One of my favorite things about having these things called kids is watching them develop and learn like little scientists. Sam has moved on to advanced stuff, but Mandy is doing pretty well herself. Like any good scientistician, she’ll formulate theories, perform experiments, analyze data, and try to replicate results. For example, last night she continued to pursue research that I can only assume is related to “Amanda Madigan’s Greater Splooshie Sound Theory” which involved testing the following model:
As you can see, the causal relationship between dunking the washcloth and the splooshie sound is moderated by how annoyed the nearest parental unit is. After confirming this model she followed the scientific method by making sure that her results were repeatable. VERY repeatable. Look for her complete paper to be published in an upcoming issue of “Journal of Banging the Ever Living Crap Out of Stuff.”
I’m also happy to announce that Mandy’s grasp on the English language seems to have finally surpassed that of our cat. She’ll now react to specific words. She’s paid attention to her name for a while now, but recently she’s began to provide predictable reactions to other words, like “kiss” (open mouth, slobber copiously, and lean in towards you) “five” (slap your open palm with her own), “bounce” (flexing legs and either falling over or bouncing, depending on whether or not she’s in her bouncie swing), and “boobie” (generally going hysterical with glee). We’re also pretty sure that she’s said the words Mommy, Daddy, and Duck. These are apparently the three most important things in her world, thought I’m not sure of their rank order.
Sam is doing well. While Mandy is still working on solid foods, Sam has moved on to advanced eating techniques, some of which actually involve not eating. This has always been a tricky subject for Sam, but last night was a pretty typical example of how dinner goes. Sam loaded her plate with hot dog, french fries, melon, cherry tomatoes, carrot sticks, string cheese, black beans, ketchup, mustard, and jell-o salad. She then ate one bite of hot dog, one carrot stick and half a cherry tomato before announcing that she had had enough to eat and could we please abandon our newly started meals and come play with her. Meeting with resistance on this front, she looked innocently at us and asked if she had eaten a good dinner, which is her thinly encrypted code for “give me a huge bowl of ice cream.”
This is a trickier to deal with than you might think at first. We’ve never told Sam that she has to clear her plate, since eating when you’re not hungry is a terrible habit that leads straight to obesity. So we usually tell her that if she’s too full to eat more of her dinner then she’s too full for desert. This leads to a potentially endlessly repeating loop of her taking one bite of something, then saying “Did I eat a good dinner now?” and our telling her no, not yet. If I had it to do over again we’d just never introduce the concept of desert in the first place, though it seems something ingrained into the culture of Ger’s family. Most nights we usually compromise by letting Sam eat a sugar-free fudgecicle (40 calories, very messy) in the bathtub. You know, during her bath so we can literally just hose her off.