Riding the Excavator

[A guest blog post from CJ]

About two months ago, I looked at the professional photos of Lucy and Katherine on our wall and realized that they were nearly two years old. Lucy hadn’t even started walking yet at the time of her photo, and Katie had only just gotten her first pair of glasses. Obviously, this wall needed updating!

Katie went for photos a few weeks ago, and today was Lucy’s turn to travel to the J.C. Penney Portrait Studio. The photo session went smashingly as always, and then it was time for the “treat” part of our trip: we walked to the carousel in the food court and went for a ride. Lucy announced that she was going to be “brave” and ride a horse that goes up and down (as opposed to the stationary giraffe that was her usual mount). And so she did – grinning broadly and waving to the carousel attendant as she passed by.

Today, however, the carousel ride was only the appetizer for the BIG adventure.

Maybe Lucy felt especially confident after her triumphant ride on the carousel, but on our way back towards J.C. Penney, she pointed at the escalator that would go down to the first floor and asked to ride on it. The mall being fairly quiet on a Wednesday morning, I said, “Sure!” and we walked over. After a moment of hesitation, and a bit of a half-nudge, half-lift from me, she got her feet planted on the top step and rode the escalator down. At the bottom, she scampered off the escalator and did a little victory dance.

Would Lucy like to ride it back up? “YES!” And so up we went.

At the top, Lucy joyfully galloped off the escalator and continued over to an elderly couple talking by a nearby bench.

“I just went down the es-es-sca-lator! And then I went up the EXCAVATOR!” she proudly announced to them and pointed at the escalator behind her.

Both of them smiled and made the appropriate ooh-ing and aah-ing sounds. Lucy beamed at them, and then continued to bounce as I herded her into J.C. Penney’s (our car being parked near the Portrait Studio entrance).

Lucy, however, felt that EVERYONE needed to know about her achievement. Just inside the entrance was a register with a short line of people. As we were about to pass it, Lucy suddenly veered towards it and projected her voice towards both the cashier and the people in line.

“Hey people! I just went on the es-ca-es-vator! I a big girl now!”

Again, the grown-ups grinned, and several complimented her on being such a big girl. As we continued to walk through the aisle, Lucy smiled up at me, and explained “See, Mama? I not shy! Sometimes I’m shy… but today I’m not shy. I’m friendly!”

We started to talk about about shyness and friendliness, when another young woman started walking down the aisle towards us. Lucy broke off our conversation as she approached us and ran up next to her: “I just went down the es-elevator, and then I come up the elevator!”

The young woman smiled, “Oh, wow! That IS exciting!”

Lucy beamed back at her, and then stepped back towards me. As the young woman continued on her way, Lucy resumed our conversation, “See my new friend, Mama? I was friendly!”

Yep, definitely not a shy day!

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(PS: I always recommend the J.C. Penney studio at Crossroads Mall. The staff there are all wizards at getting the girls to smile – which of course leaves me dithering over a ton of cute shots, trying to pick just one or two for prints! What a delightful problem to have! But if you go, be sure to print off the coupons from their website first!).

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