Thursday, March 15, 2007

Toddler Competencies

In a typical toddler burst, Q is suddenly proficient at a new batch of skills. And as usual, with a new batch, we've learned that we need to retrain ourselves. Forget potty training, it's more practical to learn how to unscrew caps. Q's been practicing with the sippy cup lids. This is an unforeseen consequence of reverting to sippy cups in order to keep the cats from their scavenging tendencies, burying their heads in a rainbow of plastic cups left temporarily on the table.

Getting dressed now takes approximately half an hour, or longer. Not only does Q want to pick out his actual clothing, and put it on himself, but he also wants to select his own diapers. He climbs onto an overturned can and peers into the diaper cubby, examining each one carefully till he finds a 'nice' one. "This one Mom!" He eventually clambors down. "It's got tigers on it!" Yep. Identical to every one that was rejected...

On the rare morning when he manages to pick out his own clothes and get dressed without being prodded, he emerges with a huge, shy grin, oh so proud of himself. I don't have the heart to tell him everything is backwards. Surely it doesn't matter. Much. The zipper in the back is odd though.

On an intellectual level, one of his interesting new skills is the ability to sneak, and the understanding of its usefulness. It used to be easy to keep track of Q. If he got quiet, we'd call out to him and he'd cheerfully volunteer that he was going to clean the kitty litter, or work on the computer. In the next stage, we could track him by his footsteps or random items dropping to the floor. A long stretch of quiet typically meant that either he was filling his diaper, or he was reading.

As a side effect of avoiding naps he has learned the advantage of silence. He's discovered that by crawling from room to room, he's nearly noiseless. If we don't hear him, we naively believe he's napping and we're less likely to interfere as he removes our toothbrushes from the medicine cabinet and begins to scrub his Bob the Builder potty with them.

But the subtle skills he's picking up on are the best. Sunday we said goodbye to J as he headed off to work. He gave Daddy a kiss (only air kisses, evidently he's European), and a hug. I gave J a kiss and as J opened the door said, "Love you, honey." J stepped outside, "Love you too." The door shut, but before it latched, Q gave it a good shove and called after J, "Love you, Daddy!"

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