Thursday
Jun232016

But Why?

Mila is, without a doubt, exceeding expectations when it comes to communicating. She's using words and sentences in ways I wouldn't expect. There are two things worth saying about the whole thing:

1. She's doing it because of Alexis. Alexis spends hours every day teaching Mila new words. When Alexis is talking to Mila, she will pause to ask Mila to repeat words and phrases. "We went to the Pirates game today. Mila, say 'Pirates,'" for example.

No adult on the planet has as much patience for teaching vocabulary as Alexis does.

2. It doesn't matter. I can tell you with certainty that Mila isn't dumb, but being ahead with her words doesn't mean anything in the long run. She may end up President of the United States one day. She may also end up wanting to be a stay at home pet rock mom. Either way, her place in adult life won't be because she figured out how to say, "Help me put shoes on?" at 24 months of age.

That said, the fact that she now says, "No, thank you" when she doesn't want something will absolutely lead her to good things in life. The way she says it is so tiny and cute that I am going to end up buying her a pony any day now. Also, manners. I'm a sucker for good manners.

Long of the short, Mila is doing well with the talky talky and it's Alexis' fault.

All Alexis' fault.

ALL ALEXIS' FAULT.

It is absolutely 100% Alexis' fault that Mila has already started in with the "Why?" phase.

"Mila, sit down."

"Why?"

"Mila, eat your dinner."

"Why?"

"Mila, put your pants back on."

"Why?"

"Mila, put the matches back in your pocket."

"Why?"

The Why? phase is absolutely a necessary evil in childhood, but WHY DID IT HAVE TO START SO EARLY? WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY?

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Wednesday
Jun222016

When She's Right, She's Right

I think we all have lazy parenting phrases we use to shut down conversations. "Because I said so," for example. If we don't all use them once in a while, don't tell me. I want to think I'm an average-achiever in this game, not an over-achiever.

My choice of lazy parenting phrases is, "Your life is hard." It works in a lot of situations. When a certain kid is complaining that she doesn't want to go to camp, when she whines about having to practice for band, any time she thinks she shouldn't have to do chores ... it's a really great all-purpose phrase. It works well because that particular kid wants to argue with me in moments like that, but if she argues with me, she's saying her life isn't hard. Ergo, what I'm asking isn't asking much.

She's forced to either agree with me as she does the thing she doesn't want to do or stop talking while she does the thing she doesn't want to do. Either way, I win.

That little phrase works well with the other kid, too. When she has thrown herself to the ground because I gave her strawberries instead of blueberries, saying "Your life is hard" makes me laugh. It's a good reminder that to her life is hard at that moment, but eventually she will gain some perspective. She won't always throw a fit when I won't let her wear shoes that are three sizes too small, she will eventually figure out that feeding the dogs her food will always get her in trouble, and all the little injustices in toddler life will fade to the past.

All of that is to say, it makes sense that the conversation I'm about to describe went the way it did.

Every night, weather permitting, Mila and I go for a walk around the neighborhood. It's a walk intended to help her figure out that it's time to go to bed because homegirl is having trouble winding down lately. She gets to look for dogs, point out flowers, and cruise down the road in her little car until it's time for her to go to bed.

She really super likes the walks.

The only problem is that the whole "sit in her little car" thing nearly always turns into "I want to walk."

That's a lie, by the way. When Mila says she wants to walk, what she means to say is that she wants to run in traffic, throw rocks through windows, or set things on fire. She doesn't walk nicely on the sidewalk. EVER.

Tonight Mila hit the wall earlier than usual. We weren't even close to being back at our house when she started squawking about how terrible it was that I wouldn't let her walk.

"I walk!" she said.

"You have to wait until we get to the dog," I replied. The dog is a statue of a dog that is a few houses down from ours. Mila knows where it is and what it is and all of that. I can generally prevent her from committing a felony if she walks from there to our house.

"NO. I WALK!" she replied.

"You can wait," I answered.

"LIFE IS HARD!" she screamed at the top of her lungs.

She's not wrong.

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Tuesday
Jun212016

Busted. So Busted.

It's all fun and games until you try to drive past a playground with a toddler in the car. Fortunately, I only try to do exactly that TWICE A DAY EVERY DAY OMG ::HEADEXPLODE::

Sooooo ... Alexis goes to a summer camp. The summer camp happens to be located right next to the football field where we spend hours and hours for cheerleading practice in the summer, which happens to be right next to the playground where Mila plays away the hours of cheerleading practice. Mila isn't dumb; she immediately recognized the playground and was very clear about what she thought should happen on Day One.

Day One was super disappointing for her. So was Day Two. The disappointment was containable, though, because I was able to drop Alexis off and pick her up without Mila getting out of the car.

Day Three, though. HOOBOY.

Day Three led to a change in the pickup process. Said change meant that instead of pulling up and having Alexis jump in the car, I had to get out of the car and go fetch her. Thus, Mila had to get out of the car. Do you know what happens when a toddler finds herself in the wild and sees a playground that she loves?

That girl is FAST. That's what I'm saying.

Mila's feet barely touched the ground before she made eye contact with the slide and began flying towards it. I took off in pursuit, but I was wearing work shoes. Tiny people wearing comfy shoes are WAY faster than grown women in heels. A running tackle was involved, you guys.

The logical thing to do, of course, was to let Mila play. So we did. I fetched Alexis (with a screaming Mila thrown over my shoulder because she completely disagreed that we should take Alexis with us to the playground), and we spent half an hour playing.

All was well.

And then came Day Four.

The second I picked Mila up from daycare, she started in. "Playground?" she asked sweetly. Sweet turned into assertive turned into demanding turned into "DAMMIT, WOMAN. I SAID PLAYGROUND. DO MY BIDDING." There's a ten-minute drive that separates Mila's daycare from Alexis' camp and Mila spent every second of that ten minutes reminding me that she wanted to go to the playground so she could slide and swing and all of the things.

I told her "yes" the first time she said it. I swear. I also told her "yes" the next 5000000 times she said it. Apparently, however, that's not enough for Little Miss because she would not stop talking. She was so busy talking about the playground, I think she was forgetting to breathe. I can't be sure, though, because I kinda sorta stopped bothering to pay attention.

Ummmm ... you guys. YOU GUYS. A few minutes after I gave up on trying to make the beast understand that I was going to let her have her way, she suddenly turned silent. The pause gave me pause, so I tuned in mentally.

"You hear me, mom?" Mila asked.

MY TWO-YEAR-OLD CALLED ME OUT FOR NOT PAYING ATTENTION TO HER.

I'm so screwed with this one.

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