Thursday, February 21, 2013

Conversations with my daughter: An evolution

When Addison turned three last week, I spent some time looking through old movies and audio files we have of the little monkey (you can find some here, here, here, and here). If you're a long-time reader of my blog or if you follow my Facebook Page, you know that I think a lot about the conversations that we have, and I came across a few that got me thinking about how much Addison has grown since we moved to California half her life ago.

This is a message that Addison and her Grammy left us on our first overnight getaway after moving in with Lindsay's parents. She was not quite two years old:

Cute, right? And I wanted to be really diligent about helping her vocabulary grow, because I just knew that we'd be having some really important discussions soon. This was a few months later, just after she turned two:

I take my dadding responsibilities seriously, you know? Her fondness for calling "blue shirt" when she sees it prompted the comic for this post about her loud, totally awesome exclamations at church (I didn't prompt her, I swear).

A couple of months after that, in July, Addison had her first nightmare. I blame Sandra Boynton for the bovine paranoia.

Then, last year, just in time for Halloween, Addison started having conversations with us about death.

And now, while we're cleaning up around the house, or when she's in the tub or doing her quiet time, she'll bust out stories to help pass the time. And she's totally figured out the dramatic arc of storytelling; she sets the scene in context, she gives us rising tension, and then she resolves it all with a cheery rainbow at the end:

If you couldn't discern it, this was a story about elephants. Or, Effants. She does say they live in the sun, so maybe it's some sort of alien race. I've been really working to get her interested in science fiction.

And here are some of my favorite conversations with Addison this last week. They weren't all super lengthy, but a few really surprised me.

Brought Addison in for her three year check-up today. Among other things, they did a finger-prick blood test to check lead levels. 'Cause of all the dirt she eats.  
Also, after her flu shot, as she's sniffling and with tears rolling down her cheeks, I ask her if she wants to say anything to the receptionists. 
"Have a nice a day," she calls out, before burying her head in my shoulder again. 
"Can we take a elevator," she whispers to me. "Because I'm a yittle sensitive right now." 
No problem, kid.

At church today Addison was playing with a Buzz Lightyear toy. She noticed that one of his hands was in a fist. So she started punching me with his fist. 
Me: Be nice, Addison. 
Addison: But he is just a toy. It is only pretend hitting. I am only pretend hurting you. 
Me: And I'm going to pretend put you in time-out. I'll need you to pretend to be very quiet while you pretend to sit against the wall without moving. And then you can pretend to think about the consequences of your actions. 
Addison: Okay.

Addison just clapped her hands over her mouth in surprise. 
Addison: I can't talk! 
Me: Are you sure about that? 
Addison: Mm hmm. 
Me: What happened? 
Addison (hissed with a mad face): Ursula.

Last night Addison had her first ear ache. Or at least it was the first time she was able to express it to us.  
At some vague middle-of-the-night hour I was just coaxing her back into bed and we were having a mostly cheerful conversation about Monsters, Inc. And she says as though suddenly experiencing an epiphany:

"Monsters don't have gynas or bums! Only humans have gynas and bums."

And with that, my poor, clingy, sick little girl appeared to have achieved a powerful peace with the universe. She said:

"You can go now, dad. You can go."

It wasn't the last time last night that I held her on my shoulder as she cried, but I'm still thinking of that thoughtful dismissal she gave me. There's a tough young woman in my little girl, preparing herself for the world.