Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Education of Sweet Pea

Recently the Man of the House (a.k.a. Prince Charming) and the Lady of the House (that'd be me) had a heart to heart over the status of the bundle of insanity joy known around here as Sweet Pea (or Buster, depending on the circumstances).

The issue at hand: Sweet Pea is now the ripe old age of 2. And as such, she is no longer of the Baby Class of Child but has, in fact, moved on to the Toddler or even Preschooler Class of Child.

Now, here's the rub: Sweet Pea is my baby. And it seems likely that she will remain my baby for at least the next few years. In other words, there are no little Charming children on the immediate horizon. Now it is a matter of public record that Prince Charming and I are both first- borns. After Polly came we were a family of first-borns. That is, obviously, no longer the case. But we told ourselves we would not have the usual labels for our children. Polly would not obviously be the oldest. Tigger wouldn't be the (oft over looked) middle child. And, above all else, Sweet Pea would not be the Baby.

Except that is exactly what has happened. Tigger is one of the middlest middles that I've ever seen (and I've known a few in my time. I'm even related to a few, not to name names.) And Sweet Pea is the rip roaringest Baby (small shudder) to come along since her Aunt Princess. (Never mind that the easiest way to make Sweet Pea not the baby, would thereby turn her into a middle. It boggles the mind.)

All that is interesting to think about (you more experienced parents are laughing at us now, I know) but it's not the problem we were addressing in our conversation. The real issue: Sweet Pea's lack of verbal acuity. We are, to put it mildly, a family of talkers. And Sweet Pea is more of a pointer-shouter, which is really frustrating to those of us who talk. (Sample Conversation: "What do you want? That? You want that? Not this? Ok, what is she pointing to? That? That? Karen!!" As you can see, this is a sample of Prince Charming's half of a "conversation" with Sweet Pea.)

So, in the midst of this discussion, Prince Charming and I, have decided on a course of action with regards to Sweet Pea's Linguistic Advancement (hey, we are first-borns. We like lists!):

1. No more pacifier (known in our family as "Boppy" for some reason known only to Baby Tigger) except when actually in bed. As Sweet Pea is still in a baby bed, this has cut boppy dependency down significantly, because in order to get the boppy she has to be in bed and Sweet Pea does not often wish to be in bed.

2. No more baby talk or babying by big sisters. See, one of the problems with being the baby is everyone babies you. She isn't just my baby, she's also Prince Charming's Baby, Polly's baby, and Tigger's baby (Sometimes. Tigger and Sweet Pea have a often adversarial relationship).

3. At least one simple book read aloud every day to just Sweet Pea. In theory, this is one on one time. In practice, the older girls come running to hear even the simplest board book read aloud (but I hold Sweet Pea on my lap and let her turn the pages, so it's all good). The first day we put this plan into action I chose "The Very Hungry Caterpillar". Which was a good choice (I really like that book myself) considering I have had to read it every day since. I offer Sweet Pea two choices and she always chooses "The Very Hungry Caterpillar". I did convince her to give "Pat the Bunny" a try yesterday, but only after we'd read about the adventures of that voracious caterpillar.

Sweet Pea is already talking more. (It's amazing what will happen once you remove the plastic plug!) We don't necessarily understand what she's saying, but all in good time, we tell ourselves.
Meanwhile, Sweet Pea is no doubt planning for a future career in the law or some such. She's got us all right where she wants us, I have no doubt of that.

2 comments:

Amy said...

I remember when we ended our oldest's pacifier use. He was a month or so past 2. He only used it for sleeping by that point, but still.

And how funny - just today I was wondering if our 2 yr old would still be using a pacifier now if he had ever taken one. He never did like those things, much to our frustration at the time!!

Glad to hear you are already having success!

(and one more thing... we have a felt-board set that goes with The V. H. Caterpillar. I should get that out for our gang!)

Karabeth said...

Overheard at lunch today:

Me: You didn't talk much when you were Sweet Pea's age (said to Lulu).

Lulu: Really? People tell me I talk alot now.

Dan: She's made up for lost time.

So, you know, by the time she's a 20-something she'll catch on. :)

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