Tuesday, July 13, 2010
In which a doting father shares anecdotes and tales of Lydia since we moved to Arkansas
So, today I am feeling a strange mix of boredom at work and pride in my progeny, so I think today is a good day to write up a post about much better my kid is than every other kid.
Lydia has tended to take her time with achieving certain milestones. She didn't crawl or walk quite on schedule, but when she started doing them she picked them up quickly. The same has been the case for talking. Lydia's started to pick up words all over the place. She understands a LOT of things we say, and knows how to go upstairs, downstairs, outside, to the car as well as how to identify her toys, including balls, hammers (don't ask), and a plethora of stuffed animals.
What she's not so good at, though? Enunciation. You have to sort of become a master of her language to understand, for example, whether she is referring to her bear ("boh"), a bird ("bih"), bed ("bee"), or a ball ("bah"). "Nana" can mean she wants a banana, that she wants to play the piano, or that she wants to hang out with Grandma. It's all about context clues, really, but if Grandma is eating a banana on the piano bench...well, the meaning would be nigh impossible to decode. Thankfully, Grandma has a strict no-peelable-fruit-near-the-keys policy, saving us all a world of confusion.
Other favorite words: "piz" (please), "pmpa" (Grandpa), "dazdie" (Daddy?), "dada" (The Cat in the Hat, for reasons we remain absolutely baffled about), "flowfuh" (flower), "bikka bikka" (book...?) and the all-powerful "up!" She also knows several animal sounds, including a Scandinavian dog, ("voof voof!"), an inquisitive French duck ("Qua qua qua!"), and an adorably gentle bear (she roars "Raaaah!" but does it in a very quiet, happily excited voice).
Of course, she still cuts loose with some good babblin' now and then. She should really be using real words by now, but I have to admit that it makes me laugh to hear her just wandering the halls and finding some syllable she likes and repeating it in different tones and volumes.
Books (Bikka bikka)
Of course, some of her best rambling comes when she sits down and reads to herself. Lydia has always been fond of books, and has generally proven herself to be quite capable of not ripping pages. As such, we're OK with her playing with her books. She'll just plop herself down, prop the book up in her lap, and start "reading" in a very authoritative tone. She is not just reading; she is sharing wisdom. She can do this, occasionally turning pages, for quite a while--sometimes up to an hour. The funny thing is that she actually DOES realize a few things. Even in books without pictures, she will always hold the book right-side-up. Even if you give it to her upside-down, she'll reverse it before she begins reading. Neat!
Lydia has sort of a love/hate relationship with beds. When we came to Arkansas, Meagan and I decided that rather than giving Lydia a crib, we would give her a "bed." The reason that's in quotes, you ask? Well, her bed technically consists of her crib mattress on the ground in our walk-in closet. That's right. Our baby sleeps in our closet. She has a story for the future!
The bed, however, hardly matters. Lydia has slept on her bed maybe once or twice since we came here. Most of the times we check on her at night, we find this:
The bed, I suppose, is just there for the feng shui.
So, I guess that's not HATE, per se, but it sure isn't love. The love element of beds, though, is a very special one for Lydia. She has made the magical discovery that Mom and Dad's bed (as well as Grandma and Grandpa's) is simultaneously bouncy, soft, and large. These attributes combined make a perfect playground. Lyddie can spend a long time just knocking herself over on the bed, flopping all over the place and trusting that all will be well. I am certain it's just a matter of time until she misjudges it and flies straight off the side. On the other hand, she just has so much fun doing it that it seems churlish to not allow it. She grins like a maniac the whole time. AND--this is important--it has gotten her to do an accidental somersault. If you have never seen one done on accident, you're missing out. The look of shock on the child's face at suddenly being on her back is just pricelessly hilarious.
Lydia likes attention generally, but when she's on the bed, she REQUIRES active involvement. She will stand in her proudest gymnastic pose and say, "Ah ha!" This, we've discovered, is her call to attention. If she "ah ha!"s and you aren't paying attention, she will walk over to you, and "ah ha!" in your face until you look up at her and repeat, "Ah ha!" She is then free to go about her business, NOW THAT SHE HAS YOUR ATTENTION, THANK YOU VERY MUCH.
The other night Lydia was in a particularly whiny mood as we led her on her death march to her bedroom. Grandpa was heading the same direction and walked right behind the Whiny One as she was letting loose a mighty "enhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh." Grandpa thought it would be funny to do a (pretty much spot-on) imitation of the whine. Lydia, suddenly incensed, turns around and just shoves his shin with force equal to her indignity. Then, as though she realized that what she had just done was certainly not a good idea, she ran and took shelter behind her mother's legs. We're not sure if she was afraid of being punished or what, but Grandpa cracked up not just at the insolent spunk she showed, but also at the rapid transition to cowardice.
I am man enough to admit that I had a less-than-flattering nickname as a child. It was related to...um....my bathtime activities. My father dubbed one-year-old me "The Mad Crapper." Apparently warm water worked its wiles on my bowels, and I was powerless against its persuasion. Now that you can no longer look me in the eye, I'll tell you about Lydia. Meagan and I have felt grateful that Lydia seems to have avoided the nickname her father was once saddled with. Her bathtimes generally go unsoiled. In fact, it only happened one time in her first year: on Mother's Day when I was getting her ready for church. That lovely May morning became a horrific nightmare as Lydia cut loose in the tub. And, of course, it fell to Daddy to clean it up. JOY. As Mother's Day approached this past May, I grew fearful. Lydia's record had been clean after the Mother's Day Movement...but what if she decided to strike again? Meagan assured me it was just my persecution complex kicking in. Mother's Day came. I bathed Lydia. Lydia crapped the tub. OK, that was hilarious. But the REALLY funny part is that she was TERRIFIED of what had happened. She just FREAKED OUT in the funniest possible way. She cowered at the far end of the tub, as far away from the floaters as she could manage. I cannot help but think that this will leave scars. Oh, and the best part? It happened AGAIN the next day. She has hated baths ever since.
Lydia turned 18 months old in February, and in the LDS Church, that meant she was now eligible to attend Nursery! Meagan and I were pretty excited about the prospect of a few baby-free months of Sunday School. Lydia, as it turned out, was not. She HATED Nursery. She flipped out and would often had to be returned to Meagan. Sometimes she would settle enough to stay, but it was a nervous fist-sucky kind of settled that lasted only until one of us picked her up, at which point she got really clingy and, presumably fearing further abandonment, would not unlatch from Meagan's shoulder. During stake conference, she flipped out when we stood up to sing the intermediate hymn because she figured it was now time to go to nursery. She did it AGAIN during the closing hymn of the same conference, just SURE that Nursery was only moments away. As time went on, though, she grew to accept Nursery and has since embraced it. She now leads Meagan by the hand down to the Nursery room after sacrament meetings, and plays happily (mostly by stealing other kids' toys, the little bully (OK, parenthetical anecdote: One time the Nursery leader gave each of the kids a toy egg. Lydia went around and stole everyone else's egg until she had a collection sufficient for her wants.)) until we come and get her.
Lydia tends to be more of a snacker than a meal-eater. Dinner is the worst. We practically have to force food down her throat in the evening. So after a while of just sitting at her high chair watching us eat, she gets bored and Mom lets her down. At this point, she delightedly runs to Grandma, who has mastered the art of eating dinner with a child in her lap and welcomes a bit of company. Lydia will then sit in her lap for the remainder of the meal and--this is the weird part--plays salad dressing games. We are honestly not sure what's going on in her head, but Lydia will get all of the salad dressings on the table in front of her, and she will then move them around, examine them, arrange them in different ways, and generally just be a total weirdo for the rest of the meal. If you need to use one of the salad dressings, she'll let you, but she'll whine at you while you have it. I have yet to see her voluntarily get down from this activity, so I can only presume that, if we allowed it, she would do it until she fell asleep at the table.
In short, Lydia is well on her way to being one sassy broad. We adore her.