Sunday, February 24, 2008

Night time

Night time is a ritual. Rituals create images of cults. Although this is not a cult, the amount of planning, orchestration and compliance that is involved is borderline.

We are streamlining the procedure. Procedure sounds better than ritual. They're synonyms. The procedure, currently can take up to two hours. Starting with bath, then naked run around time, then book time, then song time, then potty time, then story in bed time, then potty time, then potty time, then potty time, then walk to bed, then climb into bed and out of bed and into bed, then hold onto animals time, followed by a kick off of the blanket, then blanket reapplication with repositioning of animals followed by drink, followed by kisses, followed by reapplication of blanket and animals, next drink, then out of the room to quickly return for one last drink.

It is getting shorter. Truthfully, now, the longest part is potty, but who wants to rush sitting on the potty. A particularly difficult part of the evening is that Tahlia no longer needs light in her room. Mommy and Daddy do; she doesn't. Therefore, there is no night-light; all lcd lights are covered; the door is closed; if our watches glowed, there would be restrictions. Because of how dark it is, sometimes my hand sneaks up on me and smacks me in the face when I'm not looking. Somehow, she manages. One particularly difficult acrobatic move used to be that she needed us to give her kisses in specific locations on her face. She would point profusely to varying locations. If one was to kiss one millimeter to the left or the right, she would repeat her directions, becoming increasingly incised to state, "No, there." Although one would believe the kiss was already administered in the correct locale, one was incorrect. This aspect of the evening has ended. Kisses are still administered, but in small quantities, without direction. We now let her know which will be the last kiss, and stick to that. Prior to this omission, as you would leave, she would begin saying statements like, "Love you Daddy." To which, any sane being would respond," Love you Tahlia." Unfortunately, this was the wrong answer, quickly receiving the message, a little louder, a little more like a category one hurricane that you hope won't become a five, but the winds seem a little too strong, " Love you Daddy." After several attempts, we were left only with stating the script to Tahlia: "I'm going to say 'Goodnight Tahlia.' You will say 'Good night Mommy/Daddy.' I'm going to leave." This would work until one of us mistakenly, wanting the last word, would say "Love you Tahlia." We realized, after several nights, that the true response to "Love you Daddy," is "Love you Daddy." Who would have thought it that simple.

But as she quickly grows, it seems that the little being who can easily crawl up in your lap and make herself no larger than a red playground ball, will quickly flee away from us, helping us realize that even in these ritualistic pursuits, we must hold onto these moments that flee and fly from us as they soon will be no more.

With a squeeze

Recently taught her how to squeeze when giving a hug. Usually she just puts her arms around a person, or smooshes her face up against somebody's head. Now, when asked to give a big squeeze, she will.

Reminds me that a couple of months ago, she went through a phase where Mommy was allowed to give her kisses on her mouth, but Daddy could only give them to her on her forehead. When asked if one of us could give her a kiss, she would consent, and then say "Right there," pointing to the specified location.

The things she says

She listens, and repeats. This shouldn't be something that is amazing as most two year olds have this capability, but it is in the way that she responds that is interesting. Yesterday, at dinner, I said to Lauren, "I want to win the lottery" and she said, "Me too!"...and then Tahlia leaned forward and looked at me and said, "Me too, Daddy!".

Then last night, she states that it is funny that she is wearing diapers. She is fully potty trained and only wearing pull ups at night, and they have Dora on them. There are several humorous aspects to her wearing pullups. The first is that she hasn't wet herself at night in over two months. She has wet herself more during the day than she has at night since she became potty trained. The second is that we have never called these diapers diapers. We always call them her nighttime panties. Panties is a stretch when discussing these pullups. Panties gives the illusion of petite and slimming. These are, at the end of the day, diapers. Last, although Tahlia can tell you that Dora is on her pants, she has no idea who Dora is. She has never seen her on television, but, then again, nor has she seen much of anything on television as she doesn't watch any. But last night, she states that it is "silly" that she wears diapers at night. It is silly. I told her that they are night time panties, and she bought it a little. Then she starts saying, "Some people wear panties." This is true. I have no argument. She lists off her mom and the big girl she admires down the street. I, of course, make the list. Then, to the chagrin of some of my male neighbors, she begins listing off some of them. The idea of wearing panties evolves, in her listing, into how "Some people go poopy on the potty." She begins another crusade into the various people in our neighborhood, all who are most assuredly pleased that hey have made this list. She winds up with two of her closest friends, stating that they go poopy in the potty. Neither of them do quite yet. I don't correct her. I don't want to create confusion. At this age, positive peer pressure is so important. Doing similar things that your peers are doing, only boosts confidence, strokes the ego, and, sometimes, helps you to allow your child to climb a little more quickly into her high chair because, most definitely, all of her friends are eating dinner at this very second too.

And her listening is not just about what she can and can't say back to us. It is about how her memory works. We tell her a different story each night. Different is, of course, relative. Her stories are as different as the many CSI shows are that are currently on television. Although they are in different locations, and the cast members look different, they are, pretty much, the same show. In as much, her stories are different. But what is wonderful is when we are sitting on the couch, or playing with her on the bed, or driving in the car, and suddenly, one of the stories erupts from her mouth like a sudden melodrama blasted across the airwaves. Even though she may miss the high points -- such as the understanding that when we tell the story about the lost bouncy ball, after the red bird is mistaken for the bouncy ball, the children find the ball carried in the mouth of the black dog, while in her story, the children find the red bird carried in the mouth of the black dog while the bouncy ball is all but a lost detail -- the vivid language she uses to elaborate on the barbaric plot is astounding.

And she listens. Last week when we heard a windchime, she wanted to know what the "dom dom dom" was. When she hears a bird call, she does not do the typical "tweet tweet" but pouts her little mouth and makes a hissing sound as she attempts to whistle, or when I'm putting her to bed and she suddenly asks about Mommy and the beep beep beep of the computer, which is actually Lauren making cupcakes which the next day Tahlia will mistake for muffins and stick her little index finger into the chocolate coated top stating that "I want that" not understanding it is not a morning muffin to anyone except me. These sounds around her, she hears and interprets.