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Cheerios from Naomi

Cheerios from Naomi

 
Parenting/Development
Can't They Just Be Friends? Print E-mail
Tuesday, 19 August 2008

I was chatting with a friend of mine yesterday, discussing her daughter’s impending start at preschool. The mom is a bit nervous and already sad at the thought of missing her daughter, and thinking to comfort her with how much fun her daughter will have, I said, “Well, just think – your daughter may well be in Maxum’s class and they can play together!” Maxum is one of the boys in our playgroup, and definitely at the top of Maddie’s friend list here in Dallas.

The other mom shrugged. “I don’t know – we played at the park the other day and my daughter and her friend all ran from Maxum as much as they could – oh no, a boy! Run away!” I laughed and said, “That’s definitely not Maddie!” The other mom said, “Oh, I know. Maddie’s always saying, ‘I want to sit next to Maxum!’ I swear, Jennifer, I’ve never seen a toddler with such a crush on a boy as your Maddie on Maxum.”


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Walking Tower of Babble Print E-mail
Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Cora’s almost fifteen months now, and about six weeks ago I was watching a video of Maddie at fifteen months and noting how verbal Maddie was; she had a few words down cold, and would carry on entire conversations with people using words only she understood. A far cry from the infantile babbling you hear in babies, this was a full-blown language and attempt to communicate. And while I was watching this fifteen-month-old Maddie earnestly discoursing on the phone with a grandparent, I kept thinking that Cora was so far away from that and would never be at that point by fifteen months.

Boy, was I wrong.


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Breathtakingly Bold Disobedience Print E-mail
Thursday, 31 July 2008

Our whole discipline thing with Maddie is built around the ideas of obedience, choice and consequences. If Maddie chooses to obey, the consequences are pretty wonderful; if not, the consequences can be hard to take. We’ve been following this for over a year now and she’s got a very clear understanding of it, showing she clearly grasps what’s going on when situations come up.


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"Mama, Mama, Mama!" Print E-mail
Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Cora’s got a half-dozen or so “words” going on now – Mama, Dada, ‘Amma (Gamma), Mah-Mah (Maddie), bye-bye, ball. Or should I say, she’s got a half-dozen or so words we can understand, since Cora’s actual vocabulary count seems to run in the hundreds: that girl can take a breath and talk nonstop for sixty seconds, pointing and gesturing the whole time, before running out of steam. I’ve learned to jump into the conversation quickly during a breath pause, lest it become a monologue instead of a two-person scene.

And my job, by the way, in these conversations, is simply to guess what she’s trying to say and repeat it so she can confirm or deny the rumors of her intentions. “A gabba gabba goo goo durah mah!” she’ll say. “You want to go outside and play?” I’ll guess. “Deh!” she’ll confirm, saying yes.


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Girl Most In Need Of A Visit From Stuart Smalley Print E-mail
Tuesday, 01 July 2008

Madeleine’s always had a fair amount of self-confidence – it’s one of the things I love most about her. I adore watching back video of her leaping and spinning around the room at 2 ½ years old, yelling, “I’m a very good dancer!” Or how about when Maddie went bowling for the first time ever, and shouted over and over, “I’m a champion bowler!” Getting to glimpse what it feels like to be an uncensored kid, gloriously alive and noncritical, is one of the great benefits of motherhood.

Over the past few weeks, though, Maddie’s taken an abrupt turn into negativity and self-doubt. We’ll put on ballet music and dance around for a few minutes until Maddie stops, watches me speculatively, and says, “I can’t dance. I’m not a very good dancer. I can’t do it. It doesn’t look pretty.” “Oh, sweetheart,” I’ll say, “you’re a beautiful dancer!” “No!” she’ll cry in frustration. “I can’t move like you do! I don’t know how to make myself do it! I’m bad!” I’ll go on to explain that Mommy spent several years learning how to dance like that, and that there’s no right way to move your body joyfully. Sometimes she’ll get back up, but more often than not the spell is broken and the tutu comes off.


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