Mommy Chronicles

A funny look at motherhood and the mayhem it causes.

October 22, 2001

Lucy is all talk

For months now, Lucy and I have been speaking each other’s unspoken language. Our conversations have gone pretty much like this:

Lucy: Gimme milk.

Me: OK.

Lucy: Idle hands are the devil’s plaything. So, if you don’t mind, I’m going to tweak your spare nipple while I eat.

Me: I really wish you wouldn’t. Here. Hold this kazoo instead.

Lucy: I’ll hold it, but you’re going to have to play it.

And, while Lucy eats, I serenade her with the kazoo. Although it sounds as though Lucy is getting the better end of the bargain here, my kazoo repertoire is severely limited. Lucy has to listen to the same two songs over and over again, and my personal parts get a break. Let there be no doubt about who is in charge, here.

As Lucy’s vocabulary gets more developed, though, the precious balance we have struck is teetering. If Lucy says “GOCK!” I get her a cracker. Right away.

If she says “GTZZHHH,” she gets to touch my glasses, right on the lenses. “BOT!” gives her a free poke at my bellybutton, although I do make it clear that it’s demoralizing when she cackles at my wobbly stomach. She doesn’t know how to say, “Sorry,” so for now, I am just assuming she feels some remorse.

But she probably isn’t, or I wouldn’t be playing the kazoo so often. And this makes me realize that Lucy has become the boss of me, and possibly of Adam, too.

For example, last weekend, Adam asked her if she wanted peas or corn for dinner. “Peas,” he said. “Or corn?”

Lucy just sat there, gazing at us regally. She didn’t even blink.

Then I asked, “Do you want peas, or corn, or both?”

“Both,” Lucy said.

Adam and I immediately started trying to figure out where she’d learned both. We wanted to make sure we’d really heard what we thought we heard, so after he fixed a little heap of each, he had her show him a pea, then show him some corn, and then show him both.

She did. Lucy understands “both.” I hope it’s the only four-letter word she understands, or I’m going to be one sorry motherbother. More to the point, though, she got us to fix her two side dishes, when any reasonable toddler knows that one is all she really should expect.

Lucy also chides us when we put our large, adult legs to work going down stairs. She still has to go down backward, like an inchworm. If we get too far ahead, she stands up, flutters her hands and says, “Wait. Wait.”

Naturally, we do.

Laramie, our precious part-time nanny, had the good sense to get Lucy to start saying please. So now, when Lucy walks up, says, “BOOK!” and thrusts something to read in our laps, we say, “Please.” This makes Lucy smile, probably because she knows she’s supposed to be saying please, but she’s managed to pass that off on us, too.

If things keep going this way, Lucy’s going to have us talked into buying her a car by the time she’s in kindergarten, even if I have to sell a kidney on eBay to pay for it. The only hope I have is that Adam continues to put Lucy’s interest in fashion to good use.

Yesterday morning, as he sat sipping his cup of coffee, he asked Lucy if she’d please bring him his shoes.

And she did. She carried two at once, which is impressive, considering the fact that Adam’s feet plus a coat of wax on the bottom would make a nice pair of skis.

So, there is hope for us yet. And it’s filling me with dreams. Big dreams. Lucy is sleeping peacefully right now, probably dreaming herself. But when she wakes up, it’s going to be all business.

The only question: Should I teach her “make me a sandwich” or “rub my feet?”

On second thought, the answer is obvious. It has to be both.


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