Thursday, February 12, 2009

They make it look so damned easy on Nanny 911

Zeke is learning words. Mama. Dada. What's that? Na-na (for banana). Ni-ni (for night-night). I'm sure there are others in the works, i.e., he thinks he's saying something the same way every time, but it still sounds like gibberish to me.

My absolute favorite, however, is "uh oh." Hearing "uh oh" from a toddler who has kinda sorta figured out how to use it in context never ceases to crack me up. Because if you're hearing "uh-oh," but you've turned your back for a second so you don't know the basis for said "uh-oh," you know that you have to get primed for some experience that will test your parenting skills. You know nothing truly horrible has happened, because generally if that's the case, there's crying and screaming involved. It'll be more on the level of, say, dropping his bottle nipple-down while he's riding in his carseat, so that milk drips onto my leather upholstery and the car eventually smells like spit-up. Or running around during naked baby time and dropping a deuce on the antique rug.

Also, it's likely going to be a test your ability to pretend to be firm while gnawing off the insides of your cheeks because whatever the kid has done is actually really funny.

Zeke's latest example of totally typical toddler behavior is to randomly decide that some of the food items on his tray are not to his liking, so he'll pick up a piece of sliced peach or a ravioli and fling it to the side in a highly dramatic fashion. If I didn't abhor the behavior, I'd have to give him props for doing it with a sense of flair.

Not grasping the notion that "uh oh" is more appropriately used for accidental events rather than volitional misdeeds, he'll then say, "UH-oh!" Again, it's all very dramatic. The kid could have a future as an actor.

I will turn around from cutting his hot dog into pieces and say, "what happened, baby?" just in time to discover that he is throwing food on the floor -- a practice that is frowned upon in our household.

And I will grab his wrist and look at him and say in a firm voice, "No! We do not throw our food down!"

And I will release his hand. And he will look at me, with the slightest twitch in the corner of his mouth as if he knows he's fucking with me, and without breaking eye contact, slowly reach for another piece of food and very deliberately drop it onto the floor.


And once again, I'll say "no, Zeke!" And I'll also make the futile effort of trying to explain to him that you don't get to say "uh-oh" when you've thrown something down on purpose. As if he, a) understands the distinction, or b) gives a shit.

But as I'm talking, he's looking at me with a twinkle in his eye and starting to grin, and he's so goddamned cute that I start to grin back, and before I know it we're both cracking up. I mean seriously, how can I resist this face?

I think I'm in trouble as a disciplinarian. Uh-oh.


  1. Uh-oh! That is completely adorable. HE is so freaking adorable.

    Also, a friend of mine said her kid does this (she said all kids do, and I should be ready), and before age two they don't make any connection between what they're doing and the "no, don't do that" - so there's no point not correcting her until then. Do you think this is true?

  2. They all do it, and it's not a big deal, but I do think they can start to figure out the connection between "no" and what they're doing before the age of 2. And even if they're slow to make the connection, I think it's important to get in the habit of figuring out which battles you're going to pick (because if you pick them, you have to win) early on, and establishing the firm "NO" tone that they will eventually understand.