Incredulous Tip # 21 : Toddlers are strange little creatures. Come to terms.

It’s nearly time to order Bubbalooshki Bear’s second pair of shoes. I look at his wee first shoes and nearly weep at the thought. Can you dip tiny Saucony sneaks in gold? Do people still do that? I don’t think bronzed size 5’s would look that bad perched upon our bookshelf for display, do you?

Here’s what I have learned and what has been happening in Toddle Earth (Get it? It’s like “Middle Earth” only for toddlers) over the past several weeks…

Do you remember that oldie from the 50’s or 60’s by The Crystals “Then He Kissed Me”? It’s a lovely song. I hear it in my head every time I think of what transpired a few weeks ago. It goes something like: I felt so happy, I almost cried. And then he kissed meeee.

My version:

And then he bit meeee.

At our 15 month check-up, the doc warned me that tantrums, including hitting, back-arching, biting, and kicking would be ways for Will to really hurt mommy’s feelings sort out his feelings. He can’t really communicate what he wants; meanwhile, he’s exerting his independence and trying to become a little person. Apparently, trying to become a person when your lexicon is limited to seven words is enough to really piss a [little] guy off.

I had been letting B-Bear play with my phone for awhile. He can’t really do any harm with it (or so I thought, but we’ll get to that) and he likes to hold it up to his face and “talk”. I often wonder who he is talking to. Perhaps it’s the invisible man in the corner (also, more to come on that). Anyways, I saw that somehow he was about to change the language on my phone to Arabic, so I made to grab the phone from him and…he ran.

As you might imagine, his tiny legs have nothing on me, so I caught up in one stride and grabbed the phone and – here’s where you can sing along – and then he bit me. That silly bloke bit me! Bit the hand that feeds him, strokes his golden head, wipes his boogies – not to mention his poopies – then proceeded to collapse in a heap on the dining room floor.

Having read the doc-provided pamphlet on “time-out” from cover to cover already, I sprang into action by firmly grabbing the phone, turning him to me and looking him in the eye, then:

“NO. Biting hurts people. You don’t bite people. It hurts.”

[Dramatic pause]

“WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! Whaaaaaaaah aaaah  aaaaaah!”

I proceeded to sit him in the time-out-that-I’d-just-made-up-on-the-fly-because-I-never-thought-he’d-bite-me-in-a-million-years corner and told him he must stay there until I said he could get up. Consider for a moment that he has no clue what I’m saying. In addition, his legs have this weird disease where it’s like, I dunno, they NEVER STOP MOVING. Now you can somewhat appreciate how our first “time-out” session went. I had to hold him there (as the pamphlet suggested) and only made him stay for about 15 seconds since, in toddler time, that’s about four hours or so.

We’ve only had to use “the corner” one other time when he thought it was funny to smack us in the face and wouldn’t stop when we informed him that smacking people in the face is, in fact, not funny (while trying not to let him see us laugh, of course).

I have no idea if time-out is the right thing to do, if it really works, or if I’m wasting my time, but we’re going with it. There is actually a pretty good case out there for the worthlessness of time-out as a disciplinary method, but I say poo poo. Mainly because I don’t plan on having to use it all that often, if ever again. Ever. Right?

“911 – What is your emergency?”

What? Oh, GOD! Bubbalooshki give mommy the phone! Oh God. Hello? Yes, hello? I’m SO SORRY my son dialed the phone I’m so sorry I didn’t know oh Jesus I’m so sorry!”

“Ma’am is there an emergency?”

“NO! NO! NO EMERGENCY HERE! I am SO SO-RRY!”

“Okay ma’am.”

[Busting into the bedroom where Nick is sleeping peacefully]

“WELL! HE JUST DIALED FUCKING 911! … SHIT!”

And now you know.

“He needs to eat healthier.”

I said one day to Nick, realizing that the absence of veggies in our own diets was hammering the same nail into the coffin of our precious son’s nutrition.

“Hey Nick, pick up some veggies and stuff at the store for Bubbalooshki, would ya?”

“Yeah, okay.”

[An hour later]

“What the hell is this? I don’t even know– UGH! You got canned spinach too? What the hell, Nick? Who eats this shit?” I say as I look upon a large can of something called “4 Bean Salad” and the spinach with as much revulsion as I can muster. I mean, who’s ever heard of a wax bean? What the hell is a wax bean? Is it a bean made of wax? Why are kidney beans in there? Does anyone eat those outside of a chili pot?

About a month later, I tried to put the spinach in with some chicken and rice, hoping to mask flavor of the mushy, jaundiced goo that is canned spinach. I took a taste…and dumped it into the garbage. Sorry. It was gross. This is coming from a girl ready and willing to eat couch-crumb num-nums after weeks of abandonment. I don’t discard food lightly.

The bean salad made its way toward the dark corners of our pantry… until last week. Like Ollie coming off the bench in “Hoosiers”, I needed a food staple to fill in when our go-to groceries were running low. I cranked open the can and tossed them underhand-style onto Bear’s plate in slow motion.

I gave him a kidney bean and…

Swish!

The kid ate all the kidney beans and a few of the wax beans and green beans. I took a taste… Zing! Bean salad is tangy and de-lish (and loaded with sodium)! Or my expectations (based on the appealing, generic-looking bean photography) were so low that it was impossible for them to disappoint. Also, I have a thing for pickled foods. Who knew? Still. I’ll likely never buy it again.

Goosebumps.

There have been a few occasions when Bubbalooshki Bear has stared at a vacant chair in the corner of our office and smiled or giggled. I’m not gonna lie here folks…it freaks the shit out of me. Our house was built in 1915. I have no idea who the hell it is and I hate ghost-y stuff. Hate. It.

A few months ago, B-Bear learned how to blow kisses. I should warn – when a baby or toddler learns to do a “trick”, be prepared for the parent(s) to demand impromptu performances of the maneuver as you feign interest politely while kicking yourself for not making a hasty exit ten minutes ago. Guilty as charged. (“No wait! He’ll do it, just watch – C’mon bow gammy a kissy! Bowa kiss!”)

So it should have been to my delight that Bubbalooshki began laughing and blowing kisses to an empty corner of the dining room the other day. Apparently he had a spectral captive audience.

I knew there was a reason I kept that fool’s-gold-plated cross that came free in one of those bulk-mail prayer request packets. Alas, our ghosts must be friendly. [Knock on wood] We haven’t had any large pictures come crashing down or heard doors slamming in the night.

Translation.

One of the coolest things is hearing your kid speak a word for the first time. The life-cycle of toddler word utterance goes something like:

Shock > Confusion > Confirmation > Pride > Desperation > Satisfaction

If you’re confused here’s an example:

You reach for the Ritz, toddler slung on hip as you fiddle with the box-top.

“Gkuh gkuh?”

“Yes, sweetie — WAIT! WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY? HONEY! GET IN HERE! HE JUST SAID ‘CRACKER!!!'” (Shock)

Spouse arrives short of breath, “Really? Are you sure?”

“Yes! He said gkuh gkuh!”

“Wait, like ‘guh guh’?” (Confusion)

“NO! Like gkuh gkuh – kuh-kuh-Cra-k-k-er!”

“Okay, buddy, c’mon…what are these?”

“Oh, darn it. He’s not gonna say it now. Here – shake the box like this…No, try holding the cracker next to your mouth like you’re gonna eat it…” (Desperation)

“Gkuh-gkuh. Gkuh-gkuh…”

Both parents together, “Ha ha!!! He just said ‘cracker’! I can’t believe it!” (Confirmation)

Sigh. “He’s just getting so smart, isn’t he?” (Satisfaction)

Here is the full line of words (along with their translations) B-Bear has learned so far (not including the obvious Mama/Dadda stuff):

Gkuh-gkuh……………..Cracker

Gkuh-gkuh …………….Cookie

Buh or bah………………Ball

Bah-buh………………….Usually a grouping of balls or one really big ball

Bah-buh………………….Apple

Nah-nah………………….Banana

Naaigh-Nigh……………Night-night

Duh. Duuh. Duuuh……One. Two. Three.

Gaah-guh……………….All done

I swear he said “strawberry” once. There were no witnesses. No one believes me.

Hurry! Get it! It’s hanging right there!

Toddlers get the biggest boogies in their noses. They don’t let you get them out. You will plot. You will scheme. You will try to sneak in there by stealth, then by force. But they won’t let you. If you have a heavy sleeper, I’ve heard you can tweeze them sumbitches out. We don’t have a heavy sleeper.

In other news, did you hear that water-boarding has been replaced by booger-boarding? Prisoners are forced to see the boogies – always see the boogies – but know they are never within reach – that they can never get them out. But they’re right there. Just right there. It drives them mad.

Let’s pretend.

The other night Bubbalooshki kept taking sips of a pretend drink from an old spice bottle I’d let him have. He kept tipping it back, then started acting goofy, spinning around, giggling…

“Are you drunk?”

He took another “sip” and slammed the bottle down and spun some more.

When B-Bear is not pretend-drunk, he likes to take blankets and tuck in his plush friends while singing “Naaigh-nigh, naaih,nigh.”

He also sips pretend-beverages from just about any small object. I’ve only seen him “drunk” the one time though.

And there you have it, folks. Having a toddler is so cool. So interesting. So exhausting. So fun. So weird. But, ultimately, very lovely indeed. Bubbalooshki Bear is just one cool little odd-ball – and we love him so.

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