whereas a few weeks ago, the sight of D in my heels was met with the less enthusiastic response of: 'Stop! You'll fall over and hurt yourself! And please don't ruin the one pair of heels Bolshy hasn't managed to chew yet...'
D's made no secret of her penchant for 'borrowing' from other people: jewellery, wallets, bags and keys are particular favourites, and she no longer says 'bracelet' or 'necklace' but instead prefers to refer to all jewellery as 'My pretty, my pretty!' (Yes, exactly like the crazed Gollum would say: 'My precious!' about his beloved ring).
Again, I could panic - my child is an obsessive jewel-thief-in-training! - or I could do what I did the other day: relent when D hands me a garish yellow plastic sparkly ring in a charity shop, buy it for her and put it on her finger with a kiss and a flourish, like a Disney prince (she likes getting her hand kissed like royalty, too).
I'm not the only one being charmed by D's cuteness: outside a cafe this weekend, a 10-year-old boy tore himself away from the copy of The Hunger Games he was reading to stop and chat to Diana, who was busy twirling outside with her handbag slung over her arm.
"She carries it like a real person!" he exclaimed in awe, waving to D as she giggled and skipped around, batting her eyelashes (or close to it). Again, instead of panicking - is my daughter seriously picking up older men on the street already? - I smiled and giggled along with D.
Restaurants, which used to be disastrous - a hurried 15-20 minute meal without a tantrum is a success story in my book - have also become a pleasant experience, with D sitting through, thoroughly enjoying, and eating practically everything on her plate the couple of times we had lunch out last week. I've discovered the secret is to ply her with babyccinos while we're waiting for the food, and in a Japanese restaurant I discovered that D will eat any green vegetable - as long as it's smothered in soy sauce.
Another reason for D's increased cuteness levels is her expanding vocabulary - which she's already using to great effect. She's started to link two (and sometimes three!) words together, and every word is prefaced by 'My' - 'My iPad, my phone, my shoes, my ring' (the objects are rarely, if ever, actually hers) and it's impossible not to forgive a spill or broken object after D exclaims: 'Oh dear! Oopsie!'
Especially when it's followed by D puckering up her lips to give me a kiss. Kisses, hugs, cuddles, general deliciousness... appreciating the little things that delight my toddler is really helping to make motherhood even more enjoyable.