Week 186: Definitions, Donuts, and Determination

As I’ve mentioned several times before, Sam seems to have hit that invisible age marker where questions burst out from her like popcorn from a kettle. Her favorite is the simple “why?” which is elegant but utilitarian. It’s the new black. And that still wears thin, but to my delight she’s been asking us to define words for her. Like, constantly, which, ironically, is one of the words she’s asked me to define. Along with “ironically.” In fact, Ger and I kept a log for a week of some of the words and phrases Sam asked me to define. They include:

  • Hypothesis
  • Stereotype
  • Vernacular
  • Truthful
  • Design
  • Satellite
  • Pissed
  • Variable
  • Late
  • Internet
  • Digest
  • Swarm
  • Rotate
  • Belligerent
  • Look it up
  • Dictionary

Defining these words for a 3-year old is a lot harder than you might first think. The main problem is doing so without using words that also require definitions, so that you get caught in an endless daisy chain of question/answers that stretches on into the wee hours of the night. Otherwise, I’m perfectly willing to do it for her. It beats “why?”

At some point in time Sam and I have settled into a Saturday morning routine of Daddy Daughter Time (also sometimes known as “Give Geralyn a Fricking Break Time).” The routine starts around 6:00 a.m. with Sam’s bounding into bed and babbling about going to get a donut breakfast and how she totally dreamed about EATING THE BIGGEST DONUT EVER! This assault persists until I stumble out of bed to get dressed while Sam bounds downstairs to stand in front of the door to the garage, still wearing her pajamas. There is much cajoling and corralling until we’re both dressed, washed up, and vaguely presentable.

By 7:00 or 7:30 we’re out the door and headed for the donut shop. At this point Sam is still yammering about what kind of donut she’s going to get. Sprinkles? Chocolate? Cake? Glazed? OOOOOHHH COCONUT! Being firmly settled into my ways I always get the same thing (one chocolate, one glazed, small coffee), but Sam seems to delight in running up to the counter and smearing her face and/or hands all over the glass display as she erupts into paroxysm over the insanity-provoking choices given to her. It’s like if H.P. Lovecraft wrote a children’s book about delicious pastries.

In the end she gets juice or milk, from which she takes like two sips, and one donut, from which she simply eats all the icing and leaves the rest as a cakey husk before saying “I’ve had enough.” I guess the anticipation is sometimes the thing, even for a 3-year old.

We normally follow the donut breakfast up with some other activity, but it’s still usually 7:30 or 8:00 in the morning, which kind of limits one’s choices. So it’s often a park. Sam inevitably comments that there’s no other kids there, which I explain by the fact that it’s barely past dawn and none of the kids have Dads that are as cool as I am. This last week, though, I took her to a science museum, which she totally loved. She got to gaze at nifty things, play with nifty things, and oddly enough sit transfixed by a nifty movie about rocket launches and space flight. She fell sound asleep in the car on the ride home.

Sam has also been interacting a lot more with Mandy now that her little sister is sitting up and grabbing at things all the time. Mandy’s favorite thing in the world is now to sit up and then abruptly lean forward, so that she does a face plant into her lap. If we put something soft like a stuffed animal in front of her, she will do this for quite some time and be thoroughly entertained by it. Sit. FACE PLANT! Giggle. Sit. FACE PLANT! Giggle. Over and over again.

It’s also pretty easy to tell that the kid wants to be more mobile. She tries to crawl and get after things, but she just doesn’t seem to have the motor skills or strength yet. Still, it’s fun to watch her try, and I’m struck by how kids seem to have a much deeper well of determination, patience, and gumption than we do. Me, I get shouting mad if I can’t get the lawn mower to start after the third pull. But Mandy will try to pull herself towards the cat for fifteen or twenty minutes at a time. I wonder when we lose that?

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One thought on “Week 186: Definitions, Donuts, and Determination

  1. Annalie asks us how they close places. As in, “How do they close Target?” So we answer with a list of all the things they probably do–closing registers, counting cash, sweeping floors, turning off lights, locking doors, etc.–and this seems to satisfy her. She has asked how they close: Target, Chick-Fil-A, Bob Evans, Cone Island [ice cream stand], Cici’s, church, the airport, Coffee Quarter, and others. Some of these have led to interesting discussions, like why the airport stays open all the time, and why stockers stay in a store overnight.
    Three-year-olds are so fun.

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