Thursday, May 17, 2012

The complex workings of a 20 month old mind

I am, as most parents, constantly in awe of my daughter. She makes connections to things that are hilarious and ingenious simultaneously. She is such a little person. As I have reflected many of times, she is a little person, that was bor n with her strong willed personality, which leads me to the post of the day.

We started swim lessons again a couple of weeks ago. These lessons are more structured and more intense then the previous lessons that we had participated in. The first lessons were relaxed and very centered on how strict the parent really wanted to be with their child, plus a good portion of the time was spent in unstructured activity. These lessons on the other hand, are rigid and the parent functions only as the  private that is following orders given directly by the captain. From the first lesson, it was evident how different the class would be, in a good way.

Lydia, however, seems to struggle a little bit with following directions. Seconds before she is dipped in the water she is told to close her mouth to prevent her from swallowing water. Her response is to open her mouth as wide as she can. Anyone would first think she doesn't understand the direction, but at home when we practice she intensely will close her mouth. Matter of fact, she will suck her lips in so tight that she looks like a little old lady. When we tell her to open she throws her head back and stretches her out so much a whale could curl up and nest in there. She knows the difference, but the question is why doesn't she do it? She cannot possibly enjoy swallowing water every week, but yet she does.

Another great example is her fascinations with kicking and throwing balls. She has a whole bucket of balls which she will depending on the size either grab and throw across the room, or kick and yell "Goooooooooooaaaaaaaaaaallllllll." (This is my father's doing not hers.) Adorable undoubtedly, however not so cute when she throws her little people zoo animals or kicks them, or when she finishes meals and throws food on the floor to indicate completion.

Eliot and I, are still honing our parenting skills may appear as laid back and easy going folks most of the time. This however, should not be mistaken with the other part of our neurotic order loving tumberware labeling sorting coocoo birds that we are which of course do become very irritable when constantly picking up food from a clean floor. Once again, where is the loss of translation in that magic word, "no!"  for our daughter? She responds to not throwing the ball when we ask her not to. She knows to throw it high or low. My goodness, she knows which balls are throwing ones and which ones are for kicking. But she chooses to still throw her food when she is finished. We redirect her sterning saying no. We explain that we don't throw food. We have her notice that mom and dad don't throw food. We have her pick it up (which she enjoys a little too much). We have smacked her hand. Here is a kicker, she doesn't throw food in restaurants. So what else is there to do?

There is no way to completely understand the complex workings of a 20 month old mind. Lydia is pretty verbal as well and thus each day is able to provide a deeper sneak peak into her process but in the meantime I take a sippy cup in case she is thirsty and that is why she voluntarily swallows pool water.

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