Tuesday, April 09, 2024

Toddle 2 - DareDevil-try


It was not precisely a dare, but it was a test. I watched his slow progression from the ground to the pedals; he gauged my interest with calculating mirth. He knew I was somewhat preoccupied with the seventeen feet of bum wipes he had cheerfully dispensed for me, just moments before. I half-noticed his fingers grasp the handlebars properly and I managed some phrase of congratulations.

This is where the average human adult, underestimates the underlying cleverness (or depravity) of the species. I had no idea that this toddler, was coolly calculating my every move, while negotiating a very tricky maneuver of his own.

Poor, aging Uncle, had been outfoxed, out-maneuvered and out-witted by an eighteen-month-old child. He didn't call my attention until he was set. "Ga-Duh" he said, clear as a bell.

We are working on the "Gordon" thing, as well as many other words. It is my considered opinion that baby talk is learned from parents. "Goo-goo, da-da" are not the only times this happens. Even when we teach children the language, we are sloppy and lazy. For instance: I don't say my name as it is spelled, "Gore-Done"; it usually sounds more like "Ga-Duh" which is what he said in the first place.

"Ga-Duh" he said, clear as a bell, from the top of the tricycle seat, where he stood with his hands out at his side. His expression was one I have only seen before on persons about to leap from perfectly good aircraft, on purpose.

Being a dutiful, as well as aging Uncle, I freaked and leapt to my feet. I stopped myself from hollering, a sure way to get him to fall. Even as I reached for him, I mulled the situation over. His manner told me he was seeking some show of pride in his skill and bravery.

I had to admit I was proud of him, I mean would you do that? On a more hormonal level, the kid has balls. However, I could think of few more dangerous things he could have done. Also, irrepressible toddler had craftily maneuvered aging Uncle into being elsewhere while he performed this maneuver. He must have known it would be met with disfavor, and craftily arranged a "scenario" to handle the situation. It was kinda spooky.

I briefly consider all this , then screamed, "GET DOWN FROM THERE!!"

Not really, what I did was smile and say, "Austin" in as serious a tone as I might, without showing alarm or displeasure. He knew he would have to listen to a short speech, and took it gracefully.

"Mommy would not like that at all, Buddy." He leapt into my outstretched arms. After my heart stopped pounding I hugged him as well as I am able, and rolled him on the floor twice. After the giggling faded I handed him his spill-proof, sipper cup thingy, loaded with milk.

He rolled onto Bearfoot, (a large stuffed Teddy, with enormous feet) and deftly worked the cup of milk. I began to replace the deluge of stuffed animals and Fischer-Price Doodads in the toy box. I started philosophizing about the complex range of emotion and reason that was at work in this infant. The Human mind and spirit can be truly amazing.

Before I could turn about to check on the adventurous lad, I heard the creaking of a tricycle seat, and a giggled, "Ga-Duh".

Friday, April 05, 2024

Toddle is an Onomatopoeia


I had no moral responsibility to the boy, other than the one taken on as a babysitter. This mainly required that I feed and change him regularly, and not allow him to fall in the pool, run with scissors or be eaten by a pack of wild dogs. The usual stuff Mommies worry about.

This particular instance, Austin and I traversed the great sea of concrete to visit the Aquarium. (What? ..in the desert?) His bottle firmly stuck in his face, he giggled and flirted with me all the way there.

Outside the aquarium, is a botanical garden

Being One-and-a-half, the world is experienced as a mystery, by all the senses. This generally applies to anything about the face of the 18 month old and particularly applies to the mouth and nose. It should be noted that there seems to be a set order of orifices, that being; mouth, nose, ears, etc.

Anyway, Austin toddled off over the lawn in search of new and colorful things to eat. We had lately been working on languages and though he only rarely utters full words, his intonation and inflection are brilliant. Great-Grandma maintains that he will never learn to speak if everybody keeps handing him stuff when he grunts. She is probably right.

So Austin grabbed the nastiest, brownest looking weed, with big sticker-kinda-looking thingies on it and looked at me.

"Ma-oo-um-aa?" he uttered, holding the pollen laden, dirt-encrusted weed just beyond my reach. Though the phonemes were meaningless to me, the tone was clear. It was the tone Marsha Mason used in The Goodbye Girl when she said "Because I'm the Mommy, that's why." Except Austin was telling me, "I've already looked at this wonderful and mysterious object, now I must put it in my mouth."

Perhaps now would be a good time to bring up some painfully technical stuff. It is a known fact that a baby's synapses work much faster than an adult Uncle's. Small children also have a gift for being 4 inches beyond ones reach at any given time. I should also mention that the laughter of children is the finest sound in the universe.

Aging Uncle made a grab for the weed and managed to get all of it away from incredibly agile toddler's mouth and most of it out of his hand. The remainder, of course, went directly into his nose. A look of astonishment overcame his face and metamorphosed into and aura of distaste mixed with intense concentration. Dear Austin removed the tendril of weed from his left nostril. He looked at it, he looked at me. He raised his eyebrows, said "Uh-oh" and sneezed.

I don't recall hearing him sneeze before, although I'm sure he must have. In either case, Austin thought this at once hilarious and mystifying, so much that he tried it again. Fortunately, even aging Uncle's can move fast enough for that. As soon as the giggle wore off that, he toddled off toward a tree to investigate. Using a slight rising intonation he said, "Da-dar?" Meaning of course, would you be kind enough to lift me up there. ("Da-dar?" = Gordon)

It was a new tree for Austin, It was a Wisteria bush, but we had not got that far, botanically speaking. To our surprise and delight, a hummingbird popped up over the bush, and hovered directly in front of Austin. After a long, slow intake of breath he began with "ooooh!" and then giggled contagiously.

Did I mention that the laughter of children is the finest sound in the universe?