Sunday, February 26, 2012

Coming of Age

Amari will be two and a third in early March. That's right, we've moved on from weeks and months to fractions. I'm really looking forward to mid-April when she's two and six-thirteenths. I hear it's an awesome time in a toddlers life.

In all seriousness, this is the age I imagined writing about when Jen suggested I write a blog of my parenting experiences. Sure, babies are cute and ever-changing, novel and priceless, and the milestones of rolling, crawling, walking, and talking are note-worthy (I took many notes), but now that Amari's stringing together sentences, putting the pieces together, and dare I say cultivating a world-view (sort of), I find myself sitting on the edge of my seat waiting for what she might say next. Reminds me of that old Bill Cosby TV show, "Kids Say the Cutest Fucking Shit." 

Just the other morning I woke up and toyed with the idea of getting out of bed. Amari was still asleep next to me, tossing and turning, probably contemplating the same thing. Finally she noticed my eyes were open and she lift her weary head and said (with more enthusiasm than I ever say it), "Amari need coffee." That's my girl. The interesting thing is that she still doesn't use the pronoun "I." Early on I read in a parenting book that we should avoid "I" and "you" and instead use more concrete pronouns, "Dada loves Amari," and I took it to heart. As a result - for now - everything is "Amari..." 

Here are a few episodes of my own, home-version, of that funny, old Cosby show.

 --While cutting Amari's hair the other day, evening up a few stray pieces, she asked me, "Can Amari cut Dada's hair?" to which I replied, "Sure. When you're older." She paused for about five seconds and then asked, "Am I older now?"

--Although the two's have come with the whole-hearted development of the word "mine," I recently discovered a couple of advantages. The first is during moment of resistance - PJs and bedtime. When I claim it's time to put on my PJs and drink my bottle, Amari will let down her guard and claim her ownership. "My PJs, my bottle," and it's off to bed. The other advantage came during an apology. I can't remember the details, but when I said, "I'm sorry Amari. That was my fault," she was immediately up in arms saying, "No Dada, my fault." I'll enjoy this stage for a while.

--I brief truth-telling about potty training. Several months ago Amari took toe pee-pee-ing on the potty at home and we thought we were free and clear of diapers. I was excited, but the excitement quickly wore off for Amari and it became hit or miss - and there was certainly no training going on outside the house. I got lots of feedback from other parents including one who said, "When she's ready, she'll tell you." When I heard that I thought, "That's ridiculous."

Sure enough, after the quick and successful training of her friend Hunter, Amari was putting up her normal diaper-changing fuss, complete with kicking and whining, when I finally said, "Listen, if you don't want to wear diapers anymore then you have to potty train like Hunter. If that's something you want, then tell me." Silence. Diaper on. End of conversation. Three hours later, rolling around on the floor and playing with something or other, Amari paused, looked up at me and said, "Dada, Amari want to potty train." That was the beginning. An accident a day for the first three days, and since then she's been pretty solid. Except for the solids. Poop has been an issue, which appears to be resolving itself, but pretty traumatic for a while. Really traumatic for a while after that. We had to model making grunting noises/faces and helping her push them out, and I think she's getting better at letting go. A therapist friends says it's a very existential experience for some kids, but who knows.

--An indication that she is getting the poop idea came when I was trying to get a sticker off a page for her. "What's wrong, Dada?" Amari asked.
"It's really stuck," I said.
"You have to Mmmmmm (grunting poop noise with accompanied face) like poo-poo."
I obliged and the sticker came right off.

--And finally, the other night at dinner, Amari passed something to her mom and said, "There you go, babe." We definitely are watching what we say more closely, and I'm really grateful she didn't say, "There you go you ungrateful bitch."

More cute fucking shit soon.

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