Monday, December 08, 2008

Monkey Hear Monkey Say

If you think your 4 year-old doesn't hear and process everything you say, think again. Bambina has taken to wearing these pink glasses we bought for $4 at a Claire's every day. She now goes around telling people, "I just can't see without my glasses on!" I think she looks adorable in them, but at the same time they make her look a little tweenish for my liking. It's like, put on glasses, adopt mannerisms of 12 year-old trying to be a grown-up. "Shades" of times to come, I guess. I'm not ready.

Ever since she was a baby we've always used regular words with her. By which I mean I haven't said "mad" if I meant "furious." We've just said, "furious" and other larger words with the addendum, "that means really, really angry." We did it partly because I'm a spelling bee snob, and partly because I want her to have words for her emotions. I don't want her to only have "sad" or "mad" in her repertoire. I want her to have the words, "frustrated" or "worried" or "confused" even if she's not at an age when she can match up the feelings to the word yet. But I want her to have them so she has a sense that there IS a word-a specific word-for what she's feeling, if for no other reason than to know that someone else must have felt it for them to have invented a word for it. Anyhoo, I think the vocabulary synthesis of 4 years has now come to fruition. On Friday I was threatening to eat her if she continued doing what she was doing after me telling her to stop. (I've been reading a book called Playful Parenting [although containing some claptrap] that talks about how to use play as a way of defusing power struggles, of letting your kids work through fears and worries, and for simply getting closer to your kids emotionally. In short, meet them where they are, because they aren't developed enough to meet you where you are.) So I said, "I'm sorry but I'm going to have to come over there and eat you if you don't stop pulling that chair over your head." So I grabbed her and pretended to eat her while hugging/tickling her as she wrestled to get away. {ie, am I really going to make chair lifting the hill to die on, or can I stop the behavior without turning it into an opportunity for her to see a power struggle she can win?). As I was going "yum yum yum" she wrestled free and said, "Mama! Please don't tickle me! That is very distressing to me!" I gave her points for hating tickling (one of the worst inventions in human history that I can't believe I momentarily did to my kid) and for using such an awesome word.

Then, in discussing why she doesn't want a play date with a boy in her class: "He chews on his sleeve all day then puts the gooby wet part on people. That disgusting and inconsiderate."

When we were deciding what to eat for dinner, we agreed that I would eat the crusts and she would eat the bread: "Mama, that is delightful for me, because I don't like crusts!"

Then yesterday she wanted to give me a gumball. I didn't want one and so politely declined. Then she said, "But Mama. It's your favorite color, green. And it's a present because I want you to have a joyful week!" Well, since you put it that way...

Speaking of joyful, we have a garden Buddha now. Bambina has wanted one forever, so we finally put the ducats together to buy one when they went on sale. (You'll recall me made a "snow buddha" last winter) This Buddha makes her so happy I don't even know what to say. We talk about how we'll make a very pretty Buddha garden in the spring so people can sit near the Buddha and have a quiet minute if they want while looking at pretty flowers, so she is all about her Buddha garden at the moment. She has a little "welcome" sign near it and she brought out a rubber stepstool to use as a "bench" for people during the winter. Her next plans involve making a bench to sit on with her Pop (since she is taking Kiddie Woodworking next semester.) So cute and so sweet. What's even cooler is that she can express it: "Mama we are luckier than lots of other people; do you know why? Because we have a beautiful Buddha garden!"

Oh, and lest you think my kid is all Webster's dictionary and nothing else, she has also picked up my less-literary inclinations. When I said she could have ginger ale because she wasn't feeling well I was stunned to hear my voice come out of her mouth: She said, "Now THAT'S what I'm talkin' about! Yeah!"

Here are some pics of what we've been up to:
Hanging out at the gym

Our sign that it was time to leave Thanksgiving dinner and head home to bed:

First roller skates!


Utah Savage said...

I was feeling sickish and irritable. Now I still feel sickish, but much less irritable. Wish I had some ginger ale. She is the most adorable child I have ever seen. And now I must have a garden Buddha too. I have e envy. Wish you were my momma.

Aye, Me, Muggins said...

I sat on my lawn the other day and I was mistaken for a garden Buddha. Perhaps I should have had a shirt on?... The Bambina looks awesome and has her mother's quirky spunk!