Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Conversations with Abi

Abigail's stories are getting longer and longer.  Sometimes she tells them with a book in her hand, just as if she's reading, and sometimes she tells them at the dinner table as if it's conversation, but they generally all sound the same: an assortment of what she's heard during the day, including television, nursery rhyme and grown-up speak.  She's like a little tape recorder that turns itself on and off at random, and you never know when she will stop recording and hit play.  You also never know when she is recording, and she has an unnerving habit of doing an exact impression of me saying something like, "Goodness gracious me, look at all the mess in here!" six weeks after I actually said it, or coming out with words like 'watermelon' after hearing them once two months ago.

She scampers into my room in the morning, once Daddy can't restrain her any longer from disturbing my 'lie in' at 7:30am, pokes me in the eye and exclaims happily, "You wake upped!"  Then she clambers into bed and begins: "I'm Abi-gay-wuh.  Hello Abigaywuh, wouldjoo like to play with me, the lady said.  She play lots of toys, she say, and she want a cuddle up the stairs and down the slide and into the balls. I said atishoo atishoo I say, all flellover, in the balls, and we bounce on a trampoline and this is the way the baby say wah, wah, all day long, all fall OFF."

Good morning, Abi” I respond. What else can I say? I have absolutely no idea what she's talking about. It's tricky, because she could actually be relating something that happened yesterday at a playgroup while I wasn't there: in which case, this would be the first evidence that she has an awareness of sequence or narrative. It's entirely possible that she played with a lady in the ball pit, that she was helped up and down the slide and that they went on to sing nursery rhymes about falling down while bouncing on the trampoline and jumping into the ball pit. On the other hand, this lengthy speech could be a stream-of-consciousness style combination of nonsense and echolalia, and Abi might be just as clueless as I am about its meaning. I suspect that was true of this evening's offering, however much it sounded like a conversation:

Glory, glory, gloooory, God is there 'cause he is everywhere. Jesus is hungry he say.”
Jesus? He's hungry?”
Yes, Jesus want a cuddle and he eat a biscuit biscuit.”
Right. Jesus is eating a breakfast biscuit.”
God want a biscuit. The crocodile not want a biscuit biscuit.”
No, I don't expect crocodiles eat breakfast biscuits.”
There a spider coming.”
Is there? Do spiders eat biscuits?”

...and on, and on, and on. My replies are futile attempts to shed some light on what actually goes on inside her head, and to prevent myself from going completely crazy. As far as I can tell, the landscape of Abigail's mind looks like a sort of infantile painting by Salvador Dali, where all the eggs are Humpty Dumpty and everybody keeps giving each other cuddles.

No, wait. That's oddly familiar...

...I think I've just worked out why In the Night Garden is such a popular television show for toddlers...

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

The Potty Training One

Disclaimer: Ok.  I promise you, this will be the only time that I talk about potty training on my blog.  It's a subject that no non-parent really wants to read about.  It's a prerequisite of every parenting blog, though, isn't it?  And it was mildly amusing.  Well, it was if you were there at the time.

We're not really potty training yet.  It's taken several months to persuade Abigail to sit on the wretched thing - it used to scare her.  Perhaps she thought it was going to swallow her, bottom first.  Anyway, she now sits on it and counts to 10, before and after her bath.  This does marvels for her counting ability,but so far not much for actually using the potty.

A couple of nights ago, TheRev had the foresight to get her on the potty just as she was starting to, ah, bear down.  So for the first time, something actually went into the potty that wasn't a book, a teddy or a stolen piece of my jewellery.  As a result, I did a little dance and song and fed her chocolate.  Apparently this conventional first-potty-success ceremony was a mistake.  This evening:

Me: Abi, ready to sit on the potty?

Abi: (sitting down) Chocolate.

Me: Oh.  Um, no, that's for when you do a poo on the potty.  Not just for sitting.

Abi: Chocolate?

Me: (Realising that we've never actually discussed this with her) No sweetie, you have to do a poo, like before, remember?  That's why I gave...

Abi: *grunting noises* No poo.  Chocolate?

Me: (Abandoning all plans and principles) Or a wee?  I'll give you chocolate for a wee too.

Abi: I finished.  Chocolate?

Me: But there still isn't actually anything in the potty, darling.  Do you want your nappy back on?

Abi: No. Chocolate.

Me: (At this point I am mentally scrabbling through the kitchen cupboard to work out whether I have anything that even slightly resembles chocolate, and drawing a blank, because shopping day is tomorrow) have to do a poo first. Or a wee.

Abi: (sitting back down, sweetly) Go and find some chocolate to me, and I do a wee.

(She didn't)

Marvellous. Pretty much her first use of a conditional clause, and it's to bribe Mummy for chocolate.  What an excellent job I'm doing of this whole parenting thing.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

The Mummy Reports 4

My Mummy has now been my Mummy for eight and a something-I've-lost-count months.  It's time I updated my ratings of her performance as a Mummy.

Availability: 9/10
I've done it!  I can crawl!  I can chase Mummy!  Although now that I can go wherever I want to go, chasing Mummy suddenly seems less interesting to me.  Do you know what's just on the other side of Mummy and Daddy's bedroom door?  THE STAIRS!  Who knew those were right there?!  They look like a fun place to play.  Sadly, my attempts to get to them have been repeatedly thwarted by Mummy scooping me up and replacing me on the bedroom side of the door.  The same goes for all the dusty grey stuff in the fireplace, the pretty colourful beads that my sister dropped all over the floor, yesterday's breakfast underneath my highchair...Yes, in fact I think I would prefer Mummy to be somewhat less available at the moment...
Food: 5/10
Mummy continues to have no imagination when it comes to food.  She should let me do the cooking.

Physical Care: 3/10
Mummy, that nasty sticky cream does not stop my neck itching.  Please stop slathering it all over me and use magic instead.  Also, I have had cereal in my left eyebrow all morning, have you noticed?

Environment: 10/10
Just loving how my world is full of ledges, shelves, handles and other peoples' legs that I can pull myself to standing on and use to get around.  Every new surface that I attain has something different on it as a sort of prize, like this really fascinating pointy shiny poky thing...hey, give that back!

Entertainment Value: 10/10
Do you know how to play peepo?  You pull a towel over your head, and everything goes black and Mummy disappears.  Then you drop the towel, and Mummy's THERE AGAIN and she says hello!  Funniest thing EVER.