Don't You Have Another Kid Too?

Yes, poor Delphine hasn't been getting much screen time here, we're too busy with the baby and books and unsolicited advice. But she's still here, very much so.

Delphine is... funny. Delphine likes to pretend. When she pretends to do something, like open a pretend suitcase or put on a pretend boot, she makes a "shhhick" noise, her own all-purpose sound effect. (She learned that from her Daddy, the master of sound effects.)

The other day Delphine and Daddy were going to the pretend beach, and Daddy had to put on a pretend wetsuit, so Delphine helped. She pulled it up over his legs and arms and zipped the pretend zip up the front. Then Daddy had to put on a pretend sunhat; Delphine patted it around his head as if she were encasing him in playdough, and then, with a flourish, tied it under his chin with a huge, pretend bow. It was at that point that I bust a gut laughing; Delphine didn't see the humour, and so left the room. Blake asked "Where are you going?"

"To the swimming pool."

"Should I swim to the pool with you?"


So Blake did the worm out of the room, oscillating along the floor. I think I actually died from laughing and I'm typing this from the afterlife. Kids are funny, and if your husband happens to be funny too, you've hit the jackpot. (Even if no-one else thinks he's funny, it still counts.)

Delphine's into fairy tales. She likes "Goldilocks", "The Three Little Pigs", "Little Red Riding Hood", "Henny Penny" and "The Three Billy Goats Gruff". Reading fairy tales to her has made me realize how common fairy tale references are; they're everywhere. I am so pleased and excited to be introducing her to this piece of our culture. This is why I became a mother: I get such pleasure from reading, from knowing about things, from recognizing things in unexpected places, from putting ideas together, from intellectual life in general, and I am so keen to share that with my children. I guess this is why athletic types like to take their kids out to play ball and stuff, and why it's so purturbing to have a child who doesn't share your way of thinking.

We've also started reading Dennis Lee poems, and she has a few of them memorized. "Mumbo, Jumbo, Christopher Columbo, sitting on the sidewalk chewing bubble gumbo; I think I catch a WHALE; I think I'll catch a snail; I think I'll sit around a while, chewing bubble gumbo." It's nice to have these things in your head so you have something to say to yourself while you're, you know, in the shower or walking around. She has an uncanny recall for text and poems; yesterday I caught her reciting entire paragraphs of "Henny Penny" to herself. I don't know if that's unusual or just part of the incredible learning machine that is a little kid's brain.

But I'm glad to be filling it with these things; what do kids who aren't read to talk about to themselves?

She's about, oh, eighty percent potty trained. How did we do it? I don't really know. We read lots of books about it, and talked about it a lot, and worried about it a lot, but we didn't reward her or coax her (much). In the end she has almost potty trained herself, just like the books said she would.

She still chooses to wear pull-ups some days, but she always poops in the toilet, and when she pees in her diaper it's because she has decided to do so. How do I know? Because she tells me about it. "Do we pee in diapers?" "Yeah, you can pee in your diaper. Do you want to go pee in the toilet?" "No, I will pee in my diaper." Waits... "I need a new diaper." Fortunately she can change her own diaper now. Hooray for pull-ups!

Incidentally, according to that history of childcare book I read, apparently the potty training of Louis the somethingth of France started when he was eighteen months, and ended when he was around three, so this timetable for toileting isn't some product of our degenerate times and diaper companies; it's just when the brain is ready. (Although I still think you can train, in the Pavlovian sense, your baby or young toddler to go in the potty if you work on it.)

What else? She dresses herself, although not usually as promptly as I would like her to. She loves to wear her yellow rain jacket and gets very angry when she has to wear her snowsuit instead. She eats, but not very much, and I am afraid I don't make fruit and vegetables enough of a priority. When you only eat (apparently) half a cup of food a day, it's easy to fill yourself up with meat and bread. I am trying harder.

This weekend we had our first bona fide scary toddler-running-into-traffic moment (and hopefully our last). There wasn't really any traffic, it was a little tiny street next to a park and there weren't any cars on it, but it was still very bad and there was angriness and a stern talking to. What happened was that she was wandering around the park with a friend, and neither she nor her friend were responding to me or the friend's mother calling their names. They got a little too far away from us and too close to the street, and just wandered out between the parked cars.

I'm not sure whether, at this age, I should expect her to respond to verbal commands (and I have just failed to instill that in her), or whether she's still young enough that I need to stay close and keep control over her physically. Either way, I will definitely stay closer to her from now on, in potentially alarming situations like that.