Human sacrifice, cats and dogs living together. Mass hysteria! - LIFE WITH A TODDLER
Okay, so maybe it's not that bad. However, life with three energetic kids (one of whom is a very verbal 19-month old girl) is sometimes quite challenging.
I have been spending more time around the house lately, since we have some family issues that I have addressed elsewhere on my blog. Maybe that last line is just a ploy to get you to go digging around my blog so that you will fall in love with my writing. Who knows?
At any rate, my time with my kids is usually a joy, but there are times that dealing with a tired, hungry toddler while trying to work (and blog) is kind of like being an air traffic controller trying to conduct duties in the middle of a Van Halen concert. In other words, you get spread a little thin and it's hard to concentrate on any one thing.
The other day, while my wife was out, I saw my toddler daughter Abby execute a PERFECT military-style belly crawl across our large kitchen table in quest of a simple pencil. If I ever see determination like that on the face of an agent, I will hire that person in a heartbeat. Abby's tongue was out and her brow down, with exceptional concentration. Unfortunately, my eight-year old son Brandon was just a little faster, and he snatched the pencil away from her (at my instruction, truth be known). I gave her some paper and another pencil and let her "draw" a little, while I sat with her in order to keep the pencil out of her eye or any other undesirable place. Any child with that level of focus deserves a reward, in my mind.
Another recent funny incident: I was blogging on my notebook computer upstairs, and I went downstairs for a minute or two to get something. Before I came back up, I asked Brandon, "Can you see Abby?" I just wanted to make sure she wasn't doing something she shoudn't be doing. He replied calmly, "Yes, I can see her. She is sitting in your chair playing with the computer and drinking soda." LOVELY. I forgot that I left my Diet Dr. Pepper sitting there, and when I came bounding back up the stairs, she was coated in a thin sheen of soda from her mouth to her diaper, and it was on the couch and floor as well. Thankfully, it wasn't on the computer. I have learned to count my blessings. Also, I have learned to pick my battles, but that is the subject of an entirely different post.
I don't know how it works in other homes, but in our house tiredness in a child translates quickly to naughty (or at least frowned-upon) behavior. For example, when Abby is tired, she is more likely to go play in the cats' water or (heaven forbid) EAT CAT FOOD. Yes, you heard me right. She will furtively grab a few pieces of dry cat food, shove them in her mouth, and run - fast! She seems to be outgrowing this one, but not quickly enough for my taste. I promise we feed our kids. They don't need to eat from the pet dishes. You will probably think that I am a terrible parent, but I actually made my wife take a few pictures of Abby while she was pretending to drink from the cats' water dish, because I was laughing too hard to do it myself. We have three cats, and I think she feels like they are kindred spirits. They are closest to her size, after all.
On a different note, one incredibly fun thing to do as a parent is to learn each child's unique "Toddler-ese". Here are a few current examples from Abby:
"Ree-bot!" or "Ree-bok!" - This one is typically uttered with a book in hand or perhaps one thrown directly at my crotch. It means "Read Book".
"Bussy tees" - This is a brand-new phrase, meaning "brushy teeth". She likes to have one of the extra kids' toothbrushes to chew on for awhile, at which point she demands, "Put up!" meaning it is time to put the toothbrush away. As soon as I put it away, she frowns, then yells, "Bussy tees" again. The cycle continues as long as my patience will allow.
"Moat" or "Malt" = "Milk"
"Tees-tee" - This phrase is heard anytime anyone drinks any liquid of any kind near my child ("thirsty"). She is not usually content to accept her own cup. She wants what YOU have, even if it is steaming hot coffee or a shot of vodka (kidding - that last part was for a cheap laugh). The point is she wants your cup of whatever. It actually reminds me a little bit of the drunk guy in the bar in old movies, "Give me what he's having!"
"Mit bo" = "meatball"
"Feces" = Goldfish crackers ("fishies"). I actually shared that one in another recent post, but it is simply too funny to not include it here again.
When my son was a toddler, he said one of the funniest phrases I have ever heard from my kids. My wife and I still repeat it to this day with each other, just because it is darn funny. I will do my best here to reproduce this phonetically so that you will understand.
He asked us both, "How many fwarebobfundpants doo have?"
We asked him to repeat it again.
"How many fwarebobfundpants doo have?" Wow, much better. Um, yeah. What the heck did you say, child?
It turned out he was saying "Squarebob Spongepants" instead of "Spongebob Squarepants". He wasn't really allowed to watch that show, and he was asking about it in the best way he could remember. I still don't know why he was asking how many of them we had. The answer, of course, was zero.
That actually reminds me of another funny story from when he was about three. His friend, Chandler, had been at our house one day, and after Chandler left, Brandon held up a toy and said, "Chandler gave me this broken airplane." Hmmm. Well, there were only three critical inconsistencies here:
- Chandler didn't give it to him. He accidentally left it.
- It wasn't broken.
- It wasn't an airplane. It was a helicopter. I guess it looked like a messed-up airplane to Brandon.
My wife and I have used this funny line repeatedly as a shorthand between us when someone says something utterly wrong in our presence. If I'm being honest, my wife and I have more "in jokes" than most people have regular conversation. Humor is critical to marital (and life) happiness, in my mind. I pity those without a sense of humor, truly.
I guess I made you look with the title above. Many thanks to Paul Slaybaugh for testing my ability to use this line from Bill Murray in "Ghostbusters" as a blog title. Thanks for reading it!
P.S. I will be interested to see how many people read the "P.S.". I have always heard that it is essential to any good sales letter, so why not here?
P.P.S. I thought of one more. My kids were recently discussing a video game, and my son said, "One of the options is Grand Prix." My ears perked up, not because I am a car fan, but because he said it phonetically (it will come to you). I was quick to correct that one. I don't want him saying that one in church, or anywhere for that matter!