Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Toddler Decathlon, Events 9 & 10. For the Gold...

The medal round of the Toddler Decathlon. This is it! What am I talking about? I explain here. Events 1-2, 3-5, 6-8.

Event – 9 The Stair Master
    Is there anything more problematic than a toddler and a set of stairs? We have a pseudo-two story home that unfortunately has stairs. I say unfortunately because she is evidently drawn to them like a moth to a bug zapper. If the wife and I can't hear and see her for more than 15 seconds, we know where to look. Yes, we have a gate but previously we could get away with leaving it cracked open to make a quick trip up or down and we're creatures of habit. Now, leave it open and you'll surely find a blur of a toddler shimming down the stairs like she's busting out of prison. Pick her up in mid flight and she screams like she's going back to solitary. The wife and I are wagering over whether this little gem of a habit or an errant kitchen knife left on the counter is the cause of our first emergency room visit. The decathletes will ascend a full flight of stairs and back down before being caught. ***For the safety of the athletes, only reverse or butt-crawls are acceptable.***

Event – 10 Changing Table Wrestling
    This is it. The gold medal event. Seemingly all she has learned and developed are now on display in this 3x2 foot terryclothed arena. What the Octagon is to MMA or the stage is to American Idol, the changing table is our Battle Royale. Win or go to bed angry.

We still use a changing table. I don't know what the appropriate age is to wean a kid off one but we're stuck with it until she figures out the big white bowl with water inside in the bathroom isn't just for washing your hands. Don't get me wrong, nine out of ten diaper changes go off without a hitch. After nearly two years, dad and daughter can go through the motions like a pit crew changing a tire. But that tenth time, look out. See that's the one with the exceptionally dirty diaper, the nap at daycare was cut way too short, and a triple-digit fever is brewing leaving you with a red-eyed angry toddler ready to buck like she's the bull in a rodeo. She's been training for this moment. Her brain gets that her legs can kick and her arms can reach things that allow her hands to grab and throw, all in a nanosecond. While you're reaching for the flung wipes on the floor she's already got her free hand in what was last night's fajita dinner with a side of raisins and is heading for your face. The look in her eye says she understands what she's doing too. Here, an easy bedtime routine can turn into a disaster. A get ready for school clothing change can turn into a sorry boss, I'm going to late today excuse #9847. For all the gold, the decathletes and their parent will attempt a dirty diaper change at 3:17 a.m., without the lights on. The new diaper application must take more than two minutes and with at least some smearing of something horrific on the table or changer. Bonus points given for every dry heave from the parent.
So these are the ten feats of strength my not-so-little-anymore baby girl is up to these days. Honestly it's been fun to watch and I will admit, I'm an encourager, the one to pick her up when she fails and say try it again. I can't wait to see what she does next but damn, is she growing way too fast. What worries me even more - what's next? How long do I have before back-talking, driving, texting, dating (dear God…)? But then I'm in training me too.

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