Sunday, January 29, 2012

Toddler Decathlon, Events 6, 7 & 8

The Toddler Decathlon continues. The next three events are up! What am I talking about? I explain here.   Events 1-2. Events 3-5.

 Event 6 – The Milk Chug
                An everyday staple since day one that speaks for itself. Each decathlete will down as much lactose as they can within two minutes.  Pukers are automatically disqualified. Additional time awarded for burping or leaving a trail of milk drops across something valuable.

Event 7 -  0 – Tantrum   
                Tantrums.  Sigh. If there ever was the definitive sign your kid just graduated from infancy school into the big leagues, this is it.  The come in all shapes, sizes and embarrassing places.  They come when you’re least expecting and totally unprepared.  Coincidence? I doubt it.  She’s clearly testing our resolve and problem solving skills like lab mice.   Contenders are scored by judges on volume, creativity, and degree of awkwardness in a public setting.  For added difficulty, toddlers must have their favorite toy, food, blanket, and a freshly changed diaper.

Event – 8 The Counter Grab
                About as much as I miss the two naps a day routine, I miss the girl who was just little enough not to reach on top of the kitchen counters.  Everyday things have to get pushed a bit further back making the counter tops look like islands of spices, utensils, and cell phones.  The decathletes will have thirty seconds to snag as much as they can on a forbidden counter top. Scores are based on an item’s sharpness, toxicity, or ability to stain permanently.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Toddler Decathlon, Events 3, 4 & 5

I have figured out events three thru five of our Toddler Decathlon. Our daughter is clearly training hard for this. What am I talking about? I explain here.

Event 3 – Timed Clothing Shed
No longer satisfied with just shoes and socks, her clothing removal skills are rapidly progressing. While being closely monitored, she’s usually content to stay clothed. But left unattended and clothes start coming off. It’s not unusual to discover a totally nude kid in the crib that greets you with big "Uh, oh...". Decathletes will be timed in the removal of all clothing. A complete diaper removal as well puts you closer to gold. One bonus point for a soiled sheet.
Event 4 – Bedding Toss
When shedding clothes or tossing a pacifier at night isn’t enough to draw in a parent, you go to something else. In this case, it the blankets, pillows, pillow cases, stuffed animal, and whatever else isn’t bolted down. These mornings her bedroom floor looks like a prison riot broke out. Contestants will be scored on total amount of materials hurled over the side the crib within the time limit. Successful dismounts of the crib onto the pile gets a head start in the next event.
Event 5 – Furniture Gymnastics
When baby-proofing the home, you never really consider how am I going to keep her off the dining room table? Because there’s zero chance she could ever climb up there. Right??? Wrong. She’s turned into some kind of spider monkey that views the furniture now as her personal indoor jungle gym. To test their physical strength and dexterity, the decathletes must successfully mount and dismount the parent’s bed, the elevated dining room chairs, and sofa. Extra credit given for mucous smears on cushions or spillage of adult beverages

Toddler Decathlon, Events 1 & 2

The first two events of our Toddler Decathlon have been unveiled. What am I talking about, I explain here.
Event 1 – The Pacifier Throw

                An essential tool of everyday toddler life (we’re trying to quit it, I swear) parting with the pacifier seems impossible. She clings to this for dear life during sleeping and car rides, but exit the crib or car seat and she jettisons the thing like it’s on fire, where it usually falls behind furniture, in a pile of something disgusting curbside, or some other obscure location that takes two parents forever to locate. For this event, the athletes will attempt a one-armed pacifier toss, being judged on distance and degree of difficulty in the recovery. Extra credit if it lands in something dead or previously eaten.

Event 2 – Ten Meter Sprint

                We’re definitely in the why-walk-when-I-can-run phase.  It’s cute when she’s getting picked up at daycare and she pushes six kids down to get to you like she’s chasing down a fumble in the red zone. It’s not so cute in a crowded store with plenty of breakables at knee level.  Either way, she wants to run.  Simple rules for this event, the best time wins.  You get one do over for a face plant or blown shoe. A thirty second bonus is given for completing the dash in socks - the ones without the grippy thingys on the bottom.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Toddler Feats of Strength

As I've mentioned before, our baby is turning has turned into something different. The immobile, usually quiet, relatively low maintenance infant is no more. She moves now. She talks. She grabs things. Her bodily emissions are less cute and way more gross. She needs action. And for every action, there's an equal and opposite reaction usually requiring paper towels or a call to poison control.
Instead of scales and doctor visits, her development is measured in what she can now reach, break, climb, fit in her mouth, or feed to the dog that was previously thought unattainable. Almost every day there is a new feat worthy of praise or a few-seconds-too-late "Noooooo!"
Its clear our once presumed childproofed home has become her personal obstacle course and training ground. Like she's a miniature Greco athlete preparing for an ultimate test of toddler dexterity and cleverness. What kind of contest could this be? If her recent training regime is any indication, it would be some form of Toddler Decathlon. I'm documenting the ten likely events to earn the gold. Stay tuned.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

First words! Wait, what did she just say?

So Baby Girl is, well, not so much a baby anymore. She's in that sweet spot where you still feel compelled to treat her like a helpless little baby but then she rears up and surprises you with little signs that now she's a somewhat less helpless, little person. You can't just hide the remote under a couch cushion and expect her to forget it or simply put the raisins back in the pantry without her pawing at the door. She wants to, has to hold the leash when the dog gets walked. The sound of the bath brings her squealing, running, stripping clothes like a spring breaker hitting the beach. She knows things now.

Then there's the talking.

No longer does she just imitate sounds at random moments leaving her parents debating whether she really did just say "I love you "or "this diaper rash is killing me." It's all happened so fast but the synapses in her massive (99% percentile) little head are starting to fire. She's figuring it out; when I make these noisess, things happen. That's the basis of speech I guess. And like her mother, the girl knows how to make things happen.

While the 'talking' still involves mostly pure baby jive and excessive grunting and hand gestures, she's mastered some real words. Words that leave no doubt as to their meaning and intent. Let's take a quick look at Baby Girl's top words in the vocab:

Banana –pronounced Na-Nah. Origin- One of the primary and most consistently accepted eaten foods, easily recognized by its distinctive shape, color, and visible storage location on kitchen counter. Ex: "Will you please eat more of your vegetables? " "Na-nah, Na-nah." "Banana it is then."

Dad – pronounced Da. Origin – Needs no explanation. Ex. "Who is the cool parent?" "Da." "Dad, indeed."

Dog – pronounced Duh. Origin – We have a dog. She enjoys tormenting him and he needed a name she could say. She also calls anything with four legs a duh, but since we live in the suburbs and not the Serengeti, she's almost always right. Ex. "What happened to all of your crackers?" "Duh."

Duck – pronounced Duc. Origin – Yes, we're living dangeroulsy with this one but I like birds. We live on a lake. It has lots of ducks. "D" words are easy for her (see Dad, Dog) I may have taught her this one and praised her with hugs and sweet edible things when she said it but you can't prove it. Commonly confused with Dog. Ex. "What is that (pointing to anything that's flying)?" "Duc." "Good girl, here's a cookie."

More – pronounced Moh. Origin – Someone thought it was a great idea to teach to ask for more when she wanted more. Now everything is something she wants more of. Ex. "Look I just gave you a bite and if you're mother finds out, I'm in serious trouble." "Moh." "Alright then."

No – pronounced Noooo (with furious head shaking and brow furrowing.) Origin – Who knows but she's heard it more than enough to figure it out. It's always her first response to anything she feels a threat, a question, an article of clothing you attempt to put on her or a food she's not familiar with. Ex. "Can I get you too…." "Nooo." "You don't want the box of crayons and mom's jewelry to play with?" "Nooo."

Thank you – pronounced Tju-ju ( usually accompanied by an ear-to-ear grin.) Origin – We're trying to teach her some manners to balance out the biting and unnanounced belly button inspections. Definitely the most freakishly cute thing she does now. Every time I hear it, my heart bleeds a little and I fight the urge to go online and buy her moa. Ex. "Okay you can have another sip, now please don't show mom." "Tju-ju."

Oh Shit – pronounced Oh Shit Origin – Um, yeah. Pretty much means what it means. Have no idea where she mastered this little gem but supsect it was the mother in law.  We're not that bad of parents and we tell ourselves we have to break her of this before she drops it at daycare, the doctor's office, church, while we're Skyping my parents…but we can't stop freaking laughing when she says it. Ex. (Dad drops his keys in a puddle or yells at duh after her just puked moh
na-nah on the carpet.) "Oh shit." Oh shit is right.

Good times. Minus the occasional swear word, I think we're doing okay. I'm loving every minute and looking forward to moh.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Prison Rules


My cell phone rang at work today and the caller ID showed "Daycare". Uh. Oh. Since they don't call to tell you your kid is having a fantastic day, or she ate all her vegetables and solved a Rubix Cube, I tensed up but answered. This call is usually to tell me they couldn't get a hold of mom but your kid has fever or the plague so you need to come get her. Now. This leads to the fun Who's Having the Worse Day at Work and Can't Go Pick Her Up Game with the wife.

This was not that call.

Our daughter has been in this same daycare for almost a year and a half. She's gone through a series of different classes and teachers (I call them teachers. I don't know what else to call them) as she's developed. With, for the most part, no problems and she and her parents seem to be enjoying the arrangement. A few months ago, she made the big jump from the infant wing to toddlers. Or as we called it, The Big House. Nor more cribs, personalized feedings and immobile cell mates. No more Juvie, you're in with the big kids. We joked she was going to have to pick a fight with the biggest kid in the room on the first day to boost her cred. Or wear an extra layer of clothes for protection from homemade LEGO shanks.

The first week was rough. With the wife out of town, Dad got drop off duty and it sucked. She'd scream until snot bubbles blew from both barrels while clamping onto a leg like she was holding onto the edge of cliff. I'd peel her off of me while the other kids would form a circle around her. Just waiting for dad to leave. Fresh meat.

She made if three days before the first bite. It was vicious. The teacher handed me an "Incident Report" that required a signature.

"For what? "

"She got a little bite, it happens." So sign this so you can't sue us.

Little bite my ass. Looked like some punks engraved their initials in her arm with rusty buck teeth. This must be daycare's version of prison tats. I guessed it must have taken four, maybe five others to hold her down long enough to inflict this much damage. I fought the boiling urge to ask who in the hell did this and what car do their parents drive?

The weeks passed and with it some more reports. But she was also fighting back and doing some gnawing of her own. At pick up, they tell you she had 'attempts' or "She bit one friend today." Friend? Oh-kay.

Evidently her brutal induction into the rough rules of toddler daycare hardened her up. She started biting more "friends" and earned a rep as the "biter". We know because we here the whispers and see the sideways looks at pick up. Now, I'm the one getting the hell out of dodge before rival parents can ambush me in the parking lot. Do other kids bite we ask? Yes. Do they bite more than her? No. Well, there's that.

Today daycare felt compelled to call me and ask if anything is wrong at home. Huh? The dishwasher's been acting up but other than that no, why do you ask? Your daughter bit two more kids today and tried for a third. Is she biting at home? No, but I will check the dog for holes.

Sensing a very large shoe about to drop, I apologized profusely and asked what her loving, caring, uber-concerned parents could do to help. Nothing really, she said. We just wanted to let you know and we're going to work on a solution.

Solution? Interested to see what this turns out to be. Solitary? Loss of yard privileges? Garlic and a cross? A Hannibal Lecter mask? A stern lecture?

Have a feeling there will be more calls coming. Please call mom first.