December 22, 2007

uh oh

Lucian has a new word. Well, I guess it's 2 words. "Uh oh" He's been saying it for a couple of days now. One of the hardest things about parenting it seems is trying not to laugh and encourage certain behaviors. He gets a kick out of dropping his sippy cup on the floor so he can say uh oh and we'll pick it up and then the process repeats. It's so darn cute the way he says it too and we just can't help ourselves and inadvertently encourage him to say it again over and over. He doesn't just say uh oh. He's very particular about how he says it. He says "uh" and then waits and elongates the "oh" part.

So now that he understands the association between saying uh oh when he drops something or something undesirable happens, I know it's only a matter of time before I'll be dreading this cute little phrase. I think this is one of those things that falls into the "You know you're screwed when..." category for new parents.

• You know you're screwed when your baby starts crawling because it's only a matter of time till they start walking.

• You know you're screwed when your toddler starts walking because it's only a matter of time till they start running...into you, into furniture, into the bathroom, into parking lots, into the ER.

• You know you're screwed when your child starts saying "Uh oh." It's cute in the beginning but sooner or later, cute turns into "what's that burning smell?" or "where are Mommy's keys?" and "why is the toilette tank filling with water?" Where did I put my keys?

It's amazing how I feel so "in tune" with certain sounds and behaviors of my child. I now know the difference between his cries of frustration, pain and anger. (I figured that out one time when I locked him in a pretzel hold to trim his nails and discovered he'd been playing me for months with one of his cries!!) I can tell the difference in grunting noises when he's concentrating on playing with something or trying to climb on something or when he's making me a "gift" of the smelly variety.

So, I'm certain it will just be a matter of time when I'll be distracted somewhere in the house and hear a faint little "uh oooooh" from somewhere and the sound will no longer be amusing and instead it will sound like breaking glass to me and I'll wonder for a split second if I really want to know.

I'm trying to decide now if I should encourage him to reserve "uh oh" for these um, "special" times so that I know there is a keyword in place for when bad things happen or should I keep laughing it off and desensitize the phrase so that it doesn't have a meaning. Is that even possible? I suppose "uh oh" is a whole lot better than "sunofabeesitchmothereffer." Oh how I can't wait to see the things this child picks up from us better than the lint trap in my dryer.

I guess it doesn't matter what we do, there has to be some way to communicate problems so we mind as well leave things as they are.

"This is a test of the toddler emergency broadcasting system. This is only a test. If this had been an actual emergency, the "uh oh" you have just heard would have been much lighter in pitch, almost as if to conceal its utterance. Sounds, smells and sights would follow indicating a need to react. This completes our test. And now back to your regularly scheduled programming of changing diapers, picking up toys and late night feedings."

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