Thursday, January 29, 2009

Say Please!

So we've been working on manners here at the Denice-isms household lately.

I had originally planned to teach Gracie about saying "Please" and "Thank You" just as soon as some words started popping out of her mouth, but those words are coming more slowly than I might have hoped, and she is getting big enough that her demands were becoming, well, awfully demanding, and just a touch rude.

So a couple weeks ago I decided that please and thank you needed to come a little sooner than the words, and looked into a little bit of sign language. A girl who is a good friend of the family and whose mother taught her sign language as a baby filled me in on the sign for Thank You, but didn't remember the sign for Please, so I just made one up. I figured it didn't really matter what the real sign was, so long as Gracie and I knew that it meant Please; so I told her to clasp her hands together with her fingers interlocking.

It took a few tries, not because she had trouble putting her hands together, but because she had to put down Brown Horse, and have I mentioned that she takes that Little People horse EVERYWHERE SHE GOES? But eventually she put down Brown Horse and clasped those cute little hands together with a big grin on her face and we were off and running.

For the last two weeks, we have had 8,234 discussions about saying Please whenever you want someone to do something for you, or give you something. And whenever she was reminded, she always very quickly put her little hands together -- but you had to tell her first. And to be honest, I really didn't expect her to do it without prompting right away. I just wanted to start laying a foundation so that when she got a little bigger it would just happen automatically.

But today she did it! Without any prompting!

We were at Wal-Mart this afternoon to pick up a few things, and I stopped for a minute at the seasonal section right near the front door. I was looking through the Valentine's Day stuff for something that I could put into goodie bags for the guests at Gracie's birthday party next weekend, when I felt a little tug at my hand. I looked down to see my horsie loving daughter hugging the daylights out of an awfully cute pink stuffed horse. She looked up at me with those giant blue eyes, then clasped her little hands together to say "Please?"

Now, nearly every time we go shopping, my horsie loving daughter finds some sort of stuffed animal that she would like to take home, and I almost always say no. She has MANY, MANY animals already (and a great majority of them are horses), and she really didn't need another one.

But today, I totally caved. I mean, I had to, right? I've spent the last two weeks telling her to say please, and today she did it! I had to give her some positive reinforcement, right?

Ya, ya. I know. I'm the biggest softie in the universe.

Okay, 2 seconds before I took this picture, she had the new pink pony tucked her her arm while still holding onto Brown Horse with one hand, but she moved just before I took the picture. And while I am the sort of Mom who will risk waking up her almost 2-year-old to get a really cute picture while she's sleeping, I'm not the sort of Mom who will re-pose her child while she's sleeping. If you look close, you can see 4 horses in this picture.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Back to the grind

I've sort of, kind of, gone back to work at the newspaper.

The guy who took my old job quit, and the new woman they hired couldn't start until three days before he was done. So since she needed more training than that, they asked me to come in and help out for the month of January.

"Just mornings on Mondays and Tuesdays until she gets up to speed," they said.
"Nathan can stay home with Gracie and come to work later," they said.
"It'll all work out just fine!" they said.

They were wrong.

This woman, who is in her late 50s and quite possibly the nicest person on the planet, is not even remotely qualified for the job. Forget about running an entire production department by herself - she doesn't understand how to use a computer. She saves files in the wrong place, doesn't understand the file extensions that tell you what kind of file it is, and email, well, don't get me started on the email.

So I've been there A LOT more than I had originally planned. I get home later than I was supposed to and that puts Nathan behind. Gracie doesn't quite understand what's going on and is getting a little bit grumpy about it. And I'm starting to get behind on the work I do for a client of mine.

Only two weeks to go. I hope.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Good thing nobody from child services was watching…

So, Gracie is fast approaching her second birthday, and is still not really talking. She has two words: ask her what a dog says and she'll say "WOOF!"; and any time she needs to give us a positive answer, she'll very enthusiastically say "a ha!"

I would be more worried about the lack of talking, except that she's really excellent at communicating what she wants, and makes it abundantly clear that she knows exactly what I am saying. We've worked out a little system of sign language and hand gestures that work pretty well, but sometimes it's a little like spending my day playing a really long game of charades.

Some days, though, are easier than others. Like today.

We went to the grocery store to pick up a few things, but the most important thing that we needed, that we absolutely couldn't leave the store without, was diapers.

As I was writing out my grocery list before we left, Gracie came to see what I was doing. She pulled her chair up to the counter, climbed up, and pointed to each item on the list; so I read the list out to her, one by one. When I said bread, she pointed to the freezer; when I said soy milk, she pointed to the fridge; when I said soup, she pointed to the pantry; and when I said diapers, she pointed straight to her crotch. I told her that she was exactly right, that was where all of those items belonged.

Then I packed her up and took her to the grocery store. And left the list sitting on the counter.

So, I'm wandering through the aisles at the grocery store, trying to remember what was on the list. I'm doing pretty well, but I know there's something important I'm missing, and I can't think of what it is. So I say to Gracie, mostly just to entertain her: "What else do we need to get today? Mommy can't remember. We've got the bread, the milk and the soup. What else was on the list?"

She turned around and looked into the cart, then looked at me for a moment; then suddenly she grinned this huge grin, lifted one arm up over her head, then pointed, rather forcefully, at her crotch.

"That's right!" I laughed. "Diapers! We need diapers! Thank you Gracie!"