Monday, July 25, 2011

So Much to Say

My child talks. And talks. And talks. It is not normal English. I like to think she uses her own dialect. It is a lot of gibber-jabber with normal words thrown in. For example, the other day she came up to me and said, "Mama meath bwah wah mommy shee sha, moo nie, color." I don't speak Alice-ese fluently, but I can decipher the basic request. She wanted to color. Her communication style also involves a lot of hand waving, shrugs and head nods. It is like watching Telemundo. Lots of big gestures, crazy facial expressions, a few words you understand, and a lot that you have never heard. But if you watch long enough, you start to get the general idea.

Lady Baby loves an audience and the more attention she gets, the more animated she gets. When she really gets going with what appears to be a one woman show, I just say uh-huh, really, yes, and other affirming words to keep things going. That is fuel to my child's verbal fire. She loves audience participation. Interestingly enough, she also has no qualms with performing to an empty room. It is not strange for me to be in the kitchen and hear her in the den talking to her toys. Poor Minnie Mouse, I am sure she is thankful that her ears are filled with stuffing.

While the majority of her words are not real words (at least to my ears) everyday she gets a new word or phrase that blows me away. Yesterday she handed her snack trap to her daddy and said "here ya go." We just looked at each other like, did we just hear that right? What I have also discovered is that words that were previously undecipherable are slowly evolving into real words. For a long time she was saying "mine, two." I assumed two was still her only number and like everything else, she owns it. The other day I realized the "mine" portion was starting to sound more like "one." I guess practice does make perfect. 

For months I felt like a verbal label maker. I said the name to everything Her Highness came into contact with. Chair, table, shoe, apple, milk. I was starting to annoy myself.  In what I can only assume was an effort to make me stop, Miss Priss took over for me and has become the Captain Obvious of our house. She picks up a shoe, and says "shoe." She pats the dog and says "doggie." Then she sees her stuffed Mickey and screeches "Mitcky" (yes, she puts a T in there for some reason). And on and on it goes. She does not need audience participation for this portion of the program. I think she is doing it for herself not for our benefit. 

Life has gotten easier and harder now that she can communicate. Chatty Baby will tell me what she wants (sometimes), when she is done with something (sometimes), and when she has a poop (sometimes). I have to be careful about leading the witness though. If I use a word she knows in a question, she often just repeats that word. For example, I say "Alice, do you want a smoothie?" Her reply is "moothie." This leads me to believe she wants one. I give it to her and she immediately throws in on the ground and screams. Grrrr, but my fault because she is just repeating what she hears. At that point I remind myself that she is 18 mos, not 18 years.  

While some things are easier, her ability to use words has become challenging in many situations. She is extremely loud and the more you shush her the louder she gets until she reaches a pitch that causes things to happen. Like the check to arrive. Most restaurants are hard unless they have terrible acoustics and everyone has to yell. Then we are good, and the dirty looks and sympathetic head wags are only from those with the bad luck to be seated right next to us. As opposed to the entire place, including wait staff. Also, Busy Baby has started saying things in context. Seems good, right? Not when you are in a bathroom in public and she is saying poop over and over, despite me repeatedly telling her it is only a number one. Cue red face upon leaving the bathroom.

The number one best thing about having a talker is her newest favorite phrase, "I love you." It sounds like "I wuv you," but that only makes it cuter to her parents (barf). But there is something to be said about loving someone unconditionally for 18mos and suddenly one day you are riding home from Target and said person starts telling you repeatedly that she loves you. It's pretty freakin' awesome. The other night after a particularly long, tough day I was putting Sweet Girl to bed and she hugged me tight, gave me a big slurpy lick/kiss and told me she loved me. It made it all worth it, plus some. I instantly forgave her for hiding my flip flop, writing on the couch with a pen, and saying mama on endless repeat for the entire day. None of that mattered anymore. I put my little angel in bed and left the room with my mommy-glow back intact. 



                                              


Saturday, July 16, 2011

20 Things That Will Make You Feel Like a Better Parent

1. I let my child watch TV often and she REALLY loves it. It          makes us both happy.


2. She is often in the room when I am watching quality programming such as Bethanny Getting Married, General HospitalLaw and Order, and Tosh.O.


3. I pick her paci up off the floor and give it to her. (Even in public if I am desperate for her to be quiet. Don't freak out. I wipe it off first.)


4. I don't give her a fruit or veg at every meal. Sometimes she just carb loads.


5. I never remember to take her sippy of water anywhere. She is probably constantly thirsty which would explain why she hits me a lot.


6. I give her ibuprofen often because every time she is in a bad mood I think she is teething. Or if she can't sleep, or if she wakes up really early, or if she touches her face, or it she has the slightest drool. Teething. All teething.


7. I am as addicted to her having a paci as she is to using it.


8. I let her have blankets and toys in the crib.


9. I give her cookies to keep her quiet in the grocery store.


10. She only gets a bath every other day. Occasionally we go three days (gasp!) if she is not too dirty, we are out and about, we forget its bath night, or we are both feeling very lazy.


11On several occasions I have caught her eating a piece of cat or dog food. No telling how much she swallowed before I got to her. 


12. I let her eat food off the floor.


13. When the dog takes a bite of her mum mum, I think it is funny.


14. I have caught her eating paint chips on several occasions. (Now you know where the phrase "your kid eats paint chips" came from. Obviously my child is not the first to find them to be a tasty delicacy.)


15. The other day she got time out once and spanked twice, all in 10 minutes (See #14. I am trying to preserve braincells here people).


16. At restaurants I just throw her food on the table (I wipe it off first...sometimes). It annoys me when servers ask if I would like a plate. Wouldn't I just feed her on the one you brought if I wanted a plate??? I prefer for her to eat monkey-in-the-zoo style. Less chance of broken and/or thrown dishes.


17. I love the days she goes to preschool. Four whole hours to myself. I cannot wait for August.


18. It is an everyday occurrence to turn around while I am driving and see her munching on something she found in the crevices of her car seat. And I let her keep eating it. (In my defense it is always a goldfish/cracker/cookie type snack, never something like an old grape.)


19I only use anti-bac as a very last resort.


20She goes to bed often without brushed teeth, mostly because I forget.


21. BONUS: today at the children's museum I found her eating goldfish that she found somewhere, probably on the floor wedged in the corner of the wooden tunnel thing she was crawling through at the time.


Now, don't you all feel like better parents??? You're welcome. Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Grandparents

Early this morning my grandfather passed away. He has been extremely ill for the last few days and many times my thoughts have gone not only to him, but to all of my grandparents. I have been extremely lucky in the grandparent department, as I had all four into young adulthood. Sadly I only have one left now. Many people never know all of their grandparents and it saddens me that some miss out on that special relationship.


I grew up in the same town as both sets of my grandparents and got to spend a great deal of time with them. I have a memory filled with family dinners, Sundays at church, holidays around the table, and family work days. I can think back and become my little girl self who loves walking through my grandfather's vegetable garden, eating fresh peas and carrots. Baking with my Mimaw. Watering my DeeGee's flowers in her greenhouse. Riding in the back of my Pawpaw's station wagon to get ice cream. We often spent nights at their houses and went there when we were home sick from school. They were at my birthday dinners and dance recitals and soccer games. I never realized how lucky I was to have them as an every day part of my life. 


Grandparents are so important. They tell us what life was like in the good ole' days. They teach us family history and tell stories from their childhood. I will never forget sitting on the swing under my Mimaw's porch listening to stories about her life on Signal Mountain, her horse, and my grandfather courting her. The hours around the table at the beach, listening to my DeeGee talk about life when she was a young girl in Richmond and as a young pilot's wife during the war. Both of my grandfathers told us stories of being in the Navy. These are moments that I will cherish forever and pass down to my own grandchildren. 


Grandparents are a gateway into our parents lives before they had us. They let us know that our parents were kids too once, long ago. If it weren't for my grandparents I would never know that my dad liked to give the baby sitter a hard time or my mom was always in trouble for not eating her vegetables. The glimpse that they gave me into my parent's lives was priceless. My favorite part of any family get together is when everyone starts telling stories about when they were little. I love hearing about my parents when they were young and silly, before life and age made them into adults. It helps to know they did some dumb stuff in their youth too. 


I am so happy that Lady Baby has her grandparents and that she loves them all. Someday she will beg to hear stories about her mom and dad just the way I did. She will learn things from them that will change her life in little ways but that she will carry with her forever. Maybe the right way to hem a pair of pants, or the best time to plant bulbs. A love for cooking or how to swing a golf club. Whatever they teach her, she will always have the amazing memories of spending time with her grandparents and knowing how much she is loved by them. 


As I age and have little left but memories, certain smells always take me back to the grandparents I have lost. Roses and roast are my Mimaw. Pipe smoke is my Pawpaw Stauber. Sawdust is my Pawpaw Park. Whenever I smell one of those things, I am transported back in time to being a little girl who was very loved by some very special people.

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