Monday, February 27, 2012

Boobies Are Good!

The very wise aunt of a friend once told me that she had yet to attend the wedding of any of her nieces, nephews, or grandchildren who couldn't eat, talk, or sleep through the night by the time they walked down the aisle.

My first thought was that there might be a connection here: the inability to do these things might also adversely affect the ability to meet or secure a mate. However, I think that the whole marital aspect of the observation was probably incidental to the fact that we were having this conversation at a wedding and not meant to be either a predictive timeline of when I could expect my daughter to achieve all three of these milestones - it only took twenty-eight years but she fell in love and finally finished a plate of food sitting down! - or a sign of nuptial preparedness - alright kid, you're six and you didn't get up to ask for water once last night, time to get hitched.

I have tried not to be overly concerned with developmental milestones. Kids come into their own on their own terms in their own time. But my daughter is a (somewhat) late talker, which is not to say that she has an excessive speech delay, but rather that we started to notice that while other kids were stumbling through the stages of more coherent babbling, and then stringing words together in cute but mystifying combinations, my daughter was grunting, panting, shrieking, and showing zero interest in learning any words beyond her first six: mama, dada, this, that, go, do.

I guess if you're going to choose six words to speak at that stage in life, those are pretty good ones, because you can actually use them to communicate a lot of things fairly effectively. (Mama do! Mama go! Dada this! Go do!) The key word being fairly, and the key point being effectively for her. The rest of us, her minions, were left scrambling around like lunatics, asking cascades of questions (do you want Cheerios? bubbles? salami? Elmo?) and furiously pointing at things as if we were playing a spectacularly lame two-player game of charades. Some days it felt like living in a house full of Sisyphean mimes, endlessly churning through the same exhausting array of exaggerated, ineffective gestures.

But slowly, slowly the words started coming.

Many are incomprehensible. Many more are incomprehensible without context. And a lot of them sound totally crazy, which I find completely charming. For example, she pronounces Fresca (that refreshing low-calorie grapefruit soda I consumed by the case in high school) "Fresick" and runs around yelling it like a deranged Hobbit. Fresick! Fresick! Fresick!

Things are starting to pick up, just as everyone said they would, and watching this happen is pretty darn amazing, just as everyone said it would be.

We're getting lots of random word strings now like "Mama! Gym! Cry! Goldfish! Gym! Dance! Potty! Little! Ladybug! Bye!" So I wasn't really prepared for my daughter to look at me and speak a coherent sentence, her first to my knowledge: "Boobies are good!"

How perfectly delightful, for at least three reasons:
1.) It's true
2.) My boobies are the ones with which she has had the most contact and a vote in their favor is always appreciated
3.) It shows that she is aware of certain key cultural trends, in other words: I have succeeded in not raising her under a rock.

There may be hope for her yet. Fresick!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

7 More Videos

Last week's video countdown had such a good response - and there's been so much going on around here, my daughter had a lot of YouTube time this week - that I've got seven more to share!

7.) Don't Know Y with Norah Jones - I probably like this better than my daughter because in graduate school I earned extra money doing fMRI experiments and this song always makes me think of being in the scanner. They would play music in between scans, and this song was really popular at the time. Those were some crazy days, and I'm pretty sure my brain messed up a lot of experiments (outlier = me) but at least I learned that I didn't have a brain tumor. At least not an obvious brain tumor.

6.) Furry Happy Monsters with REM - I would put this higher on the list (check out the crazy green monster's moves) but I'm not the boss around here anymore. I'm just glad it's in the mix.

5.) Love Love Love a Lever with Sutton Foster - I have a love/hate relationship with show tunes, but who doesn't love a lever? That's just un-American!

4.) Bye Bye Binky - "Elmo wants to talk so people understand." We all do, Elmo. We all do.

3.) ABC Disco with Grover - it's like a condensed version of Saturday night fever, without the adult plot elements.

2.) Elmo's Got the Moves - yes, Elmo. I do have the moves.

1.) Primary Colors with OK Go - the fact that I found this video before my daughter but didn't show it to her, and that she found it and fell in love with it all on her own rocks my world. The fact that she loves the music I love - dance, trance, house, techno, electronica, etc. - is nothing short of incredible after years of her father coming in the room asking "what is this crap?" This crap? This crap is AWESOME!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

My Kind of Stand Up Girl

My daughter stopped letting me change her diaper lying down on the floor (her, not me) over a year ago. Now that she is talking a bit more, I still ask her every time if she wants to lay down or stand up for the procedure and inevitably she yells "Stay yuh yup" which is how she says "standing up." She actually likes to do most things stay yuh yup: eating, bathing, and apparently, going to the potty.

She has recently become intensely interested in the bathroom, as well as all bodily functions that might happen in the vicinity of the toilet. Her dolls must have wicked laxative addictions, because they are going poop ALL the time. Poor Hello Kitty goes through diapers like tissues at a chick flick.

She also likes to order people to pee, often grabbing their hands and physically dragging them to the bathroom, which is always popular with potential babysitters and on preschool tours. While the other kids are sitting quietly eating grapes, she's washing her hands for the twelfth time in the kiddie sinks.

We live in one of the most beautiful places in the world, but whether at the beach or the zoo or the playground, we always seem to wind up in a nasty public restroom, trailing the refrain of "Pee Pee Mama!!" behind us. When she was younger, people used to comment on the fact that she was potty trained so early. I don't know why I always felt compelled to explain that her request meant "(You) pee pee, mama" not "(I need to go) pee pee, mama."

At the moment, she uses her actual potty as a stepstool and drags the removable blue potty seat ("boo cappie," meaning presumably "blue cap") all around the house, from commode to commode, and I feel bad for all the trees that have given their lives for the toilet paper she wastes, since although she loves to sit on the potty seat, and wipe, and flush, she has yet to demonstrate any real interest in actually going potty on the potty. Instead, she tells us when she needs a diaper, pees in it, and immediately takes it off, typically tossing it across the room with a dramatic flourish. I have only vague notions of what disposable diapers are made of - it seems like some combination of proprietary fibers and filler gel - but still feel I sorry for the polymers involved (and the people who created them, and the environmental impact of their production) given her blunt refusal to even entertain the possibility of testing their advertised absorbent capacity.

So, all these things considered, I guess I should have been pleased, or at the very least not surprised, when I walked into the bathroom to find her lifting up the lid of the toilet, and then the seat, and standing on her tippy toes pretending to pee with a penis that she does not possess, laughing hysterically. We are not particularly prudish at home - she sees both my husband and me using the bathroom - and she has proudly accompanied her father into public restrooms since she was a baby, riding high on his arm like a baroness surveying her land holdings, so it's safe to say she knows how the various parts work. If we had a dog, I guess she would be trying to lift up her hind leg trying to pee on the toilet itself.

I'm not alarmed by the fact that she was trying to pee like Daddy - I'm only reminded, once again, that kids are little sponges - or diapers - who absorb everything that comes their way without a filter. Since my daughter is a bit of a late talker, we are only now realizing how much more careful we should have been about all the things we say around her. It's only a matter of time until she picks out the word "gin" as easily as the word "juice" when listening to music with us. Our recent move provided some stressful times, but I was sadly reminded of the points where tempers flared when she climbed up into my lap and said "Mommy Daddy happy" over and over again.

She knows all the steps it takes to run the dishwasher, and the processes for heating up "hot dog mac" in the microwave or mixing her favorite fizzy lemonade, and how to run a credit card through the machine at the grocery store. Why should I be startled that she has observed several ways to use the toilet? Mostly, I'm just fearful of what will be next.

I dropped my computer last week and cracked the screen. She now has a pretty good grasp on the word "crap" and something that sounds like "chit chit chit." (She's been saying "fork" for a while now. And while it sounds like "fook," I have my fingers crossed that it continues to refer exclusively to "fork.") But where is she learning to pick her nose and eat it? Is she going to start yelling at other drivers in their Cozy Coupes at preschool? Will she soon begin ordering fries with her ketchup "on the side"? She already insists on having a pile of books on the floor next to her (unused) potty.

I've shared my bigger concerns about what behaviors and habits she might inherit from me here before, but the smaller worries are troublesome, too. I guess I just need to take comfort in the fact that at least she's paying attention to what's happening around her. She's gotten very good at dramatic re-renactments of events that help us to sort out injuries that happen out of our sight, which is helpful given her limited vocabulary. ("Chit chit chit!")

And no matter what life throws at her - from potty training to playground bullies - at least we know she's probably not going to take it lying down. You go, girl: keep on stay yuh yup.