Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Irony of NO

Yesterday I discovered that my daughter is a lot like a grown man.  Sometimes, you have to let her think something was her idea, for her to think it's a good idea.

Just because mommy says so is not good enough.

Maraea is deep in the throes of the "NO!" stage.  Though if I'm honest, it's not always "NO!"  Sometimes it's more like "No."  Other times, it's more like "no."  And then others, it can be more like "No?"  If you've ever been a mother to a toddler, you know what I'm talking about.  Knowing the different "No's" is a lot like knowing the different cries.

You can't really ask a NoNo Toddler a question, because the answer will always be "no".  They don't really know how to say "yes" yet, though they may know how to nod their heads, but as is true in Maraea's case, she's been shaking her head "no" much longer than she's been nodding her head "yes".  So Aaron and I have really been trying to not ask her so many questions, and instead let her know how it's going to be.  You wanna take a bath?  What's that?  No?  Well too bad.  We shouldn't even really be asking her in the first place, because she doesn't have a choice -- she's stinky and will get a bath whether she wants to or not (and chances are, she'll enjoy it anyway).

Part of the frustration for both parents and child is that the child can't verbalize what they want or need just yet.  So the parents hear a lot of whining, and then try to figure out what the child needs by offering.... You hungry?  Want a snack?  Want some juice?  Is your diaper dirty?  Wanna go night-night?  ...but the answers to all questions are always NO -- even if the real answer is actually YES.  Sometimes being a parent requires that you see through the NO to the real YES that lies beyond.

Yesterday Maraea and I were driving along and she was whining, so I offered her juice ("no!"), a toy ("nooo!"), and her binky ("no!").  So I said "I'm sorry baby, I just don't have anything else right now, we'll be home in a little bit."  Then, in her perfect little baby girl voice, I hear her say:


Oh, did you want your binky?  You know, just because mommy offered it, doesn't mean it was good enough.

"Hahahha.... GEENKYYYYY!"

I hand her binky back to her and she lets out a relief-filled laugh, sticks it in her mouth, and she is once again happy.

But the irony of the word NO is this.  She knows enough to use it in the proper sense for the most part -- when she doesn't want something or doesn't want to do something, she simply says "No".  Listening to the word "No" is another story though.  She has a clear enough understanding of how to use it, but not a clear enough understanding of how to abide by it.

Because when mommy says No, it just isn't good enough.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Sour Cream + Peas

My daughter loves to dip.

French fries in blue cheese dressing.
Hot dogs in ketchup.
Fingers in cheez whiz (makes mommy so proud).

And now?  Peas in sour cream.

I wish I could say she picked up this habit on her own, but frighteningly, she picked it up from me.  I, too, am a dipper.  I don't exactly dip my fingers in cheez whiz (or peas in sour cream, for that matter), but dipping is my thing.  Now the french fries in blue cheese dressing, yes, she got that from me.  I dip my steaks in sauce.  I dip my chips in, well, dip.  I dip my quesadillas in sour cream.  As you'll see below, my daughter does too.  Only she doesn't eat the quesadilla like any normal person would.  No.  She dips, and licks it all off, and dips again.

My daughter, the double dipper.

Tonight I gave her a small cheese quesadilla and some peas for dinner.  I set the sour cream on the table for me and my husband, and she looked at it and reached for it and then looked at me and said, "Me?"  This is how she asks for something.  She reaches for it and says "Me?"  Or, she'll reach for it, stomp her feet, and say "MINE!"  I think she says "Me?" when she thinks I'll normally say no.  But she's so cute, so I buckle and say yes.  Every time.

So she got a dollop of sour cream on her plate, and she proceeded to pinch between her tiny little fingers, a pea, and dip it into sour cream, and eat the pea.  She did this very carefully, precisely, over and over.

And then she was out of sour cream.


Well alright.  Here's another dollop.

By this point she must have decided that dipping one pea at a time just wasn't getting the job of Project Sour Cream Inhalation done fast enough, so she turned to her fingers.  Scooping up globs of sour cream, shoveling them into her mouth, she managed to plaster her lips in white.

And I beamed with pride.  My baby loves my favorite condiment.  She is a mama's girl after all.