Here are a collection of anecdotes about the breakdown of communication where I misunderstood the desired outcome which resulted in upset feelings:
Fleur handed me a banana saying, “do this.” When I started to peel it, she wailed.
She asked me for strawberry oatmeal. Like the dozens of times before I poured pecans into it. She howled about them.
She asked to watch Frozen. So, I clicked on Frozen. The screaming was because she wanted Christmas Frozen. (aka Olaf’s Frozen Adventure.)
The past three times she has had a particular food, it has resulted in her needing to be held because her tummy hurts. But, it is sweet, so she wants it. When I say no, she throws herself on the floor with intense crying and tears and hurt.
The prize for potty training is candy which often gets dropped on the ground, making it inedible but that doesn’t mesh with the prize loss. Inconsolable. Until I replace or wash it, nothing else can be done.
Fleur is the adventurous type. She enjoys climbing, jumping, and scary situations.
For the most part, I have always encouraged her to push her boundaries within what I consider acceptable. Climb higher. Climb the arch ladder while holding her hips the first time but let her do it on her own subsequent ones. Jump off the 5 foot wall the 5 foot distance to catch her a couple feet off the ground. Throw her up into the air.
Momma cannot watch some of these antics. Mostly because her baby is in danger.
If I thought Fleur was really in danger, then I would encourage her to do something else. There is a risk. Throwing her up into the air means I could miss the catch. I am cognizant of the risk, but I accept it on our behalf.
The smile she has when successful is infectious. I hope evolutionary biology isn’t tricking me into letting her into unnecessary danger. It is a reward for me to see her happiness about having done the dangerous thing.
On the other hand, this confidence building feels very necessary. At the park, she was hesitant about the arch ladder. Protecting her the first time let her see it was possible. It expanded her worldview. She did it a dozen more climbs on her own. Because… she knew she could. I want her to feel like she can do anything.
Another thing is my language has changed over the past month or so. Instead of saying “be careful” so much, I am trying to get better about specifics. When she is walking on a curb, I will ask, “Do you feel stable?” Or when she is running, “Are you going the speed where you tend to trip?” or “Are there [roots or mud] for you to fall on?” The idea is to get her to consider the situation.
I made the mistake of taking Fleur to the store so now she wants to go there all the time. But, additionally, as soon as we walk in the door, she tells me, “I have to go potty.”
Without fail. Without remorse. Every time.
It feels like Classical Conditioning. Something about entering a store is like Pavlov’s bell. It triggers the need to go. So she tells me and we go. Thankfully in most cases we have been, the restrooms are close to the door. Stimulus is the entrance. Response is the need to urinate.
So far we are seven for seven. I need more data. But, I am not willing to get more exposure for the sake of science.
When Fleur breaks something, she probably exclaims, “Humpty Dumpty!” Thankfully, most of the time it is easy to put back together again. So, she uses it wrong. Plus, neither she nor her family are horses or kingsmen.
Also, where did the anthropomorphic egg originate? Maybe because eggs cannot be put back together once you break them. Still, kind of odd. Like the English. Especially if it is true the song really is a pun of identical slang terms for a clumsy drunk and a drink.
Nursery rhymes are dark!
Of course, I am pretty good at fixing some things, for which I get her momentary adoration. For the things I cannot, I get her long last complaint. I guess really that means I need to work on my DIY fixing skills.
An unexpected example of entropy is doll clothes. We have a number of nudist dolls.
It seems the dolls tend to lose their clothes. Fleur takes off their clothes. At times, she will ask us to dress them. I think because the motor skills for dressing them have not yet manifested, she needs help. But, she doesn’t often.
So, the dolls go without clothes most of the time. As I write this, I think the doll named Emma has been wearing one of Fleur’s newborn dresses for a while now. She did say Emma was pretty in the dress. Maybe I need to track which dolls go with or without clothes and for how long to determine if there is a pattern. Perhaps, displeasure with the clothes is why all these dolls are going nude.
This was never my go-to calming song. But, now that Fleur has her own babies (dolls), she sings this to them.
I have taken of late to holding her and singing it to her. Naturally, as this is for fun, at fall, I drop fake her and catch her for the next line. The laughter is the full on belly ones from when she was a baby.
Today, she started singing to her doll and came to ask me to do it. I am so glad we have found this game.
My wife mused about ordering some food for Thanksgiving. Galahad said not to. He has been helping with the cooking.
Having never cooked Thanksgiving, he had no idea this meant more than a meat and two sides. A typical meal might be chicken plus a green vegetable and a starchy one. These are typically an hour or so to prepare.
He objected to the broccoli casserole. So mac and cheese was added to compensate. (But that meant two different ones as some of us have special dietary needs.)
He called this a nine course meal. There were six things. We shared working on the various things, so while my wife took the brunt, we all helped. He felt this was all too much.
No worries. Sounds like he will remember for next year to let us order.
We also invited friends over for pie and hanging out on the patio. Fleur gets quiet around people she doesn’t know. Amazing not to hear her constant conversation for so long. Once she hit her playground, she was good.
The hundreds of machines I manage are virtual machines using logical storage volumes and allowed access to CPU & memory on hardware. I can do my job from anywhere because there is not anything physical for me to touch other than my laptop.
The fiction I read allows me to craft my own vision of events.
When Fleur gets to see the things from stories in real life, there is a brightness to her expression of wonder.
My favorite is when she sees a school bus. She breaks out into her favorite song: The wheels on the bus go round-and-round, round-and-round, round-and-round. She does all the verses we know even though the bus is long gone from sight.
Another good one is the horses. They have most been silent and stamping when they want pets. When Molly neighed at her, Fleur was astounded because it was the first time she’d experienced the sound in person.
This process of attaching something concrete to an abstract concept makes me happy for her.
I’m thinking I need to take notes of these things from the books in her collection and brainstorm ways for her to experience them in person.
She makes small tweaks to form to find the one that works if it doesn’t initially work.
She learns from the past mistakes.
She develops a preference.
My hope is experiences like this will help her pass the marshmallow test.
I dislike having to wait. I am not good at padding the timeline to include how long it could take her. I hope to get better about accommodating this.
Thankfully, when I offer to help, she rebuffs me. This tends to be a bit more intense than my preference, but I respect that she wants to do it. Also, if we try to intervene by putting on her socks or shoes without permission, then she will get upset and remove it and get even more determined to do it herself.