Editors Note: this is another post written before the downfall of society, a pre COVID-19 reflection on life before toilet paper went extinct.
We’ve come to 20 months of parenting in 2020!!!
Let me tell ya… it’s not so difficult anymore. That is to say, having someone in your life that’s always there, every day, and is completely dependent on you for their survival with no regard for your personal space or when you’d like to sleep isn’t such a strange feeling any more. The most difficult aspect of parenting a little person around the 20 month mark is the completely bananas phenomena of human growth at this age. Every week, almost every day, it’s like my daughter is a new person!!! Each morning, and sometimes late late nights (like butt crack of dawn late/early) brings with it a new adventure filled with my daughter saying new words, stringing together phrases, learning to run faster, jump higher, associate people with places and things… steal stuff from daddy… like all the time.
I mean, she’s still eating paper and I have to constantly keep her “magic” Crayola markers out of her mouth. These things are great… they only color on special paper so there aren’t any stray marks on your walls or furniture, which honestly, is one of my biggest fears as a parent. The thing is, though, they say “magic”, but I say “chemical reaction”. I have trouble believing the “non-toxic” part of the label and am therefore forced to chase Emma around the house trying to keep these things from winding up like chew toys and ingesting this “magic” ink. Everyone knows magic has a price and I don’t want that price to be my daughter growing horns, a third eye, or a wonky hump on her back, thus forcing us to move someplace with a bell tower. I think later today I should taste one of these markers. It might be delicious, you never know.
I mean, when I was a kid they made markers smell like food. Then a month later a D.A.R.E. officer came to our class and told us not to sniff them or we’d end up on the streets living out of trash cans…So I have a huge distrust of the marker industry… trash can… bell tower.
The Godfather is a Mean Girl
I digress. Every day is a huge leap in development despite the gerbil-like habits. She’s essentially running the show (and physically running) everywhere we go, demanding attention, saying “hi” to strangers, and mad grubbing Costco samples like a pro. When she was born we knew she’d be sassy and by 18 months I suspected that she might grow up to be Rachel McAdams in Mean Girls, but the extent of her sass and diva-like nature at this age has far exceeded anything I could have imagined. I feel like my daughter has reached a Don Corleone type of mentality, where she’s well aware of her scope of influence and ability to make the “family” do what she wants.
Maybe it’s her Sicillian blood?
Am I saying my daughter is Mafia material? No, but her behavior is mafia-like. Let me explain.
Like the Godfather and Mean Girls (betcha didn’t think I was gonna make that parallel) it’s all about influence, power, and playing the people closest to you like pawns in a chess game. Keep in mind that my daughter is only 20 months old.
Running the Family Schedule
At home she runs shop like we’re indentured servants. At every given moment she has demands/needs and if you don’t appease these demands/needs you might get a tiny toy hurled across the room. Or a whole set of ice cream shop toys swept from the coffee table in the most dramatic table clearing you’ve ever seen. And God forbid there’s an ad on youtube that pops up between “Baby Shark” and “Wheels on the Bus” because when there is, she’s a veritable TED talk of half-formed words and gibberish about how commercials are just the man subliminally subverting the will of the populus via consumerism and divisive social media algorithms.
Like Don Corleone and Regina George, Emma likes things to be a certain way. I like to think it’s because we got her used to a schedule, like good parents, but I’m pretty sure she’s trained us to do her bidding. Here’s a typical day in our little mafia:
Wake up- “BABY SHARK”
Diaper time- runs away screaming “RUNNING” like she’s a Power Ranger and that’s her special move.
Meal time- pushes her chair to the table and climbs in her booster seat chanting “EMMA” and “EAT” long before the food is even prepared.
Daycare Pick-Up- We interrupt her outdoor play time where we’ve found her sitting at a tiny Playskool picnic table surrounded by other kids as if she gathered them for a meeting. It was very suspicious and gave me a shiver down my spine to see her orchestrating this arrangement of individuals who aren’t quite settled on “right and wrong” in regards to their behavior and how it fits in with polite society. When we called out to her she gave us an over the shoulder, side eye glance as if to say, “Not these fools again”. Leaving daycare is a struggle because “RUNNING!”
Play Time- “ASHES” which is Emma for “Ring Around the Rosie” which my sister taught her and now she wants to play it all the time. I’m too old to play a game where I spin around in a circle and too young to relate to a song about the plague. When we do fall down the dizziness has hit me like a ton of cross-eyed bricks and I’m down for the count. That is until Emma waddles on over, grabs me by my head like some pro wrestler picking her nearly defeated opponent up off the mat, saying “immy daddy”; “immy” meaning “get up”. Then we have to celebrate people dying from the plague all over again.
Nap time- Doesn’t happen willingly.
Bed Time- …this when you find out if you’re her favorite or if you’ve fallen out of her good graces for the week.
The Chosen One
THANK REGINA GEORGE, THIS WEEK I’M THE FAVORITE!
Being the favorite means that I’m the prefered parent to read to her before bed. I get to console her when she wakes up, because I’m the one she’s crying out for. It also means I’m the preferred diaper changer and tooth brusher.
Most importantly (for my fragile ego) it means that she doesn’t push me away crying “NO DADDY” from mommy’s arms.
This week I’m the chosen one.
The downside is that you’re the ONLY one who can do those things and Regina George forbid the outcast parent should try at all to undertake these simple parenting tasks because you will never see a more spectacularly dramatic sweeping away of an ice cream set from the coffee table to the sound of “EMMA!!! RUNNING!!!”. It’s very difficult to not have the “lesser” parent allowed to help.
Well, we knew she’d be sassy and I’d prefer that she be strong with a mind of her own. We’ll just have to raise her to use that power for good rather than evil, because Regina George forbid she should grow up, go into politics, and build a wall to keep out all those Canadians. I wouldn’t want to be known as the parent of the person who built a wall between the US and Canada… I’d be so ashamed.
Legit Parenting Advice
On a more serious note- If you have the latest android update (10) you probably have a feature called “Focus Mode”. It’s a feature designed to keep you from over using your mobile phone and help with phone addiction. It does so by disabling all the apps that aren’t critical like the phone and messaging. You can also set which apps you’d like to keep enabled, for example, I use my camera and photo app all the time, so I kept those enabled.
I’ve started using it solely because my daughter has started grabbing our phones and saying “Daddy Phone” and “Mommy Phone”. I know at this age she’s absorbing everything she sees and I don’t want her to grow up thinking that mom and dad always ignored her because they were nose down on their phones all the time.
Case in point, we were at the park the other day and all I saw were kids running around playing and parents staring at their phones. I don’t need to go into why that’s messed up, but I know I don’t want to be “that parent”.
So if you have Android 10 and are concerned that you might be one of “those parents” you can find it in the settings under “Digital Well Being and Parental Controls”.
As always, thanks for reading and Happy Parenting!