Friday, September 5, 2014

Mini-Me, Who Is NOT a Bear

One of the coolest things I get to experience as the mom to the coolest kindergartener ever is watching her develop into her own little person. And recognizing flashes and blips of myself, her dad, and other relatives as she incorporates nuances and speech patterns in her journey to figure out who she's going to become.

It's like the greatest show ever, and I am front and center. Blows my mind.

When we were in the hospital after Monkey's birth (when I went into septic shock post-C-section, and bought myself a week's stay), I loved watching her in the bassinet, just...being. I just looked at her. And NO, it was not just the drugs. It was...HER. 

MDD and I called it "Baby TV." Once we got home, we had her bassinet in our room initially. I could watch her from our bed and reach her in an instant. When she moved into her crib in her room I cried a little would use the video baby monitor to watch her sleep.

She looks like me, but also, not. She looks like my brother, who died five years ago, but also, not. Sometimes, when she laughs REALLY hard, she looks JUST like my dad, with long hair. The twinkle in her eye when she's creating something looks just like my mom, but also, not, because Monkey has my hazel eyes instead of her namesake's baby blues.

MDD has beautiful blue eyes that neither of his daughters inherited. But they both got his cleft chin and big giant cranium. Monkey has a chiseled jawline that is all Daddy, too.

She has my hands, and her dad's feet. Which constantly makes me giggle because his feet plus purple sparkly toenail polish just cracks. Me. Right. Up.

As we get into the swing of "real" school for the year, we went to the school's curriculum night last night. The teachers spoke about what the kids will be learning this year. MDD and I kept looking at each other, sort of grinning. Monkey already knows nearly half of this stuff already. We're told the school is good at intervening and teaching to the individual student's ability level, so we shall see how that comes to fruition. I hope it does, so she doesn't get bored about school.

One of the ways Monkey is MOST like me is her speech patterns. During the year I spent at home with her, I spoke to her constantly, and even before she could really TALK-talk, she responded in her own way. I prattled on all day about what I was doing, what she was doing, asking questions, pointing out stuff our Sesame Street pals were up to... Having never finished reading all those "What to Expect" books (my bad), I didn't know at the time I was doing something highly recommended to encourage talking.

It's called "sportscasting," and is apparently a very good way to encourage infants to talk. They can understand more than they can form and reply, so it establishes a word link to the events and actions going on around them. Responding conversationally to your baby's babbling encourages turn-taking in speech patterns and the feeling of being recognized and validating the child's perspective.

Or, some crap like that. I don't know.

I wasn't actually TRYING to do any of that...I was just conversing with the only other person I spent 85% of my time with, and so we "talked" together, which led to ACTUALLY talking together.

She spoke her first word at eight months old (DADA). "MAMA" came the next month. Her big sister's name (which has three syllables, impressive for a baby to manage) came a month later. And then, the floodgates opened. Monkey was in full sentences before she was a year old, and paragraphs by the age of two.

And now, she talks, all the time...

And she does so JUST. LIKE. ME.

It's very weird, as a sarcastic and quippy kinda gal, to hear those same speech patterns rambled back at you from someone who can't even tie her own shoes.

But, just like her physical appearance, her method of speaking is me...but also, not. Monkey's got her own way of doing things.

Case in point:

The other night, we were playing the game "Headbandz" after dinner. If you're not familiar, it is a packaged version of the old party game where you have a card stuck on  your forehead that names an object. Everyone else can see what your card says, except you. The point is to ask questions of the other people and guess what your card says you "are."

It's a fun game. Much more so now that Monkey can really play it, instead of yelling out to everyone what their card is. (i.e., I'd ask, "Am I an animal?" and she would shout out, "You're a FISH!!")

So, we're playing, and it's getting towards bedtime, which is usually indicated by Monkey losing her mind and going all kinds of super-goofy at the turn of eight o'clock.

She's got a card that says "ELEPHANT," and she's kind of stumped. We've had a few rounds of questions already, but she just wasn't landing on the right kind of animal. The discussion went something like this...

Monk: Ok. So I'm an ANIMAL.
Me: Yes.
Monk: Does everybody have one?
Me (giggling): Uh, NO.
Monk: Ok. WE have one?
Me: No.
Monk: Umm... am I a lion?
Me: No.
Monk: Am I a tiger?
Me: No.
Monk: Am I a bear?
Me: No.

Monk: You know why I did that, right...?? <Tilts head sideways and makes big bug eyes> OHHH MYY. Get it?!!

Me, laughing: Yes. I sure get it.

Monk: <laughs, then smacks the table> So, am I a bear?
Me: No. I already said that.
Monk: Seriously, though? I'm NOT a bear?

Me: No, you are NOT a bear.

Monk: Man...I REALLY thought I was a bear. But I'm not??

Me: Nope. STILL not a bear.

Monk: Seriously?
Me: Seriously. Not a bear.

Best seat in the house, for the greatest show EVER. Even if it's NOT about bears...

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