Sunday, 18 January 2015

Dear Fraggle, Just learn the good stuff, k?

Dear Fraggle,

Newsflash my baby: Lately you are less "baby", more "small human taking over our house." You recently turned 18 months old, and it is finally becoming clear to me what people meant when they promised this parent job would get fun - because holy hell my little monkey, you are so. much. FUN.

Sure, raising a small human is still hellish on a fairly frequent basis.  There are moments when literally pulling out my hair seems like a perfectly reasonable reaction to a toddler who just hit me in the face or chucked her dinner across the room.

That said, those hellish moments are becoming more balanced with neat, hilarious, fun things that I had never quite anticipated, that I am grateful for, that I wish could be bottled and preserved forever.  Like scotch.  (That's a bad example.  Don't drink scotch.)

My point is, Fraggle, you're making our lives so much more fun than they were before.  Life before you was, well, boring, as far as I can tell.  Life now is exhausting, yes, but also exceptionally engaging.  For example...

You talk.  

Like, a lot.

Before I went to sleep the other night, I was counting sheep baby words.  You have almost 40 distinct, regular words - plus a dozen hand signs, a couple special squeals, and a minimum of 50 animal sounds, including camel and penguin.

Obviously there are only a handful of people who can understand these "words," but that fact matters very little when you look at me and say "sheesh" (meaning, please, I want that, help me mama); or "bAL" (meaning, hey look, a balloon); or "WHOA" (meaning, WHOA LOOK AT HOW COOL THAT IS I CAN'T BELIEVE IT).  Or my personal silent favourite: tapping one hand on top of the other when we chase/tickle/toss you (meaning, more! more!).

Communicating with you, my darling Fraggle, is the highlight of my day.

You dance.  

You adore music, bursting a giant grin and wide eyes that light up your face when you hear a guitar strum or a drum beat.

Even better than witnessing the beaming smile is watching you dance (aka run) around our kitchen - with moves including the Knee-bend, the Moonwalk, the Smooth Criminal, and your most recent addition, the Peg Leg.

You count.  

Kinda.  It's more like pointing. You point at all the frogs, or bears or butterflies and say "da da da" as I count.  You understand the concept - a concept that you wouldn't catch if someone (that is, we, your parents) didn't teach you.  

What I'm getting at is that you learn.

You are a person that I grew inside my body, and who, since that time, has absorbed every minor tidbit of seemingly useless information, and then somehow successfully applied it to your own little world.

You use a spoon.  You stack cups.  You tidy up.  You carry your pajamas into the bathroom.  You clap and say "yaaay!" when you place a puzzle piece.  You have a hand sign for toilet, and you run to your potty, hand waving, when you're about to pee.

You copy everything.  You hear everything.  You observe everything and store it away for later.  And when you reveal some new thing you've learned, I get to think to myself: "I taught her that. She got that from me."

Unfortunately, that whole copy-cat thing is bound to bite me in the ass.  One day you'll crack your neck like a prize-fighter, or argue with a stranger in a parking lot, or shovel a slab of cheesecake into your face like it will save your life.  And on those days, I'll have to be there apologizing for teaching you the wrong thing, showing you the wrong example, leading you down the wrong path.

I only hope you'll also be glad that I taught you how to count frogs, how to host a very exclusive living room dance party, how to spit like a camel - because these are the things I want most for you.  I want you to be clever, independent, active, helpful, polite, communicative, engaged, and a fan of Michael Jackson's music.  I want you to absorb the good stuff, the fun stuff (and ignore the shit) because I'm starting to realize that nothing else much matters than being happy.

You're happy, my doll, and I hope I can help you stay that way.

PS.  Seriously, don't drink scotch.  That never ends well.