Veronica first. Because it’s usually Teddy first in this family. Not because we love him more or favour him in some way, but because he’s reasonably verbal. It’s easier to take care of the needs of one kid who’s saying, “Want milk. I snuggle Daddy? I go to park? Potty!” and trickier to respond to the needs of another kid who says, “Dabum, dabum, dabum? Hiya! All done! Dabum? Dabum, dabum? EHN! EHN! EHN!”
She’s not a big talker, that Veronica. I can count on one and a half hands the number of words she uses repeatedly. Then there’s this strange pile of words she’s used perfectly just once and then never again. There’s that nagging, taunting part of me that says: she has a speech delay; she has an impediment; she needs help. And then there’s the other part of me that thinks she just does what she wants and no more. On our last cruise (which was about five months ago), we said to her, “Can you say ‘elevator?’” To which she replied, “Elevator,” and has never spoken the word again since. It’s like she proves to herself she can say something, and that’s good enough; she’s not going to be spout that word anymore for anyone’s entertainment.
She’s willful; I’m sure I’ve written about that before. She gets slappy and shouty when things aren’t going her way. But she’s also a much sweeter kid than I thought she’d turn out to be. She’s not all attitude. Maybe just 60%. She’s at a good age. Toddlers around now have a lot of personality. Having a kid this age makes me want to have 50 kids. They’re just so interesting and so fun and so snuggly. Veronica plays by herself incredibly well. I mean, Teddy’s not the neediest player in the world, but there’s a huge contrast between the two. She’s interested in books years before Teddy could give a crap about them. She continues to be fearless in a way that no one else in this family is. And attitude aside, she’s really a good kid.
Now Teddy. People talk about the terrible twos but it’s really three where kids start to challenge you. Don’t get me wrong, he’s an awesome kid and he says or does at least one thing a day that makes me hold my hands to my heart -- but dude really hates not getting his way. Here’s a phrase we here at least eight times a day: “WANT IT!” And it’s not just bellowed in allcaps, he also growls it in this there is no Dana, only Zuul voice. He also shrieks when he gets in trouble. If he pushes Veronica (rare, but it happens) and we send him to the corner, he immediately shrieks like he’s being abducted (which is awesome when we discipline him in public, let me tell you). It’s beyond frustrating. But I get why he does it though. We expected him to do what we tell him to do all the time, so for the sake of fairness shouldn’t we do exactly what he says all the time?
But he’s still a good boy, and hilarious. He’s chatty, but there’s still some things he doesn't get about conversation. He used to have this very frequent back and forth with us whenever he wasn’t using the word please. And rather then pick up on that one missing word, he now does the whole dialogue himself. So a request for milk goes like this: “Want some milk. WANT IT! Teddy, what’s the word you use when you would like something? Please. Please, Mommy, can I have some milk?” Dude kills me. I also overheard him talking to himself on the toilet the other day, and that bit of business went like this: “Mr. Poooooooop. Where aaaaaaaaaare yooooou? He’s hiding! He’s hiding in the bum!”
He’s also entirely obsessed with Thomas the Tank Engine right now. Most boring show in the world. And soooo many incompetence-related shenanigans. I’m pretty sure the lesson it’s teaching kids is it’s okay to be terrible at your job. Anyways, I hate that show. But I love Teddy so I endure it.
I guess the moral of this post is that kids, despite their rage and slappyness, are awesome. I recommend having at least a small mob of them.