Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Toy Phone Conversation, Balloon-blowing, Inner Beauty, Screeching to Win, & Infinite Bubbles

Right now my daughter has her toy phone and is pretending to have a conversation with her daddy, who is working late tonight. This is the first time I have seen her have a pretend phone conversation that actually made sense. It is too precious. Here is what she is saying:

"Hey daddy. Working on the wood?" (his job involves working with wood)
"I go work, too, daddy."
"Daddy in the phone?"
"Train video. Ruby and Max." (she's telling him what she watched today--one was a video about trains, the other a cartoon.)
"I talking you. Dogs, T.V." (there are dogs on the T.V. right now)
"Hello. I-I-I talking you."
"Say Aruba." (Hmm, not sure what that one means.)
"Goodbye." (as she hangs up.)

Earlier today, she found a bag of balloons leftover from her 2-year birthday party and of course you know what I wound up doing next. Thankfully we have a manual balloon pumper that is easy to use. The issue came when I had to tie the dern things off with a knot. Needless to say, my fingers were getting sore and after two balloons I told her that was it. But she was so happy with those two balloons. She carried them under her arms, and insisted on taking them everywhere with her.

Then there was the moment right before getting ready to leave the house. I planned for us to go eat lunch at a sandwich shop, then head up to the mall so she could play in the play area and I could get in some walking since it's too hot here right now to go to the park. She was still in her nightshirt, so I dressed her in a cute "mall appropriate" outfit, brushed her hair, and put in barrettes. After putting in the barrettes, I smiled at her and said, "You look so pretty." She smiled back, touched her barrettes, and said, "Pretty." Then she said, "Mirror!" So I took her to the bathroom mirror, and we both smiled at how pretty she was. Then I told her, "It's nice to look pretty on the outside, but even more important is how pretty you are on the inside." She pushed her finger into her chest and nodded, saying, "Pretty inside."

While at the mall, we were in the play area and a little girl pushed my daughter, hard. She stood there for a moment looking at her, then walked towards her and gave her an ear-piercing "screech," all the while smiling that sweet smile of hers. Before I knew it, the two were playing happily together. I was so impressed with how my daughter handled that moment. Instead of getting defensive, she turned it into a game.

After returning home, my daughter found two bottles of Infinite Bubbles on the shelf and ran to tell me about it, excitedly exclaiming, "Bubbles, Mama!" It would be the first time I had ever done it with her. I bought the bottles long ago, intending to one day break them out and have fun with her, but had forgotten all about them. So I went and got them, opened up one of the bottles, and the fun began. She giggled with delight as she chased the bubbles around and around and tried to pop them or stomp on them once they were on the floor. And I think I know why they call them "Infinite" bubbles--not because you can blow lots of bubbles with each dip of the stick (though you can), but because they knew your child would want you to infinitely blow them!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A Striking Resemblance

Am I the only one who has ever noticed how similar toddlers are to puppies?

Both like to stick their butts up in the air on a regular basis; both like to lick the floor; both get great joy out of chewing on (and eating) things they aren't supposed to. Both have those pee and poop accidents on the floor--or couch--or chair--or you; both eat dog food. You spend a good portion of your time them telling them both, "No!" You buy them both lots of fancy toys to play with, yet they usually insist on searching in your cabinets or closet to find their own 'toys' (haha my daughter just proved that~no kidding!); both have a fascination with your socks and shoes; both have only two speeds--super fast, or crash. Both will kiss you one second, then turn around and bite you the next, and think it's funny! Both think playing is more important than anything, even eating. Both like to run from you when you call them and think it's a game; both like to sleep in your bed.

And of course, both can use those puppy dog eyes to melt your heart, and usually do.

We could learn a lot from toddlers and puppies.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Losing my baby, gaining a little girl

Today I have decided to start a different format for entering posts in my blog. Up until now, I have always tried to come up with something "grand" to write about--and if I couldn't, I wouldn't write. As a result, I have not entered many posts in my blog. So from this day forward, I am just going to write about daily life, whether it's plain or not. And who knows, maybe it will wind up being something even better.

My daughter, who is almost two and a half now, is really starting to show signs of becoming less of a toddler and more of a little girl, and quite the independent one at that. One of those signs is that she is beginning to ask for juice more often than milk. Another is that she can now drink out of a regular cup without any help, though she still hasn't perfected the non-spilling part. Yet another is that she seems to have developed a hearing problem. Selective hearing, that is. She will hear us whisper something about the mall, her favorite place to go (is she a girl, or what?), but when we call her name loudly, or tell her to stop doing something, she doesn't appear to "hear" us at all. And she has also developed her own definition of the words "Yes" and "No." At first, it was "cute" to hear her say them, because she would use it in response to a question such as, "Are you hungry?"or, "Would you like some milk?" However, we quickly began to realize that she didn't necessarily mean, "No, I don't want that (or Yes, I want that)." Rather, she might mean, "Hmmm, I'm not sure. Let me think about it, because in a few seconds I will change my mind and say just the opposite!"

It's a fun game, and I say the word 'fun' with as much sarcasm as I can muster. For example, we might have a sippy of milk in hand, ready to give it to her, since just one second beforehand she had given every indication that she wanted it with an enthusiastic, "Yes!" and just as enthusiastic nod. Then suddenly (and I do mean suddenly) she changes her mind, shakes her head--hair flying--and proclaims loudly, "No!" So we start to put the sippy of milk back in the refrigerator, and guess what? She changes her mind yet again and now she really wants it. I have to laugh, though. This is a learning process for her, and though the "game" can get quite exasperating at times, we as parents must also learn right along with her--learn to be patient, that is, as our little girl learns the true meaning of words and expressions (and how to make decisions).

Then there is the game of mimicking. We will ask her a different type of question other than basic food or drink questions--and instead of answering, she will repeat the question back to us, word for word, with the same tone inflection and everything. Trying to get an answer out of her at those times is like pulling teeth. As frustrating as it is at times, we try to remind ourselves that it is yet another way that toddlers learn communication. In time, she will learn how to answer those questions, as she watches and learns from us and others around her.

Another sign of independence is that she has started to initiate conversations with us, with other adults, and with children. I get such joy out of watching her do this. For example, she might see a cat on T.V., run over to me and look at me with a big smile, point to the T.V. and say, "That's a kitty cat, mama!" And watching her trying to talk to other children is--well, just too cute for words.

It's so bittersweet watching my little baby go away and a little girl coming into the picture. "Bitter" because there is a part of me as a mother that grieves that my baby is no longer so very dependent on me. "Sweet" because I get the privilege of watching her grow and blossom, like the unfolding of a beautiful butterfly. When they're still caterpillars, they're all warm and fuzzy and their world is limited to grass and plants and their feet stay mostly on the ground. But when they transform, and they must, their world opens up to so many new possibilities. Suddenly they can fly--very slowly and clumsily at first, but it isn't long before they pick up speed and build confidence--and one day, you watch silently as they fly away, into the distance.