Our Noble Pursuits

Living the good life. And writing about it.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Annie's Lessons (Part 1)

As it turns out, having a child is a most educational experience for a girl.  Yes, I have learned how to diaper and swaddle and soothe a baby.  Yes, I have learned about bedtime routines and feeding routines and a little about child development.  But the biggest lessons haven't come from any book or expert or pediatrician or other parent.  The biggest lessons have come straight from Annie herself, and I just thought I'd share a few with you.  I'm calling this post "Part 1" because I suspect there will be more lessons passed on from daughter to mother as the months and years roll by.

Lesson 1: Food makes a great styling product.  Annie has alerted me to the fact that nothing really makes her pretty baby hair hold a style like mashed potatoes, pasta sauce, or the cheese part of macaroni and cheese.  Seriously, hair gel needs to take a lesson.  And bows and ribbons?  Please.  Why mess with those pesky things when avocado works just as well? 

Lesson 2: Toddlers are a jealous sort.  Recently, we have noticed that Annie fully believes she is the only one in the family (actually, the only one on the planet) who should get hugs from mommy or daddy. And only one of us can and should hug her at a time, as far as she’s concerned.  If I am holding Annie in the morning, she is sometimes quite obvious in her discontent if David tries to swoop in and make it family bonding time with a group hug.  And whenever Daddy holds another baby – a friend’s child, a niece or nephew – Annie suddenly has never been more interested in sitting in his lap.  Ain’t nobody sitting on Daddy if I’m not sitting on Daddy, says our girl.

Lesson 3: Even though dirt doesn’t taste particularly good, it is still fun to eat.  I don’t know what the deal is lately, but Annie has started to find dirt fascinating.  At first, I thought, “Oh, she’ll put that in her mouth, find out it tastes like, well, dirt, and spit it back out immediately.”  Not so.  While she doesn’t look particularly pleased by the way dirt tastes – or even its texture in her mouth – she still goes back for more.  Looks like we may have to find a different approach to parenting on this one – the learn from your own mistake philosophy doesn’t seem to have worked.

Lesson 4: Baby girls learn to be girly without any intentional help from you.  Before Annie was even born, David and I had discussions about how much princess obsession we were going to be okay with when she got older.  Would we give in and buy the Cinderella tricycle or stand our ground with a good, old fashioned red one?  Well, thankfully, princesses have not entered Annie’s knowledge base yet (at least as far as I know), but other girly things have.  Without a lesson from Mama, I might add.  She knows exactly what to do with a purse.  She walks around with it slung over her arm and her hand in the air like she’s joining her little baby friends for tea and crumpets.  She will throw a string of beads around her neck and look at you with this look that says, “Aren’t you going to tell me how nice this looks?”  Where do they learn these things?  Now, I must add, she will pick up a screwdriver and stick it in her mouth too, but the girl stuff is of special interest to her.  Sorry, David, I don’t like our chances on the whole avoiding the Disney princess enterprise deal.

Lesson 5: Bathwater is a most refreshing beverage.  Give our girl a bathtub and she will find a way to drink the water.  If we put her in the tub while it is still filling, she will put her hand in the stream of water in such a way as to spray it in her mouth.  Once that water source is stopped, she will use an old liquid soap bottle (well cleaned out and thoroughly washed at least) as a cup and drink swig after swig of the water she is sitting in.  There is a lot about this that I don’t like to think about – like the effect the warm bathwater might have had on her undiapered self when she first entered the tub.  But I figure there are bigger things to worry about in parenthood.  And she’s learning to drink from something other than a sippy cup, right?  See, Annie’s always pointing out the positive.

I'm certain I'm not the only one learning these and other equally interesting (and somewhat disgusting, at times) lessons from a kid.  Next time we see each other, maybe we can compare notes.

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