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Monday, March 30, 2015

More toddler behaviors: Innocent, or a psycho?

I've been slacking on the two-posts-a-week lately, and I'm sorry and I'll do better this week. I'LL DO BETTER!

Toddlers are pretty evil creatures. They have not learned empathy yet, so they just sort of do whatever they want without much regard for the consequences.

Sometimes, Audrey does things that make me wonder if she really does understand what she's doing. It's easy to just laugh and say "oh man, if she had a little more self-awareness and was watching herself right now, she would be horrified!" ... but how do I know that's true? Maybe she knows perfectly well what she's doing, and she's just a true blue psychopath. Help me try to figure it out, would ya?

The Snowman Murder

Audrey has a stuffed snowman that she is generally pretty fond of. One day, she got her hands on a little screwdriver, and this happened:

It went on for a good ten minutes. Ten minutes straight of her just stabbing the snowman directly in the eyes.

Was she just doing this because it was there and because the screwdriver made a nice clicking noise every time it hit the snowman's button eye?

Or ... did she go for the eyes because she knows how soft and defenseless they are and how she could totally kill the snowman by stabbing his brain if she could just get through the pesky eyeball first? And if so, where did she learn this? Was she just born knowing it?

Innocent, or a psycho?

The Sibling Rivalry

Even though Audrey is still so young, I feel it's important to try and get her to understand that she is going to have a sibling in a few months. The trouble is, she cannot possibly understand a concept like pregnancy right now. She would have no frame of reference by which to make sense of the idea that I am currently growing another human inside of my body, and that that human will eventually emerge and steal a good portion of the attention currently lavished on her.

But dammit, I try. I lift my shirt up and say things like "there's a baby in Mommy's belly!" I encourage her to wave at my belly and say "hi baby!" And she does it. Maybe she just thinks I'm nuts and does it to humor my obvious dementia, but she does it.

Then, one day, I think the whole thing finally clicked. She knows what babies are, as she always points at them and screams "baby!" whenever we see one in public or see a picture of one on a box. She knows what bellies are, because she immediately lifts up her shirt if you ask her to show you her belly. And if I ask her where Mommy's belly is, she lifts my shirt up. So perhaps putting together the whole "baby ... in belly" thing isn't as complicated as I thought, and I should give her a little more credit.

I knew she had figured it out because she started doing something weird whenever I lifted my shirt to show her the baby in my belly:

   She started hitting me.

I tell her to "wave to the baby in Mommy's belly!" and she whacks me as hard as her little toddler hands will allow. So then I say "no! We don't hit the baby! We have to be gentle with the baby in Mommy's belly!"

So she hits me again, but not as hard. With both hands. Staring me right in the eyes. And she keeps doing it, rhythmically, bap-bap-bap. Take that, stupid baby in Mommy's belly.

"Hi to you too! Also, go f*** yourself."

Is she just doing this because my normally flat and boring belly is now big, round, and hard, and it's impossible to resist playing it like a drum? I mean, I can't really blame her if this is the case -- I play the belly-drum myself a lot more often than I'm comfortable admitting (but if this kid comes out with eyes pointing two different directions or something, I'm blaming Audrey). 

Or does she understand that the mysterious 'baby in Mommy's belly' is a threat to her way of life and needs to be exterminated ASAP? Are these regularly-delivered beatings in utero just a prelude to all the abuse she has in store for once the baby is born? Is she gonna go for the eyes again??

Is she just a junior drummer waiting for her time to shine in 6th grade band, or is she a calculating lunatic with a homicidal urge to destroy her younger brother?

Either way, I'm gonna keep a close eye on her once the baby's born. And keep her the hell away from all the screwdrivers.

Elmo and the Potty

This weekend, I bought Audrey her first potty. We're not starting to potty train or anything, as I'm quite sure she's nowhere near ready, but we at least have a potty, and it sits in the bathroom opposite the grown-up potty so that she can get used to the idea of it. She's already fairly familiar with the idea of the potty, as I always announce to her when I need to use the potty and she usually comes into the bathroom with me to bother me and carpet bomb any personal boundaries I may have had before becoming a parent.

However, as to whether or not she fully understands what is happening when Mommy or Daddy uses the potty, I'm not sure. I'm really hoping she doesn't, though. Because otherwise, that makes this next part very distressing.

The potty I bought for Audrey is Sesame Street themed, feeding her Elmo obsession. It is also designed to look and function like an adult toilet, complete with a "tank" on the back and a flusher that plays a toilet flushing sound when you press down on it.

We got it home and set it up, and I started showing her how it works. I used a Minnie Mouse doll as an example -- Minnie sat on the toilet, did a pee pee, then wiped and flushed. Audrey was into it. She was like "oh yeah cool I got it. So it's like the toilet you guys use in the bathroom. I'm trackin."

I went to do something in the kitchen, and when I looked back, I saw this:

That is Elmo being put inside the potty. She removed the little waste bowl from the top, shoved him down there, and then put the waste bowl back.

She buried Elmo alive inside the potty and then acted like everything was perfectly normal. I asked her where Elmo was, and she said "uh oh!" and looked confused, like she couldn't remember.


We rescued Elmo, and we moved from Minnie Mouse up to Audrey herself. I showed her how to sit down on the potty, how to flush it, etc. Once again, she seemed to understand. She would sit down, shout "all done!", then stand up and flush. I was impressed, like maybe she'll be ready for potty training sooner than I thought.

And then she started doing this:

Just so we're clear, that's not her and Elmo trying to use the potty at the same time. That is her deliberately placing Elmo into the waste bowl, and then sitting down directly on top of him to go potty.

The look on his face tells you everything you need to know.

"I did not consent to this."

I think we'll hold off on potty training for a while. Preferably until the new baby is large enough to not fit inside her potty.

Y'know, just in case she knows exactly what she's doing.


EDIT: I also forgot to add -- we went to an Easter event this past weekend and Audrey and I made a bunny craft with googly eyes and a little bunny mouth and everything. Audrey knew exactly what it was, and kept excitedly shouting "bunny!" and pointing at it. We gave it to her to play with in the car on the way home ... and she spent the trip methodically ripping off the bunny's entire face. The eyes, the nose, the ears -- everything. The "bunny" was just some smears of dried glue with cotton and fuzz clinging to it, a pair of buck teeth, and some little bunny hands. She's crazy.

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