Fear in a Toddler’s Mind

I still can’t fathom what makes you scared.  My Neighbor Totoro, the classic children’s cartoon about an overgrown forest rabbit and a cat bus, is absolutely terrifying.  The Lord of the Rings trilogy, with the Balrog, the orcs, the Nazgul, and the Paths of the Dead, is not terrifying but rather captivating.  Random episodes of SpongeBob SquarePants?  Absolutely terrifying.  Patrick is apparently the devil, even though you adore the real starfish in the tank that’s right next to you when you watch TV. Star Wars (only the original thus far) is “cooooool” (No, you may not have a lightsaber), but the Lego spoof,The Empire Strikes Out (featuring the X-Wing, the Tie Advanced, Tantive IV Lego sets you like playing with so much) is shut your eyes and cover your ears terrifying.  The Lego Movie, on the other hand?  “AWESOME!”

I’m still clueless about what makes you scared.  Fruit flies will make you run away crying, but you’ll approach any massive animal at the petting zoo and shove your little fingers right towards those massive teeth without any fear or hesitation (good thing I have fast reflexes).  You’d pet the tiger if you could (and you tried). Your favorite stuffed animal is a tiger shark, and your second favorite is a tarantula, both animals picked by you to the great surprise of both Mommy and me (and everyone else in the store).  You’ll learn more about people’s common phobias later, but right now, I can’t figure yours out.

You’re Too Smart for Your Own Good

Cookie:  Daddy, why are there so many Santa Clauses running around the city?*

Me:   SantaCon is a pretty fun party.

[Oh, good, the internal parental filter is working today.]

Me:  They’re, ummm… people who dress up pretending to be Santa and his helpers, sorta like how you and all of your friends dressed up as Elsa for Halloween.

Cookie:  Well, they’re not very good Santas.

MeThat’s because they’re wasted.

[I owe you again, internal parental filter]

Me:  They’re only pretending to be Santa, Cookie.  When you dressed up as Elsa, did you get her magical powers?

Cookie:  No, I meant that they’re falling over like Mommy when she drank the bad grape juice at the Italian restaurant.

*last week


Dear Cookie,

I am not a trampoline.  You are not a 35 pound alarm clock that goes off at 5 AM on weekends.

Alarm clocks don’t bounce.  They also have a snooze button.  As you may have noticed, I always had the iPad next to me with the mute button locked.  That used to buy me 30 minutes of sleep.  No longer.

Saturday mornings fall into the same pattern.  The bliss of deep sleep abruptly ends in a confusing sense of motion and pain.  Once the jumping stops, little fingers pry my eyelids open, and my first coherent view of the world is an over-eager face inches away from mine, accompanied a voice that is much too loud and energetic for the state I’m in*: “Daddy!  Daddy!  Daddy! Let’s play!  You don’t have to go to work today!  Let’s play!  Let’s PLAY!  Daddy-daughter day!  Let’s go the museum, and the park, and the fish store, and have ice cream, and go to the zoo, and have lots of fun!  Daddy!  Wake up Daddy!”


*I think this is a sign of aging.  In my younger days, I could hang out with friends on a weeknight, um, studying, close down the, um, library at 4 AM, and still be fine for class or work the next day.  Now, a rare guy’s Friday night out with minimal (seriously, a bunch of us catching up, showing each other pictures of offspring, and talking about furniture … yep, another depressing sign of aging), um, studying results in exhaustion the entire weekend, and I’m still paying the consequences Monday morning.  …when did that happen?

Of course the 35 pound alarm clock without a snooze button does not help.



Infantile Flatulence Foolery

Cookie: Daddy, my butt itches.  I have a rash and need ointment.

Daddy: Cookie, your butt looks fine.

Cookie: No, it itches.  Look closer.

*looks closer*


Cookie: Haha! Got you, Daddy!

Three reactions instantly popped into my head.

First, argggbublglglglglgglgl!  I never got over how ungodly, eye-watering stenches could emanate from such a cute baby.  (Yes, my nose was blessedly fortunate as you were toilet trained at about the time your pea soup diaper deposits were changing, so no, I never got used to the smell.)

Second, immense pride.  As one practical joker to another, that was truly impressive for toddler that hadn’t even turned two.  I can’t believe that you concocted the entire sequence and then set me up with a completely straight face.  After many years of witnessing guys making uninspired attempts of “smell this,” being caught like this by my beautiful little daughter was AWESOME.

Third, I didn’t know this side existed for girls.  Sugar and spice aside, you’ll soon be in a world where women hide the existence of necessary bodily functions for months in a relationship.  Advice for the future you: don’t.  A guy who can’t appreciate the humor isn’t worth the trouble.

As you may have noticed, Cookie, many of these first posts are of a scatological nature.  Eating and pooping are very important to new parents (Many websites and doctors recommend digital scales.  For the baby!  Ew.), and since Mommy was primarily in charge of inputs in your early life (I lack the functional equipment to assist in that department  –Mommy insisted on feeding from the tap), I was primarily in charge of outputs.  At least that’s my excuse.  It has nothing to do with my immature sense of humor whatsoever.  Those high fives that I may or may not have given you when you let one near Mommy after this particular episode?  Didn’t happen.  Not that you can prove, anyway.

Potty Lies, Part 3

A few months later, you figured it out –Mommy knew you didn’t have to pee because peeing is part of your bedtime ritual.

So, after picking you up from your toys in the living room, after your bedtime ritual, we put you to bed.  All is quiet for a little while, until the monitor chirps, and you’re dancing on your crib.

Cookie:  Mommy!  Daddy!  Take me to the bathroom to poo!  Take me to the bathroom to poo!

Mom: Scissors.

Me: Paper.  *sigh*

Me: Coming, Cookie!

As soon as your butt touches the toilet, however, you grin.

Cookie: I’m all done!  Let’s go play!

Nothing had come out.

Me: Cookie, you can’t lie to us.  You can’t tell us you need to poo if you don’t have to go!

Cookie:  I didn’t lie, Daddy.  I never said the poo was coming.

Potty Lies, Part 2

One night when you were 14 or 15 months old (sleep deprivation has really destroyed my memory), we picked you up from your toys, started your bedtime ritual, and put you to bed.

Over the monitor, we could hear you complaining.  “Mommy!  Mommy!  Mommy!  I don’t want to sleep.  I want to play.  I want to play with my toys in the living room.  It’s too early to go to bed.  I want to play!”

After a few minutes, Mommy got annoyed and answered over the monitor, “Cookie, it’s time for bed.  You’re done playing for tonight.”

On the monitor, we saw your grumpy frown as you settled down on your crib.  However, your head barely touched the pillow before you jumped up again.

“I have to pee.  I have to pee.  I have to pee!”  We could see you potty dancing over the monitor.

Mommy was fed up a this point.  “Cookie, you do not have to pee.  Lie down.  Close your eyes.  Go to sleep.”

With a cute frown on your face, we saw you slowly lie down.  The monitor was silent for a while until a whisper.

“How did she know?”

Potty Lies

The confluence of three things leads to this story.

As you know, Mommy is a very regimented person, and when you were a baby, she would feed you like clockwork, with the set times noted in her spreadsheet never deviating by more than a minute, day by day, month by month.  As a result, your potty times were also very punctual.  Milk in.  40 minute brew time.  Pee out.

We started teaching you sign-language when you were 6 months old.  Clueless new parents that we were, we read somewhere that infants could use sign language to communicate before their vocal chords developed enough to speak.  So, we made hand gestures over and over and over and over for a month while you sat there staring at us as if we were crazy.  A month later however, you realized that you could make a hand gesture for milk or water, and Mommy and Daddy around scramble to get you what you wanted.  You learned many signed words very quickly after that.

You’re very particular about how you feel and how you dress.  You never liked diapers, and you never liked being wet.  Because you were very regular, we were able to put you on the toilet a few minutes before you had to go.  Since you were learning sign language anyway, we kept signing potty whenever we did so.  We didn’t think anything of it until one day, you stopped playing and signed potty.  You’ve been potty trained since 8 months old.

[Side note to future Cookie and to any parents who may be reading: contrary to what this sounds like, this is NOT a good thing.  Sure, we saved a bundle on diapers, but infant bladders are tiny.  Couple the limited liquid capacity with the novelty of being able to make Mommy and Daddy drop everything for a trip to the bathroom, and you’ll be carrying the baby to the bathroom every 20 minutes.  Simply staying home is tiring, to say nothing of going outside.  You don’t understand the number of times we wanted to tell you to just pee in your diaper like a normal baby.]

That’s a long background to this: one night, when you were 9 months old, we picked you up from your field of toys in the living room, went through the night time rituals, and put you to bed.

As soon as you were in your crib, however, you signed “potty.”

As soon as your butt touched the toilet, however, you signed, “all done.”

Nothing had came out.

“All done.”  “Play.”

You couldn’t even speak yet when you told your first lie.