Adventures with the Toddler – Chapter Twelve: (It’s Learning)

Skynet became self-aware a lot later than the toddler did. Just putting that out there as they both have the same destructive force when suitably annoyed.

The amount of words it now has in its vocabulary and can construct into a sentence has left me impressed. The swearing was funny when it was innocent, but now the thing is a bloody parrot and will repeat anything, and I mean anything. So divulging secrets to the toddler, even unwillingly, is a no-no as it’s a great way of getting found-out.

The toddlers rapid grasp of language and its ability to now tell a story makes me very proud. I was regaled just the other night about how it came to have a bump on its head. It didn’t simply walk into a wall, there were at least dozen events leading up to the incident where the bump occurred, and I heard them all. I can also have conversations with it now and it’s honest when quizzed – “did nannytier let you have that elastic or did you swipe it?”

“I swiped it.”

“Why?”

“Need it.”

“For what?”

Silence.

“What do you need it for?”

“Need it.”

“For what?”

Silence – “da! Watch Daniel Tiger.”

Swiping stuff is a real skill the toddler has. It has got things past me and shop keepers without any of us noticing until I see it playing with the new item. It’s little things like a chili from the supermarket or an elastic-stretchy-exercise thing from my mother; so, nothing major like cash rolls just yet, but such things can be taught. It did try to get away with a vase once, but due to the fact the vase was bigger than the toddler, it was nabbed fairly quickly.

What really gets me in the old heart strings about the toddler is the empathy it has for all living things. I don’t know where this comes from, so it fascinates me. The wife has taught her to respect nature and not to hurt plants and to be careful with animals, but her connection with living things goes deeper than this. We went down to our local last weekend and the plants in the beer garden were dying. They were all withered and dry and the toddler noticed this, and it upset her. It looked at the issue and poured some of her water into one plant, so it could have a drink and then checked with it, asking if it was happier. She then asked for her cup to be filled and proceeded to give the rest of the plants a little drink. I was beaming like an idiot as I watched the toddler tend to the plants, asking them if they were feeling better and shaking its little head in sadness at the state of one plant. She’ll never get to be a member of the LNP with that kind of attitude.

Empathy for plants is one thing but her love of the moon is quite another. It got really upset with me when I told it we couldn’t bring the moon inside. It was worried the moon was cold and that bringing it inside would be the right course of action as it stood in my lap staring out the window at the moon – sad as can be.

“It’s cold da.”

“It’s bloody freezing,” replies I.

“Please da? Bring moon inside.”

“If I could, I would, but I can’t. It is very far away and very big.” The little face begins to quiver and da thinks oh shit, “the moon is warm though. The sun is shining on it.” It seems to think about this and da scrambles for more, “that’s why we can see it! It’s reflecting sunlight.”

This seemed to work – for a bit.

“Moon is sad da.”

Then it started to rain, and she started singing a song about the rain going pitter-patter.

Speaking of singing, we were at the park yesterday and it was just the two of us. Donkey and da day as it’s called. Me being da. I was looking forward to today all week. With the toddler on the swing it kept asking to go higher and higher. I pushed that kid for a full hour and a half and it sang the whole time. All the songs it knows came rattling out of the tiny head much to the merriment of the others in the park. It was a hit. We also had to hide from a big blue rawr that kept coming to annoy us. But we had to hide in the cubby house which is built for toddlers. So da squeezing nearly six and a half feet and well over a hundred kilo of pure man into the small cubby house – was crushing and embarrasing. I sat there folded in half, waiting for this creature of the imagiation to get bored with us and bugger off so I could unfold myself and put my spine back into place. Crushed into that tiny space I now know what it must feel litle like to be packed into Tony Abbotts budgy smugglers.

The toddler is very confident (also very demanding). It has a real independent streak that I don’t want to crush, but at the same time it needs to know the world has rules. Yesterday it decided it would walk down the stairs of the apartment by itself and not hold da’s hand. Of course, this filled me with the terrors as I projected every scenario of what could go wrong.

“Well, you need to hold onto something.”

“I hold onto this,” it says as it grips the thin metal rods of the stair rails.

Da puts out a hand to catch the toddler should it tumble down the stairs but is promptly slapped away. “Away da. I do it.”

My mouth was dry by the time we got to the ground floor and headed off to the park

We spent the entire day together swinging, going down the slide, playing in the sandpit and taking selfies. It threw its arms around me and pressed its head against my chest and said, “I missed you da.”

“I missed you too.”

The toddler can get the hump with da if he isn’t around and as it happens, sometimes da has to work overnight on a shoot and there was a week where that was what he was doing. By the third day of da sleeping well past 7 in the morning (an hour in bed by this stage) the toddler was firmly pissed off. I got up for a Jimmy Riddle and met the toddler in the hall who cracked the shits and ordered me back to bed.

“To bed! To bed!”

The toddler was that furious with me that I wasn’t up and playing with it that it was sending me back to bed. So, the next day when I arrived home to the sunshine, I walked in and the toddler was awake. I took it, peeled it a banana and we watched Banana’s in Pajamas together on the couch. Within 15 minutes I was drooling on its head as I’d fallen asleep. I woke up and the toddler was still seated beside me, eating the banana with a fork which is its thing. I wiped the drool off its head.

“Sorry about that.”

“It’s okay da.”

It looks up at me and grins, then rests its head on me – “I love you da.”

“I love you too Donkey.”

“Miss you da.”

“I’ve missed you too Donkey.”

We sat like that for a good while and all the promises I made her when she was a just a few days old as we sat on the same couch came flooding back to me. She was asleep and tiny as I held her through the night to my chest whispering to her as we worked our way through Father Ted. Two years had already flicked past.

The wife got up and I went to bed, filled with joy and pride for this little human. What a sensitive little soul I thought as I fell asleep.

I woke to mayhem an hour later. The toddler was flatly refusing to put a nappy on, or any clothes. It had made the choice that today it would be naked only. I tried to help, believing the connection we had shared earlier whilst watching Bananas in Pajamas was still there and da had this. But I didn’t have it. If the wife can’t control it, my chances of gaining respect is slim to none at best.

The toddler screeched at me like the Alien and ran off in a flurry of “noooooooooo.”

I looked at the wife and I took the easy road. “I have to work.”

I slowly closed the bedroom door under the gaze of the wife and toddler and crawled back into bed, to listen to the ensuing mayhem outside the door, and I laughed.

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