Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Hop on Pop

Caitlyn has a bit of a reputation for having the attention span of a marble (or maybe I just have the patience of a bad mom?). She also has a tendency to tune me out. Or it's probably more accurate to say she actively ignores me. I can say her name 15 times and get no response, but if I say the word "cookie" she's suddenly completely aware that she is being spoken to.

It made it hard to teach her things, but I was never particularly concerned. I spent a little time obsessing about it a few months before she turned one, but that was mostly because my niece, who is the same age, was so far advanced and so focused on absorbing absolutely everything around her, that it made me a little paranoid that Caitlyn was behind. She wasn't. Mostly I like to remind myself that every kid is different, and that my kid excels at physical things more so than a lot of kids her age because that is the kind of shit she wants to do, and when she wants to do something, she is absolutely capable of it.

Anyway, now that she has mastered the skills that are really important to her- you know, things like hanging on monkey bars and climbing rock walls at the playground and jumping off the coffee table and doing the Fresh Beat Band dances- she is much more inclined to sit still and pay attention when I'm trying to teach her something. Not that I need to teach her much. My babysitter is like the asshole-toddler whisperer and is fantastic at engaging her in ways I would never even think of. Still, I like to occasionally, you know, teach her shit.

Caitlyn has never had the patience for books. Where as my niece and nephew could quietly sit while being read to (even if not for a whole book- at least a few pages!) at a year or 18 months, Caitlyn decided at an early age that the purpose of books was to cut her teeth on the bindings. And you sort of expect that at a certain age. You expect that, at a year or so old, they may find a book on the floor or in their toy box and their immediate response is to put it in their mouth. I'm not even talking about that. I'm talking about every binding of every book she owns (and our babysitter owns!) being ripped out with her teeth. I'm talking about finding her chewing on cardboard at least once a day. I'm talking about hiding books from her because I knew she would only destroy them.

Finally, though, Caitlyn is interested in the story. She will bring me a book and ask me to read it to her. Whenever I tried to read a book to her in the past, it was met with screeching, squirming and ripping. It's so nice to be able to tell her the story inside the book. I love reading Dr. Seuss to her. I love that she follows along and throws out lines from the book when I prompt her. I love that, when I turn a page, she inevitably turns it back so she can enjoy her favorites parts of the story just a little longer.

Caitlyn's go-to bedtime story right now is Hop on Pop. Reading it with her is awesome and hilarious, because she ad-libs throughout the book. There's an orange dog that is on a lot of pages. He isn't necessarily part of the story on that page, but he's there. Absolutely every time she sees him, she points to him and says "ornage puppy" (and no, that wasn't a typo. She calls it ornage). It doesn't matter what else is happening on that page, she loves that damn ornage puppy. When we get to the page where Mr. Brown and Mr. Black are having a snack, she tells me they are eating sandwiches and drinking milk. She counts the apples and bananas. When we get to the actual "hop on pop" page, she notes that "Daddy is mad", because the pop looks pretty pissed at those two kids jumping on him (I'd venture a guess here and say they fucked his back up. I'm fairly sure of this because my own dad blames me for his back problems. From that time I jumped on his back. When I was 5).

My favorite part though, is the "father, mother, sister, brother" page. That is on the left page. On the right page shows another boy, a baby, with the words "that one is my other brother". For some reason, Caitlyn hates the other brother. She covers him up with her hand and tells me "I don't like another brother" and "no baby!". He's on the following page too, and she covers him then too. I asked her why she doesn't like the baby and she simply tells me "I like THIS one" and points to the other little boy. It's so arbitrary and hilarious. It makes me giggle every night. It also makes me feel a little less guilty about this whole I probably won't be able to give her a sibling thing.

Just in general, I'm finding Caitlyn is more structured and receptive to discipline, too. I think a big part of it is that we are falling into our own routines and not having anyone (coughherdumbdadcough) throw a monkey wrench into it by wanting to do things another way.

Also, seriously, she is fucking hilarious. Her comic timing is genius. Last night, she asked me to put something on TV for her. When I didn't immediately respond, she looked at me, completely straight-faced and said "come on, son". I was sure I misheard her, so I asked her what she had said and she said it again. She also cheerily told me that she had poop in her 'gina last night.

This kid. She is too much.