Week 206: Aping, Bananas, and Bones

Some days I can’t believe how quickly Mandy is changing. I swear that she literally looks a little different when we go to get her out of bed in the morning than she did when we put her in there the night before. I can hear stretching and popping sounds coming through the monitor at night. She’s still trying to talk, but her newest thing is imitation. The other day she was sitting in her high chair and I was sitting next to her at the kitchen table. I looked over to see that she was peering at me, with the palm of her hand tucked oddly underneath her chin like she was trying to push her jaw through the top of her head. It took me a second to realize that I had been sitting there with my elbow on the table and my chin resting on my upturned palm. She was trying to imitate my pose. We both laughed, and then I discovered the limits of her mimicry abilities when I did some jumping jacks.

Sam is also developing nicely. One thing that she’s gotten into a lot lately is drawing instead of just coloring. Specifically, she’ll draw picture after picture of what she identifies as “people holding balloons.” She says this with more than a little indignity if you ask, because apparently you’re just supposed to KNOW what that is. You idiot.

Here’s a recent example of her work, with some helpful notations added by me:

Sam has also started to key in to the idea of jokes, or being silly. As you can imagine with me in the house this is quite useful. We share jokes all the time, though her own contributions seem to revolve around affixing the word “banana” to everything in sight. Banana hands, banana head, banana plate, banana cat, banana banana, et cetera. Beyond that, however, she seems to have misunderstood this concept of joke-telling as a way to write off whatever she doesn’t want to take seriously. So if I tell her to pick up the five thousand toys that litter our living before she can go upstairs to take a bath, she’ll just head for the stairs, dismiss me with a curt wave of her hand, and say “That’s funny, Daddy. You’re just being silly.” Once again, I am tempted to try this strategy out at work the next time someone tries to delegate some odious project to me and see if it works out any better than it does for her.

Sam does seem interested in learning, though, and like most toddlers she displays an amazing ability to just soak in information and an insatiable curiosity about everything. And her retention is often surprising, not only for its depth but for the non sequiturs she often introduces to otherwise normal situations. Yesterday we were driving in the car and she pipes up, “Daddy, the hard parts on your body are BONES.”

“Yes! That’s right.” I decide to push the conversation forward: “Sam, what do you call the bone in your head?”

“Your skull!”

“That’s right!” She seemed to be doing okay, so I figured I’d escalate things. “Sam, do all animals have bones?”

She paused for a minute, here, perhaps searching her databanks. “No,” she said, “octopuses don’t have bones.”

“Hey, that’s true!” I’m delighted at this point, because I had told her about the octopus thing a couple of weeks ago and I didn’t even think she heard me at the time, much less remembered. So I decided to see what else I could cram in there.

“Sammy,” I said, “did you know birds have hollow bones so that it’s easier for them to fly? And some animals like ants or crabs don’t have bones, but they have their skeletons on their outside. They’re called ‘exoskeleton’ and they’re not made of bone. They’re made of something called ‘chitin.’ It’s like bone, but different.”



“You’re just being silly. I don’t want to talk about bones. Don’t talk about bones any more.”

“Okay, Sam.”

We’ll see if she remembers the chitin thing, though. I bet she does.

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3 thoughts on “Week 206: Aping, Bananas, and Bones

  1. After having my daughter get upset every time I’d ask what her picture was, I finally just gave up and instead would say “tell me about this great picture”.

  2. I second the “tell me about your….” approach. It saved me many a time when I was teaching PreK and K.
    By the way, Sam is no longer really a toddler, I believe she is officially a preschooler now!

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