Monday, October 12, 2009

Cute Tricky Fun

That is what my kid is these days. She still has her whine-a-thons, but most of the time she's pretty fun to hang out with. She's very, very talkative and the things that come out of her mouth just keep getting funnier as her vocabulary expands. She is an excellent mimic. She repeats things we've said and even has our inflection down pat. Sometimes it's almost creepy how well she can remember and repeat precisely what we've said.

She was splashing in the bath last night and called out in a truly eerie imitation of my voice, "Ryan? Ryan? Hey Ryan? Can you see what's on HBO tonight?" Then she went back to dunking her bathtub toys under the bubbles. From the living room came the sound of my husband laughing his ass off.

She was trying to drink out of a cup with a straw in it, and kept tipping it up so that nothing got to the straw and the drink ran out the top. "Tip it down," we told her. "It's a straw, you have to tip it down." "Tip it doowwwwn?" she repeated, drawing out the word in a pitch-perfect impression of a friend's little boy we had played with months earlier. "Did you tip it down?" She giggled and repeated it over and over, sounding exactly like her little friend each time.

Earlier this week, I didn't feel good so I spent some time vegging out watching, per Piper's request, episode after episode of Doctor Who. Eventually I turned off the tv and dragged my ass off the couch. "I would like to watch another Doctor Who," said Piper. "I would really like it." I told her no, we were done for today and we had to find some fun stuff that didn't involve the tv. She sighed. "Alright," she said, resigned to an evening devoid of the Doctor and Rose Tyler. "Maybe watch Doctor Who tomorrow," she said in a concilatory tone.

I handed her a PB & J for lunch (she only started liking them recently). "A drink would be nice," she commented before taking a bite. "I would like some chocolate milk."

She can drink a LOT of chocolate milk. Even though I cut it with 60% white skim milk, a gallon jug of chocolate milk lasts less than a week. That is a serious amount of liquid to pour into one little girl.

Chocolate milk is not the only sugary thing she sucks down. We tried our best to keep refined sugars out of the house, but my husband's sweet tooth and my weakness for breakfast bread items combined with well-meaning grandparents and friends to introduce our child to a host of corn-syrup vehicles. She loves ice cream and popsicles; I buy the "Mighty Mini" slow-melt pops and she can eat a box of 24 in just three days. It used to be easy to keep her out of them, becuase we'd just say "NO, YOU HAVE HAD 7 POPSICLES IN THREE HOURS YOU ARE NOT GETTING ANY MORE TODAY PLEASE STOP ASKING OR I WILL THROW THE GODDAMNED THINGS IN THE TRASH" and that was the end of it. This happy era came to an end when she learned not only how to open the fridge & freezer doors, but also how to climb the shelves, grab the box off the top shelf, and tear it open to help herself to cold fruity goodness whenever we cut her off. We tied the doors shut with a scarf and she untied it. I tried a belt and she unbuckled it. Pretty much all we can do is yell "Get OUT of the FRIDGE!" every 10 minutes and listen closely for the crinkle of plastic wrappers.

Her problem-solving skills have cranked up a notch in past months, so she has figured out now that when she wants something on the counter, she can get a stockpot out of the cabinet, flip it upside down, and stand on it to reach higher. There used to be a once-inch margin at the edge of our countertops; now the never-ending clutter on top of them keeps getting pushed back farther and farther. She can reach into the kitchen drawers without help, so I find her rummaging for forks, pulling out dishcloths, or getting into the batteries. We've had to have several conversations about Why Sharp Things Are Bad and Things That Should Never Go In Your Mouth.

Ryan has been home more lately, and he's making an extra effort to spend time with her; as a result, they are buddies and I find myself not necessarily the go-to parent in times of crisis. He has even put her to bed several nights this week, which is almost unheard-of. Usually I am the one who has to sit in her darkened room for 20-60 minutes at bedtime, snuggling her and singing and getting drinks of water and finding favorite toys and answering questions and telling her to settle down and lay still and stop fidgeting and quit kicking and would you please for the love of God go to sleep? She still does not sleep through the night, but at least I get an occasional break from the long, drawn-out bedtime wind-down.

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