Today, I realized you'd learned a new word. Unlike other words that we had made a conscious effort to enunciate for you and encourage you to repeat, "BB" (easily recognized as "TV" with your emphatic pointing at the big flat screen) must have been absorbed from our daily conversations. That causes me two concerns: (1) You are listening to us adults even when I don't think you're listening, and (2) "TV" must be a frequent word on our lips.
This morning, I lifted you out of your crib, and as I often do in order to impress the English language upon you, I explained to you what we were doing. "I'm going to change your diaper, and then we're going to get breakfast." You pointed somewhere in the direction towards the front of the house, and said, "bibi?" Misunderstanding, I asked if you wanted your "binky" and despite your obvious frustration with me, I put a binky in your mouth. You impatiently squirmed while I struggled to change your diaper. We proceeded with breakfast, and then to the living room to relax.
I turned on a DVD, the Blue Planet. You love watching the fish and the birds. This morning you easily identified "bear" which was gorging itself on salmon. You were pleased for the moment. Later in the day, though, when Daddy had left the the news on the TV and had gone down to the basement to try to make some progress on a toy box he is building for you, you retrieved the remote control and thrust it into my hands. "Bibi!" you demanded and pointed at the news show. It was then that I realized you were saying "TV." "Yes," I nodded my approval, "that's right. TV." You shook the remote in my hands, and it finally donned on me that you didn't want to watch the news. We flipped to channel 29, Nick Junior, and you settled in for an episode of "Go Diego Go."
This evening, at dinner, we discovered just how addicted to the "bibi" you had become. The television was on in the background, and we were all at the dining room table. Although you had a fork, you dug into the pasta and tomato meat sauce with your little fingers, picking out the parmesan cheese - how you love cheese! You aren't much of an eater, as it is, but Daddy noticed that you were distracted by the TV. You kept turning around to look at it, while your food was getting colder and colder. Daddy tried to refocus your attention on your dinner plate, but when it became obvious that the "Family Guy" (which Daddy himself is hooked on) was more important to you, he turned the TV off.
Two things happened in this moment that amazed me: (1) Your daddy actually turned off a rerun of the Family Guy, and (2) you were instantly in temper tantrum mode, crying and yelling "BB!" And that was it. You weren't going to have another bite. Not one bite more. Not even a piece of parmesan cheese!
The crying and yelling persisted. We put you in a time out, and though you bore your punishment for the single minute of your typical timeout, you weren't reformed, and we had to put you in a second time out. The second time out was no more corrective than the first. It was Daddy who stayed strong and did not turn on the TV despite your kicking and screaming. I was ready to cave in because it was Sunday night and I wanted to eat dinner in peace.
No such peace was made without a great effort. Seeing that your Daddy was determined not to give you your way, I scarfed the rest of my dinner (I'm always last to finish our meals) - Daddy was going to need my full support. "Don't turn on the TV yet," he ordered. Though it's much easier to drop you in front of the TV while we clear the table and tidy the kitchen, we didn't do that this time. We distracted you from your fit of rage by engaging your assistance in the dinner clean up effort. I gave you plates to carry from the dinner table to the kitchen, and I supervised your every step as you dutifully bore them, one by one, to Daddy who was doing the dishes. You took the soiled napkins I gave you, and put them in the trash receptacle. Daddy instructed you to close the dishwasher after we had fully loaded it. By the time we were done, your tears were dried up, and you were wiggling with pride at having helped Mommy and Daddy.
The work all done, Daddy scooped you up, grabbed the bag of snap pea snacks that you love (because he knew you'd still be hungry), and plopped down onto his recliner with you on his lap. The Family Guy resumed. I looked over at you and your daddy. He caught me observing the two the of you, and asked "What?" "Nothing," I answered unconvincingly. Nothing but a daughter like her daddy.
It gives me relief to think that a few days ago I had heard you clearly say the word "book." You learned "book" before "BB," and that has to count for something, right?