Parenting

Monday, 3 June 2013

"What's that?" and "Whyeeee?"



It has started.
Not the "Why?" yet, but the "What's that?" and "Who's that?"
And I know she isn't the only one, as lots of her peers' parents look just as exasperated as I am.

Every single book we read at the moment (we have to have three before bed, then have two "made up" stories, always!) ANYWAY, Every single book we read involves the Daph pointing at each character or thing and asking "Whoo dat?"

Even when we have read this book FIVE MILLION TIMES and she KNOWS everything about ALL of it. I've taken to giving silly answers, just to prove to her that she knows, e.g.

"Who Dat?"
"It's a spotty unicorn with a swimming costume on"
"No, mummy, it's a lion."
"Oh yeh."

"Who dat?"
"It's your Dad"
"Ha. No Mummy, it's a hairy monkey"
"titter"

So, I do that naughty thing of using sarcasm with my child, which you're not supposed to do (according to years of teacher training- which is hilarious as teachers are the most sarcastic bastards in the universe) and what's more, if I didn't, I WOULD DIE of exasperation.

BUT, it occurred to me the other day that she is doing to us exactly what we have been doing to her for most of her life. (not a major revelation I realise, I'm just not the fastest tool in the box, or whatever you say...)
From the moment she could utter "Makka Pakka" (I think that was her first word, is it bad that I don't remember?) we were pushing the toy in her face and squealing whenever we saw the TV character on products in a shop, saying
"What's that Daphne? Look! Who's that?" Three times of her saying it were barely enough, we had to get her saying it so that passers-by could hear just how damn intelligent she was, and she had to repeat it to every visiting relative and each medical professional we came into contact with.

"What is it Daphne?"
"Can you say it?"
"Who is this? You know!"

And the poor flipping kid got this for almost every word she subsequently learnt. Agh.
Constant testing, isn't it really?
And sometimes she even fought back, it went a bit like this:

Me: "Hey Daphne, show Aunty DooDah your new song!"

Daph: FROWN

Me: "Do you remember? Twinkle..."

Daph: "No Mummy" CROSS FROWN.

And, whenever we read books to her, we ask her questions about the pictures. We are not content with her merely enjoying the book, WE MUST TEST HER COMPREHENSION. "What colour is the monkey's banana, Daphne?" "and is the monkey happy or sad, Daphne?" GOD!

SO. Now she knows all of these words, and she understands how to ask questions, she's doing it back! "Who dat, mummy?"  And as frustrating as it is, the part of me which knows WE DID THIS TO HER also knows I have to put up with it, and answer EVERY DAMN TIME.

I am also realising that from now on, I need to be much more careful about how I use language. I'm reading "French Children Don't Throw Food" at the moment, and it's pretty good, taken with a pinch of salt- as anything regarding parenting probably should be- and some of the descriptions in it are hilarious. She describes an American parent, I think, taking their kid to the park and doing that cringey thing where they talk through everything the child is doing, "you're climbing! Wow, great sliding!" etc, Oh god, we've all seen it (and possibly done it) and the author argues that it's just a bit pointless.  Time at the park is for THEM to piss off and explore (ok, maybe that's my words...) by themselves, or with other kids. They don't need a commentary.

Which, in my book, means that WE can sit at the side and smoke a fag (ok maybe not) or talk to a friend or simply daydream about sharing a jacuzzi with Ryan Gosling....

And when we ARE talking to kids, we don't have to treat them like morons, they are just mini-humans, and they don't like repeating themselves any more than we do!

 (disclaimer: except they do sometimes, like when it's a word like poopoo or nipple- DOH)


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