You know what’s better than teaching a toddler and watching her absorb the information you impart on her? Not teaching her and watching her absorb the world around her. She surprises me every day by what she’s learning, with or without help from the adults, and it’s usually a riot (well, it may be so to a new mom like me). Many of them are you had to be there moments, although I’ve tried my best to capture what I could here:
I was at home with Little Miss one morning when we said goodbye to My Guy after he grabbed his coffee mug and his murse (man + purse) to make his way to the corporate madder (maze + ladder). After he disappeared from her sight, she looked at me concerned, “Daddy?” I explained to her that he has gone to work. Later that morning, my daughter grabbed her neon pink purse, said goodbye and headed towards the door. Briefly looking up from my computer, I called out to her, “Bye! But where are you going?”
She declared without skipping a beat, “To work!”
Hah. If only she knew what that really meant.
* * *
She is learning that people are not just men, ladies, babies, girls and boys – classifications she has pretty much mastered as she points at strangers. “Man! Baby! Girl!” although the occasional long-haired dude does throw her off - “Lady!” Now that she is able to associate people by their names, she asks for the people she enjoys spending time with the most. But there are occasional surprises.
When we went to the pool over the weekend, we met a little girl, Grace, who went down the pool slide with Little Miss a few times. A couple of days later, when I asked Little Miss if she enjoyed the pool, she responded yes. When prodded further about who she was there with, thinking she would say Mommy and Daddy, she answered, “Grace”. It took me a second to realize who she meant. I had completely forgotten about the girl because we had not spoken of her since we parted ways at the pool.
The things that her 21-month-old memory bank chooses to retain amaze me. A couple of months ago, her dad pointed at my boobs (you know, as boys often do) after I came out of the shower and cheekily asked Little Miss, “What’s this?” thinking he would confound her except it had the opposite effect when she answered matter-of-factly, “Milk.”
We were floored by her memory retention. The last time she nursed, she was 13 months old.
* * *
On one random day…
My Guy: ACHOOO!!!!
Little Miss: Besh you!
I guess if you say it enough, it bears repeating. And now she beshes us all the time. Even the pets.
* * *
My daughter, like most kids in America, has developed an affinity for fries; I don’t know WHERE she gets it from (ahem coughcough ahem). But then again who (in their right mind) wouldn’t like fries? Now, before you go Jamie Oliver Food Revolution on my ass, please know that:
- I make her healthy meals pretty much every night
- She often chooses fruits and veggies, specifically asparagus, peas, mushrooms and zucchini over carbs and meat
- I am a believer of “all things in moderation” and “the more something’s labeled forbidden, the more I’ll covet it” and by that token, I’m OK with the occasional indulgence in donuts and fries
But what I am NOT OK with is my daughter spotting hot and sour sauce in a squeeze bottle at a Chinese restaurant and seeing the familiar red, she demanded, “Ketchup! Ketchup!” With dim sum? Really? Fine, I placed some in front of her. She then made the next logical inquiry: “Fwies??”
Oh no you did – n’t! I did not just hear my daughter asking for fries in Chinatown! She is a quarter Chinese for heaven’s sake. How could she– the tirade in my head ended when I looked at her Caucasian daddy with the suburban upbringing. That half of her trumps the measly quarter. It explains her predilection. Even though I was well aware that any normal human being enjoys fried foods, I still glared at him. Like it’s his fault that she asked for fries even though he’s happily stuffing his face with shiu mai and har gow (steamed pork and shrimp dumplings).
When in doubt, it’s daddy’s fault.
* * *
Lately, Little Miss has started to string her words to make some semblance of a sentence here and there, like “I see you,” “Where are you?”, “More cherries please?”, “Off the light”, “Shoe on please” and “Here it is” – although the last one sounds like one word when she says it - “Hereitis!” This is exciting for us because the tantrums are fewer and farther in between when she’s better equipped to communicate her needs, and of course, who doesn’t enjoy having a two-way communication with their kids? But I have to admit, my favorite “sentence” of hers is this:
Her bedtime routine usually involves daddy reading to her in the rocker and as I leave them to it, my daughter and I exchange “good night, love you, see you, bye” a few times back and forth and end with a big hug and kiss. One night, after the kiss, she pulled away and in her little voice, she requested, “Daddy kiss mommy?”
Of course we happily complied, and she loved it. Except I think I loved it more.