Monday, September 24, 2012

Heath Ledger, eat your heart out. Also, RIP.

It's 2:30 in the afternoon and I'm at my computer. Addison has been doing "quiet time" for about 15 minutes in her bed while drinking a sippy cup of milk and scolding her bunny for not dancing upon command. And then I hear a thump as my three-foot-tall creature hits the floor.

"Read your books, Addison," I call. There's no answer. She might be reading books. It's possible. Even though the last time I didn't hear anything from her it was because she had scaled a bookshelf and was trying to pull it down on top of herself so that she'd be smashed like a pancake and then I'd be sorry for making her do quiet time. I'm pretty sure that was her thought process.

Addison actually does pretty well at bedtime, in the sense that she doesn't really get out of bed and wander. She just wakes up suddenly and shrieks, "Daddy! Daddy!" Mostly because of nightmarish cows who invade her dreams. But sometimes just because she's bored and she wants to talk about Gaston hitting Beast, which is currently her favorite conversation and one we have about twenty times every day.

It's "quiet time" that's the real problem. We used to call it "nap time," but Addison stopped napping even before she turned two. I weep inside when I think about it.

Lindsay used to be on-duty with Addison starting around 1:00 pm, which is when I would get back from the gym with Addison every other day. But Lindsay recently started work as an online instructor for a university, and so I keep Addison until 4:00 pm every day. It's probably for the best because having Addison do "quiet time" involves jumping up to check on her every four minutes to make sure she isn't doing something to kill herself. With Lindsay's health problems, it's really hard to get up and down so frequently.

So, I'm taking Addison a little longer, almost as long as if I was a stay-at-home parent waiting all day for the spouse to come home and take the little ankle-biter off my hands. But a little bit less, because I'm not quite up to average parenting yet. Maybe as I get older and more responsible.

Some kids can play quietly by themselves for as long as seven or eight minutes before they start rampaging through the house looking for things to break, draw on, or light on fire. They play with puzzles, or line up their stuffed animals into little families, or roll little cars around. Oh, what a dream it would be if that were Addison. She's ready to make things burn from the get-go.

So there I am, drawing a cartoon in MS paint, when I realize I have not heard Addison for about two minutes. I groan and lift myself out of my chair, and go searching. I find her in the bathroom, looking like Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight:

It's the first time she's attempted to apply make-up. Mostly eyeliner, I think? Black stuff on some sort of bristly brush, anyway. Sort of cute. And really creepy. We might have a future Goth on our hands. Also, I'm going to be sleeping with one eye open.

This isn't the first "quiet-time" snafu we've had. Part of the problem is that when we moved into my wife's parent's house, a lot of stuff hadn't been baby-proofed. Which means that we've got to keep a sharp eye on a little girl who is very good at eluding sharp eyes.

A few days ago Addison snuck out of her room without me noticing and started bashing shot glasses together in a sort of deathmatch to see which shot glass would reign supreme (pretty much everyone has a shot glass collection, right?). She'd shatter one and move on to the next in a gruesome, sharp-edged elimination bracket. I caught her before she severed any arteries, and all she had to say for herself was "Hulk smash!" Because we have a battery-powered hulk fist that shouts that sometimes.

I don't like the idea of closing a door on Addison to keep her in one place, because there's still a window in her room, and sometimes she says she thinks she can fly. So I finally pulled her old baby prison out of storage and I'm finally feeling pretty good about having contained the little hellion. She can stand in the doorway and talk to me where I work in my office, but she can't come over and press the seductive "on" button on my computer, or try to escape her room without me noticing. And now that she's stuck in her room, she's actually doing some pretty good quiet playing. We'll see if this lasts more than a week.