Ways My Two-Year Old Daughter Amazes Me

I was about to attach a number to the title of this post, but I figured why limit myself?

  • She can recite her ABC’s from A to Z (usually starting from the middle), says “YAY!” upon finishing the same way daddy does it, and rolls right into 1-20.
  • Avi learned how to move the swing back and forth by shifting her weight, all by herself.
  • Avi’s figured out how to operate the TV remote. And calls out the numbers when she punches the channel in. Couch potato in the making?
  • How a 2-year old can have enough energy to wear out two 30-year old adults AND a 7-year old is beyond me.
  • Ditto for going up and down the stairs for nearly half an hour without pause. And then proceeding to run around the living room for the rest of the hour.
  • Eating Cheerios like there’s no tomorrow. Or no “later”, either.
  • The only toddler I know that actually likes nori (Japanese sushi seaweed).
  • Her ability to memorize her favorite songs on Youtube.
  • And the way she grabs whoever is nearby when the video calls for a dance partner.
  • She memorizes the layout of any park she’s been to (and likes). Especially the location of the swings.
  • Avi actually coaches her grandmother on how to navigate Starfall.
  • The iPad. Oh, the iPad.
  • She sorts her Lego bricks by size and color.
  • She can kick a ball with better accuracy than her dad…
  • … but throws the same ball so badly it winds up BEHIND her.

And yes, I am aware that some toddlers will have developed faster or Avi may be behind on some of her milestones, but let me politely respond with, “I don’t give a crap. She’s cute and awesome and that’s all that matters.”

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My Daughter is a StairMaster

Photo by Posh Living, LLC on Flickr

 

It’s practically a parenting requirement that you rock your toddler back to sleep when she has a nightmare in the middle of the night. Each toddler has their little “quirks”–tiny little preferences that soothe them and help ease them back into peaceful slumber. Some need a bottle. Others need a song. Mine?

Mine likes stairs.

As in really likes stairs. Get her within visual distance of a flight of stairs, and it’s like a candy store just jumped up in front of her. She’ll gladly (and tirelessly) run up and down it (with parent in tow, of course) for half an hour if need be, and woe to the unlucky adult who has to separate her from it.

“But wait,” you ask. “Do you mean to say you make her climb the stairs at 3 am in the morning to tire her out?”

No! No no no no no no NO no no NOOO! Of COURSE she doesn’t climb the stairs in the middle of the night.

That would be ME.

I don’t know what it is about the jerky motion of ascending and descending those steps, but it calms her down. And she doesn’t let me off easy, either. If I dare stop and rest, or step back into the hallway to a flat surface, she tells me (in the way of vocal toddlers), “I’m sorry daddy, but I would still like a little more time on the stairs. You can rest later, when I’m 5 years old. Please daddy? With sugar and maple syrup on top?”

Translation: WHAAAAAAAAAAH

To which I reply, “Yes, dear. I would absolutely love to take you another round. It’s only been 10 minutes, and daddy doesn’t really need to be entirely sane when he goes to work tomorrow. Golly gee, I don’t mind my legs turning to jelly at all.”

Translation: Sigh.

My daughter needs an infomercial.

 

Social Promotion and the Death of Education

High School Daze

Good luck guessing which one is me.

For those unfamiliar with the term, social promotion is an educational practice where a student is advanced on to the next grade level whether or not their performance deserves it, in order to keep them with their peers. The theory behind this is that holding them back to repeat the year might cause undue mental anguish and scar their emotions and self-esteem for life.

My response: SO THE EFF WHAT.

I’m old enough to appreciate the value of a child’s (especially MY child’s) education, and young enough to clearly remember what school was like in my day (answer: difficult but fun). And let me tell you: social promotion is a crock of BS.

If your kid is doing badly in school, and you let your teachers advance her a year just so she can be with her friends or to spare her some grief, then you fail as a parent. Consider the following points:

1)      You’re doing your child a disservice. You’re teaching her that it’s okay to be lazy, that it’s all right to have low standards, and that you can advance through life by failing.

2)      The kid is going to hate being left back. Let’s get that clear. It will cause her emotional distress. It will seem like her world is coming to an end, all because she won’t be able to advance a year level. But (and here’s the key point) she’ll get over it.

3)      Putting her in another year level is not going to crimp her social life. She’s going to see her friends outside school anyway. If anything, she might make even more friends. Hopefully the right ones, this time.

Social promotion seems to be pretty widespread in North American schools, but from what I hear it seems to be creeping into Philippine schools as well (including my alma mater, much to my disappointment).

So here’s my request to you. If you’re a parent, make it clear to your school board that you won’t support that kind of policy in schools. Tell your kid’s teacher. Tell their principal. If the child is struggling in school, don’t ask for an easier test. Help your child study for it. And above all, don’t take flak from your kids. If they plead, cry, beg, wail, complain, bitch, comment, or express dissatisfaction at the fact that school is hard, take them aside, wrap them in a comforting hug, put on a sweet, parental smile, and tell them:

“Deal with it.”

Parenthood and Power Tools

My father was (and is) a very “handy” person to have around the house. Despite being a high-ranking white-collar professional, he was never afraid to get his hands dirty whenever something needed fixing. He did it so well, in fact, that my siblings and I came to rely on him whenever something needed done. As you can imagine, this led to us being rather dependent on his skills, which stunted our (my) growth in that area.

Yes dad, it’s your fault I can’t fix the sink.

(Just kidding).

All kidding aside, my dad (and many others of his generation, I’ve noticed) has a solid understanding of the basic trades. And I’m not talking about assembling IKEA furniture, either. This is a man who, in the two weeks he’s stayed at my house, has repaired an electrical fixture, did a high-wire balancing act to change a twenty-foot-high light bulb, fixed the bathroom plumbing, and is about to replace two very runny valves on my hot water tank.

I find myself rather jealous.

Don’t get me wrong. I know my way around a toolbox (hammer is used to hit things). I can fix minor problems. But in terms of skill, it’s like comparing a little league pitcher to Bo Jackson. It’s not just the know-how: I’m mechanically inclined enough that I could figure things out given enough time (and with a little bit of help from Google). But my dad is also fully confident in his skills, his ability to assess what needs to be done, what he can do, and what he has to farm out.

As for me? Farming out is the default option. There’s just too high a chance that I’ll screw it up and make things worse. This sucks on so many levels. I should’ve paid more attention growing up.

I know that fatherhood is more than being able to change a light bulb or build a  three-piece dining room set in your garage workshop. But right now? When there’s a huge repair bill staring me in the face? Damn if it isn’t making me think.

This is definitely not me.

Speaking her mind

Avi, that’s who!

Avi just recently hit 19 months, and I’m happy to say her vocabulary is filling up. It’s mostly nonsense words and a smattering of garbled English and Chinese, but hey, whatever works, right? If her parents can understand her, then she can get what she wants. She gets what she wants, her parents don’t have to deal with a tantrum. It’s a win-win situation!

Here are a few of the more notable words in Avi’s vocabulary:

Nyam nyam – What could it be, you ask? Munchies! Vittles! Food!

Eme – A word Flossie and I love to hear. Avi-speak for milk. When she asks for this, it means she’s ready to go to bed.

Ap-to – Avi-speak for avocado. She looooves avocado. Except when she doesn’t.

UP! – Said when she wants to be carried. When she says that, you listen.

Dooooown – Said when she’s sick of being carried. Usually said two seconds after “UP!”

QuoiChinese for “open”. Usually said when she wants to be let out of the room and into the rest of the house. Followed closely by parents running around scrambling to catch up to Avi.

Ama – Avi’s word for “mommy”

Mama – Avi’s word for “daddy”

Crying at the top of her lungs -Avi’s word for “stranger”

Avi, Vidi, Vici

When Flossy and Avi decide to go out, do they go to the park? No, not in MY family! There are MUCH more fun places than that!

Avi at Chapters

A place you could get lost in.

This branch of Chapters is somewhat distant from our house, but it’s one of the nicest. You’ll see proof in a minute. In the meantime:

Now where's The Hunger Games at?

Oh, she had fun roaming the store all right. Flossy let Avi take the lead, and the little bookworm was navigating it like one of those garden hedge mazes. All that walking was making Avi (and Flossy) tired, so they decided to have a little diversion.

Hey, he's kinda cute...

They toyed around with the store’s Photo Studio. I suspect Avi was trying to find a way to print out pictures of cute boys and slap them on mugs. Flossy said no.

Her plans foiled, Avi went back to inspecting the premises.

Baby in the bookstore

Daddy, can I live here?

You know, I think she was having just as much fun peering around corners as she did outrunning Flossy. But then, Flossy wasn’t really trying to keep up.

Do babies need self-help books?

Avi would occasionally stop and window shop, of course. But all of her exploring was rewarded when she reached her mecca.

Aslan welcomes you, Avi.

Aaaaand Avi totally geeked out. And with good reason: apparently this branch had an award-winning kiddie section. Ya think?

*Sniff* (Wipes tear). I’m so proud. A return trip is definitely in order. Hopefully with daddy in tow as well.

Hiatus Highlights Ep 1: Avi

Remember last post when I said a lot happened? Well don’t worry, I wasn’t going to leave you hanging. This here is a 3-part recap of the stuff that’s been going on since last I posted. And I’m starting with Avi’s update because I know she’s what you’re really here for. 😉 Don’t worry, it’s the same for me too.

So without further ado.

Things that are new:
–Now brushes her teeth willingly. Maybe it’s because her parents keep cheering like mad with every stroke.
–Her new favorite food is Flossie’s blueberry and banana muffin. She can’t get enough of it, and neither can the rest of the fam.
–All of her pants are now capris. Talk about growing into style.
–We can afford to let her run around a “safe zone” without worrying she’ll tip over and hurt herself. Now if only we could expand that zone to the entire house…

Things that stayed the same:
–still talkative
–still afraid of strangers (grandparents be warned)
–still hyperactive
–still hates her high chair/car seat
–still cute (just more so)