Have you ever received one of those age-based emails from a baby website? I got one today. Amongst other things, it said, ” If you ask your 11 month old where her mouth is, chances are she will point to it.” Will she now. So I asked Squeak.
She said, “Bleh.” That’s a no, then.
And it got me thinking. There is so much information out there about what your child should be doing at a particular age. Sitting, crawling, walking, clapping. You could spend hours reading it all.
In my opinion, though, they missed some pretty massive ones out. Things I would definitely have appreciated being warned about.
I write this having just changed into my second outfit of the day. Yep, you guessed it. Squeak just had a bath.
As I think I’ve covered before, children are dirty. They don’t just attract dirt, they positively welcome it. You could bath a kid three times a day and you’d still find a bit of pasta behind his ear or fluff between his toes.
Some babies hate baths. I have been lucky not to have one of those. Squeak is an especially big fan. There’s only one reason for that though.
Now, I don’t mind the first splashes of a small baby who has just realised they have hands and feet. In fact, I think it’s pretty cute. The little uncoordinated, excited jerks of the legs, the surprised stillness as the water ripples around them. I don’t mind because they weigh as much as a couple of bags of sugar and have puny, under-developed muscles. I can finish the bath pretty much dry.
There’s nothing under-developed about Squeak’s muscles. And she has more fat rolls than the Michelin Man.
I do not finish the bath ‘pretty much dry’ any more.
This week, it seems like she has had a big developmental leap in regards to splashing. She has learned effectiveness. And boy, did she test it out on me tonight!
Her hands somehow morphed into giant, efficient flippers. What seemed like buckets of water drenched me from head to toe as she laughed. Oh did she laugh. And did I detect an evil glint in her eye? Maybe.
She even splashed herself in the face. Hard. I waited for the scream of anguish, but none came. Instead, she uttered only one word.
Then she did it again. And again.
Balls of steel, that kid.
It’s an exciting time when your child first learns to talk. Squeak has been trying out words for about a month now, and it’s as magical as it was the first time. It’s unbelievable to think that in less than a year a baby can go from communicating in grunts and wails to parroting your own words back to you.
Yes, parroting. And that is the problem right there.
It’s all cute at first. They call, “Daddy!” with excitement when he enters the room. You hand them a ball and they say, “Ball.” Wow! You can’t get enough of it.
You have to get used to the novelty of your child beginning to talk. It doesn’t come naturally at first. You’ve been able to speak freely for almost a year, it’s inevitable that you’ll slip up sometimes. And they don’t echo you all the time. You can say a million things which are completely ignored. But they know when to pay attention.
So you stub your toe. You realise you’ve forgotten an important appointment. The dog craps on the floor. You say, “Shit.”
And a little voice says, “Sit.”
Of all the times to listen! You just taught your precious child their first swear word.
You try some distraction. “Hey [baby], look, bubbles!” You point and generally make a big song and dance about it. No kid can resist bubbles, right?
Nooo! Time to bring out the big guns.
“Would you like a biscuit? Oooh, biscuit!”
Suddenly, a flash of inspiration.
“That’s right, a biscuit.”
Close enough. No one will ever know!
Taking Shoes Off
The other day, I took Squeak to get measured for her first shoes. Yes, he has been walking for 3 months and I may seem a little shoddy for waiting this long. But there was no way I was paying £32 (£32!) for shoes which she would walk around in, inside.
It was a pretty amusing experience, overall. The saleswoman tried her best to make Squeak enjoy the experience, but Squeak responded only with a suspicious glare. Then when she got the shoes on, she stared at them in disbelief, and proceeded to take big strides around the shop. She looked like an astronaut on the moon! I may have giggled.
Since we got them, Squeak has worn her shoes for approximately 1 minute and 39 seconds. Because what do they fasten with?
It took her about 20 seconds to figure out that she could open the straps. She tried walking around like that, but it was a minor tripping hazard (i.e. she fell flat on her face). So she plopped down on her bottom and surveyed them for a bit. Then she smiled, and rubbed her feet along the carpet. Bye bye, shoes.
Can you say ‘waste of money?’
Children start to learn to read super early these days. And it is so cool! A whole world opens up for them. Suddenly, signs have meaning. A book tells a story far more elaborate than the pictures can convey. You can find out exactly what is in that bottle of tomato ketchup.
I was amazed when Big Girl started to read. It seemed like one day she was struggling to remember all of the letter sounds, and the next she was speeding through whole sentences. And she is insatiable. As a voracious reader myself, this makes me glow with pride.
Sometimes though, it is not so good.
Picture this. We were walking home from a friend’s party. Little Girl was busy massacring a party bag, and Big Girl was doing her usual thing. Talking at 100 miles an hour about crap.
“Look Mummy, that sign says Subway!”
“Yes it does honey, well done!” Proud.
“That sign says motorway!”
“It does indeed, you are very good at reading.” Proud.
“Oh, what does that say? ‘Sarah is a buh… ih… tuh…'”
“La la la la, let’s walk faster now, oh look a cloud, what’s your favourite superhero?”
With reading comes a growing awareness of how language works. And as with everything else in the world, children love to play with it.
They learn that most phrases are greatly enhanced by the use of a funny voice. They learn that toilet humour is, indeed, highly amusing. And, most of all, they learn that almost every word has a rhyming counterpart. And for the most part, it’s great.
But sometimes it doesn’t work, and the results are hilarious!
“I’m lookin’ at dis,” said Little Girl.
And what did Big Girl reply?
“I’m pucking at piss!”