Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Are they wiser, or are we more progressive

The judgmental honesty of past decades has almost fully given way to political correctedness, but old ladies still got it (and at the supermarket, they flaunt it).

We were at Trader Joe's a little while ago, with our daughter in the shopping cart seat.  This made it easier for her to attract the attention of strangers - much to her delight, even when she feigned shyness.  An older lady, probably in her 70s, came up to us, gushing.  "Oh my, those cheeks.  She's adorable."  Then the inevitable Q&A session of the not too-busy-for-everything elders.  "How old is she" followed by "does she talk yet" and then a nod so thick with reserved judgment I almost apologized.

She wasn't old-school enough to lecture me, but was not eager to express how "ok" it was, how babies progress differently, that hearing two langauges temporarily slows speech development, or that her own kids did not speak until high school.  I would expect this latter response from a mom of my generation, and it wouldn't do much more for me than this lady's blatant smirk.  I appreciated her almost-direct honesty, however unsolicited, and if she had proceeded to teach me the way they forced langauge on kids when she was parenting, I might have taken some mental notes before rolling my eyes and marvelling at how much more enlightened we are these days.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

"But I'm an angel" she says with her eyes as she wakes up, heels still lodged in daddy's ribs

This is "Lia."  That's not her name but that's what she will sweetly answer if asked.

She maximizes her weight and limbs to control the central 80% of our bed; blankets may not touch her. She articulates her demands by finger pointing, two words, or one word hidden in a gibberish sentence. She will not repeat herself and you have three guesses.

She is a certified Master of the I-Phone, and her nemesis is the lock screen. Her other nemesis? Slivers of street lamp light reflected on the walls. Who invites them in at night, and why don't they move? They are simultaneously dull and disruptive, the worst kind of guests.

The boss enjoys extorting sweets from her grandparents, sleeping in 2-3 hour stretches, and taking all the clothes out of her dresser. Her dislikes are eating in any place meant for eating, bedtimes before midnight, dogs that are sensitive about their eyes, and spoons. She firmly believes that if crayons were meant only for paper, they wouldn't work so well everywhere else.

Her snacks must, I repeat must, come in two's. ("A lot" is also acceptable. "Handful" is ok if there are a lot of them).

Violate any of the aforementioned rules, and she will walk away screaming. Or she may lay on the floor, sullenly, quietly, and stare past you. Either way, you will understand that you have ruined her life. Of course, you can fully redeem yourself by offering snacks, the currency of toddlerhood. Just know that this is no time for hugs, which are earned and not stolen in a flustered attempt to fix what you just broke.

Hugs, incidentally, are her way of saying: "parenting...you haven't failed yet." While the world stops for you during those fleeting, unbearably sweet moments, she will find a new- albeit mischievous and most likely messy- way to express her love. But no worries, you'll have plenty of time to clean up as soon as you arrange for a cartoon. Please. Just one. (At a time).