In the past few weeks our baby girl has learned to walk, to stack, to redecorate and make a stew (see pic). She’s turned from a baby to a toddler, and she’s running towards being a kid. As a dad, I’d like to take some credit for this. However, she would have made these developments in spite of me.
A princess chair and dog chow makes a great stew
Not to say I haven’t been helpful. She has learned so many things from both my wife and I. Things like how to use a spoon, and how to pet Quinton gently.
It’s neat to see her learn these things, but if she only learned the things we planned on her learning life wouldn’t be so interesting. There are two types of learning that I’m referring to here. One is the unintended message, and the other is imitation.
There are Quinton’s food and water bowls just in the kitchen. One day, Eva discovered the food bowl, and attempted to put some in her mouth. We were successful for a while at preventing that from happening. Only once was she able to put a piece in her mouth before we were able to retrieve it. Perhaps one taste was all she needed to know that the dog food was not tasty, but it didn’t matter. The lesson she learned from the situation was not “These morsels of food are not mine and I should leave them alone.” The lesson was “Mom and/or Dad will come give me immediate attention if I grab food from that dish”. Not only that, but it makes for a great game of keep away. What she does now is she’ll grab a handful, look to make sure we saw, and then run off so that you’ll chase her. She has learned an unintended message and I don’t know how we break that.
When my brother in law was a little boy, he climbed into the driver’s seat of the car one day. It was a cute moment where he was imitating dad and driving the car. He was looking out that front windshield, had his hands on the steering wheel, and cigarette hanging out of his mouth.
Children are sponges, and soak up everything they see. He saw that every time his dad would drive the car he’d light a cigarette, so therefore if you drove a car you had to have a cigarette (even if it was unlit).
Now this same dad (who recently changed his name to grandpa) came out to visit us late summer last year. There was a moment where he let a naughty word slip (something that daddy still needs to work on). After it slipped, he threw his hand in front of his mouth. Eva throws her hand in front her mouth. Luckily she hasn’t learned how to mimic words yet, but she has learned how to mimic momma playing the piano (video).
So I’ve been working on getting Eva to say “dada” as her first word. There was a couple of ways I could do this. I could spend some time and research the ways to encourage speaking and different exercises that work on the “da” sounds. I chose option B.
“Me dada” (Pointing to myself)
“You Eva” (Pointing to her)
That’s right, I went with the Tarzan Method (don’t worry, I’m writing the book now so you’ll have it by Christmas…all 10 pages of it.) So, you’re asking how successful it was. Incredibly…..if my goal was to have Eva point to herself and say “dah dah”. Argh, why couldn’t she pick up some of my cool habits like….well, I’m sure I’ll think of some later.
They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.