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I’ll tell you what I want, what I really really want

September 5, 2013

Hope’s becoming increasingly clear about what she likes and doesn’t like, what she wants to do and what she absolutely does not want to do, and how much she doesn’t want to stop doing what she really really wants to do.

I went to get her out of the car seat yesterday and she was sitting there quietly saying what sounded like, “sips” … I wasn’t sure if this was that she wanted a sip of water, “no”, or a sleep, “no mummi no”… so rather bemused I picked up my wallet and put it on the ledge behind the car seat so I could lift her out, “sips sips SIP” she shouted reaching for the wallet. Well, when I say wallet, what I actually mean is the Hello Kitty little wash bag / make up bag that my mother gave me before we came out to California, and yes, you guessed, it fastens with a zip. She grabbed it from me when I held it out for her (with a very curt “t’ankooo” and sat happily zipping and unzipping it. Later in the evening she lay on her smart new changing mat and insisted on zipping and unzipping the little pouch where nappy wipes are meant to go, all the time singing “sips sips sippi sips” to the tune of Frere Jacques.

The trouble came each time when I lifted her up and away from her new favourite activity. She arched her back, she writhed, she shrieked in manner of a banshee and she yelled, “no no no no no” before putting her hands up to her face and sobbing pitifully as if in total despair.   She’s happy to have a little potter about in my arms in her Godmother’s lovely swimming pool, but the first few times she shouted, “no” at the top of her voice and had a similar paddy. It was only Mr Duck, Mr Frog, Mr Tortoise (she can say tortoise now which is lovely), Mr Shark (her favourite) and Mr Fish who, along with the 3 wind up dinosaurs, persuaded her that water is fun but this morning when I asked if she wanted to go back across the pool and say hello to them or get out, she firmly said, “out” and when I asked if she was sure, she nodded very definitely and said, “sure” with absolute certainty.

These and her many other firm opinions pale into insignificance when in the company of her furry feline friends. Hope is completely and utterly obsessed with cats, her Godmother’s cats in particular. She spends hours lying on her tummy looking under furniture for them, she sits happily alongside her similarly cat obsessed Godmother and shakes the little box of treats and then shouts “wheee” very gleefully as she throws the little nuggets of food for the cats and applauds when they come to eat.

One of the furry fellows has sat patiently and allowed Hope to stroke her, the other keeps his distance. She hurtles across the room when she sees them sitting quietly in a shady corner, comes to an abrupt halt and reaches her arm out tentatively, or stands stock still saying, “meowww, meowww, meowww”. All of this is good and it is lovely to see Hope so enthralled, what is not lovely is the rages and tantrums when it is time to give the cats a break or go out.

If we’re downstairs and they’re upstairs, she stands plaintively at the stair gate pointing upstairs saying, “meowww upssshhtair” and when I explain that they’re resting, she walks round saying over and over again, “meoww sleeping”. Hope wakes up in the night, stands up in her little travel cot and says, “meowww mummi meowww” and points at the door. When we’re out she points toward the vague direction she thinks we’ve come from and says in a sad way, “meowww sleeping”.

Her obsession did come in handy last night though, we went to the beach, she and I (that’s a whole different story … mother + (or is it versus) toddler alone on the beach with the afore mentioned toddler keen to play in the shallows and refusing to hold hands … yoikes), where was I, yes sorry, at the beach … well more particularly getting ready to come home from the beach. I lifted her up to put her in her little push chair and the back arching started, the screams of “no no no”, the yell (with an American accent – aagghhh) of “waadder” as she pointed to the Pacific Ocean.     I had a brainwave … “Hope”, I said desperately trying to get her squirming shouting self into the pushchair, “lets go and see Auntie Clare and the cats, come on”. She stopped her squirming and slid into the pushchair with no further fuss and happily sang “meowww” all the way to the car. She didn’t go to sleep all the way to the diner we were heading to, and when she saw her Godmother, she reached out and beamed, “meowww, meowww”. It was only the sweet potato fries that distracted her … and we had to use the same technique again to get her into the car seat to come home.

Poor little soul was fast asleep when we did get back but she made up for what she missed this morning when “meowww” was her second word after, “hello” when she woke up.

Telling lies to a toddler … (a toddler that turned 20 months old this week) albeit white lies … what’s become of me!?!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. September 6, 2013 11:16 pm

    I sympathise with the effort to understand some of Hope’s words. I have had the same problem sometimes with little Catrin. It’s no good asking them to repeat the word – they just say it louder as if we’re stupid. I try asking questions to elicit some more revealing vocabulary.

    I also feel for you with the ‘no’ and back-arching. I find with Catrin that a good technique is not to argue directly but to change the subject by asking a question which moves us on to a different terrain.

    Love to you and Hope.

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